Nick Gutmann scores twice, Wildcats win 2-1 at home against Bellarmine


Kentucky Wildcats midfielder Nick Gutmann (21) kicks the ball into the box during the University of Kentucky vs. Notre Dame men’s soccer game on Friday, Sept. 3, 2021, at the Bell Soccer Complex in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 1-0. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Cole Parke

Kentucky (10-0-4) took down Bellarmine (6-7-1) at home 2-1 in their final non-conference game of the season. The win came off the back of junior midfielder Nick Gutmann’s two goals.

The Wildcats outshot Bellarmine 16-6 despite both teams being even in shots on target with three each. Gutmann recorded five shots with two goals scored, the only other shot on goal came from defender Lucca Rodriguez.

The Wildcats entered the contest after a scoreless draw against fellow Conference USA foe South Carolina. The tie kept Kentucky undefeated through 13 games to continue their historic season. It also served as the first draw of the year against an unranked opponent for the Cats.

The Wildcats were on the hunt from the first whistle quickly putting up six shots in the first few minutes. Despite the barrage, none could quite be the breakthrough the Wildcats needed to get on the board.

They finally got the one they were looking for in 15’ when Gutmann got one past Bellarmine goal keeper Matthew Brozovich off an assist by Robert Screen. Though it was ruled off-side on the pitch, Kentucky was awarded the goal after an official review of  the call.

The goal was the first of Gutmann’s collegiate career.

“I’m feeling really good,” Gutmann said after the game. “It was the first time I was finally able to help out my team with a goal. It’s been a great season so far.”

Going into halftime, the Wildcats outshot the Knights 7-4, though both were even in shots on target with two each. Kentucky goalie Ryan Troutman was perfect with two saves in the half. The half also stood as just the sixth time this season Kentucky has recorded a goal in the first 45’ of play.

The second half started with minimal action early on. Though Kentucky attempted several shots, none were on target. The midway point of the second came to pass without any hint of change to the score.

This changed, however, in 72’ when Gutmann once again found the net—this time off an assist by Rodriguez. The score continued another statistical trend for the Wildcats; recording a second half goal in every game they also recorded a first half goal.

The Wildcats would eventually lose their shutout in 86’ when Bellarmine’s Nolan McGrath snuck past Troutman off an assist by Camden Dunne. It was just the fifth goal scored on Kentucky all season. 

“We have a lot of confidence as a team,” Gutmann said about Beallrmine’s late goal. “Sometimes we concede unnecessary goals and it’s something we need to work on, but so far, there’s really nothing for anybody to say about our defense, they’re doing a great job.”

Bellarmine attempted a late rally for their second goal, but the Kentucky defense wouldn’t be caught napping again. The game came to a close with a familiar sign —the Wildcats win again.

The Cats travel to Charlotte, North Carolina this Saturday, Oct. 30 for a conference game against the Charlotte 49ers. The game is one of just two games the Wildcats have remaining in the regular season. The game is set to kickoff at 7 p.m. and will air on C-USA T.V.

“Charlotte is a good team,” Gutmann said about their upcoming opponent. “There’s no doubt about it, but at the same time, we know we’re good too. Of course it’s more comfortable to play at home, but we’re going to take every challenge we have to take. We know our quality, we know we’re an amazing team. We’re happy right now, and our focus is 100 percent on Charlotte. We’re ready for it.”