LEXINGTON, Ky. – Freshman Rebecca Pongetti broke the ice with her second goal of the season in the 51st minute to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead, but the homestanding Wildcats stormed back with three unanswered goals in the final 30 minutes as LSU dropped a 3-1 decision to 22nd-ranked Kentucky on Sunday afternoon at the UK Soccer Complex.
The Tigers (9-7-2, 5-4-1 SEC) dropped their fourth-straight Southeastern Conference match and second-straight in their series with the Wildcats (13-4-1, 7-3) over the past two seasons.
After playing a scoreless first half, Pongetti put the visitors on the board just six minutes after the restart with second goal of the season on a shot from distance in the 51st minute of play.
Four Tigers were involved in the build up after junior Jodi Calloway won possession inside the center circle. Calloway won a header in the circle while shielding a Wildcat midfielder from the ball and played the ball wide to senior Nina Anderson on the left wing. Anderson dribbled into the final third and centered a pass to freshman Emma Fletcher running across the top of the box. Fletcher then played the ball wide right to Pongetti as the freshman defensive midfielder beat her defender and fired a 25-yard strike inside the left post from outside the area.
It was Pongetti’s second goal of the season, and her first since she netted the final goal on another strike from distance in LSU’s 5-3 road win at Arkansas on Oct. 4. Fletcher added to her freshman record at LSU with an 11th assist on the season and seventh assist in SEC play as she now ranks No. 4 on LSU’s all-time single-season list.
All-SEC striker Arin Gilliland drew the Wildcats level in the 64th minute with her team-leading 11th goal of the season after getting behind the LSU defense on a through ball by teammate Caitlin Landis. Gilliland raced into the right side of the penalty area and fired a 12-yard strike inside the left post to tie the score at 1-1 at the 63:16 mark of the second half.
Kentucky then put the game out of reach with two goals on free kicks in quick succession as Zoe Swift made it 2-1 in the 72nd minute and Alex Carter put the Wildcats in front 3-1 in the 74th minute for the win.
The Tigers will wrap up the 2013 regular season on Thursday of next week with a trip to College Station, Texas, for a match against the 24th-ranked Texas A&M Aggies that is set to kick off at 7 p.m. CT at Ellis Field. LSU is already locked into the 10-team field at the 2013 SEC Women’s Soccer Tournament as the event will be held Nov. 4-10 at the Orange Beach Sportsplex in Orange Beach, Ala.