By LARRY VAUGHT
When Kylie Thompson had a chance to score against Kentucky last year, she missed a shot. On Sunday, she got her redemption.
The Eastern Kentucky sophomore had the game’s only goal four minutes after play started to give Eastern Kentucky a 1-0 win over Kentucky. It was Eastern’s first win ever over UK.
“I had a similar chance in the box last year and I missed. I wanted to make up for that,” said Thompson, a soccer and track standout at Boyle. “Our coach was really happy with the goal. It was a counter attack and we caught them in transition.
Thompson had 95 goals and 44 assists in her four seasons at Boyle but this was her first goal of the season for Eastern.
“The celebration was crazy,” Thompson said about Eastern’s reaction after the win. “It felt crazy to do that for a regular season match, but it was amazing to do that (beat Kentucky).”
She said Monday her goal and Eastern’s win had not gone unnoticed at home.
“It has been really nice to see the support I still have from everybody back home. I guess that is what social media will do for you now,” she said. “We really needed this win. We were on a winning streak and then lost to Marshall and were down. Beating Kentucky is what we needed.”
She was part of two state track championship teams at Boyle and set school records in most sprints during her career. She was on three relay teams that won state titles, including a 4×200 team that shattered the state record.
“I do miss track and all my teammates. It’s also been weird here at Eastern not having to switch from soccer to track,” she said.
Boyle track coach Brent Wagner once said she would be on the “Mount Rushmore of Boyle County track” and credited her for turning the Boyle sprint program around to where it is on a state-elite level.
Considering that and her four-year success in soccer, where does beating Kentucky rank on her all-time list of accomplishments, especially since her parents are UK fans and she grew up going to UK basketball games at times herself.
“I don’t know where it would rank but it is definitely pretty cool,” she said. “That win was special for our whole program. We had a lot of things to deal with. Our starting forward got a red card the game before and couldn’t play. Our defense made saves multiple times. It was crazy how hard we worked to get the win.”
She was used to winning at Boyle. At Eastern Kentucky, the Colonels are facing a more difficult non-conference schedule to get them ready for conference play where the goal is to win the championship. Boyle soccer and track also always faced difficult schedules to prepare for postseason play, so facing high level competition is not new for Thompson.
“We take on the underdog role, which is a new for me. It’s been different, but fun,” Thompson said. “Our coach just tells us to embrace the underdog role, so that’s what I am trying to do.”