We're ready to take on the SEC

Chet White/UK Athletics

Senior Arin Gilliland scored on a penalty kick as Kentucky beat in-state rival Louisville 2-0.

The last two weeks have been a testament to what kind of team we want to be in the SEC this year. They were the last weeks we had to prepare outside of our conference.

Who better to get our adrenaline pumping than the biggest rivalry in the state of Kentucky: “Louisville vs. Kentucky.” That is the game we put on our calendar and count down to every year.

With a hometown rivalry, on our field, under the lights, on Friday night, the nerves and excitement began very early, especially for the three Louisville natives on our team: Kayla King, Emma Brown and Morgan Riggs.

We had our own little traditions to get us pumped up, from our rivalry tweets of “#beatlouisville” to re-watching the previous years’ games and celebrations. The moment I stepped into that locker room on Friday night, I knew my team was ready. It was like there was something contagious and electric in the air. There would be no better way to describe our locker room than complete chaos.

We came out on our home field with so much intensity and enthusiasm, but so did Louisville. They gave it right back. The match was pretty even all the way up to about halfway through the first half; then we took over. Stuart Pope scored the first goal and I finished a PK to wrap up a 2-0 victory.

I want to give a major shout-out to our fans in #BigBlueNation for making that victory even more sweet by packing our stadium. The atmosphere was absolutely incredible, and it definitely translated to the field.

The next day was spent with the recruits we had in for the weekend. Man, did they choose the right one to come to. Getting to experience that kind of victory on any visit with a team would make you basically fall in love with that university.

Everyone who is anyone in the SEC knows Saturdays mean football and tailgating. That is exactly how we spent our day. Not only were we trying to get to know the recruits, but we also were trying to explain the oddness of the South and how we dress up in a dress or button-up and tie for football games. I definitely am always the odd man out in my soccer shorts and T-shirt.

It was such a quick turnaround for Game 2. It was going to be a huge challenge for us because of all the hype of the previous game against Louisville. But we came out with just as much passion, aggression and grit and tallied up a 3-1 win over a very good Dayton team.

So now we were sitting with four straight wins and two weekend sweeps. You cannot allow that to let you get lazy or arrogant. Next up was Texas-San Antonio and West Virginia at No. 10.

After a 1-0 victory over UTSA at home, we packed up on another bus trip, this time to the mountains of West Virginia. Once there, we stepped onto the field and wasted no time. I put a goal away in the first 10 seconds of the game. We were here and making a statement. We came out with a 4-2 win over WVU.

Third straight sweep, six straight wins: We are ready to take on the SEC!