No. 4 Kentucky draw 0-0 with South Carolina


Kentucky’s Robert Screen (2) pushes the ball upfield during the Kentucky vs. Wright State men’s soccer game on Monday, Aug. 30, 2021, at the Bell Soccer Complex in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 3-0. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Cole Parke

No. 4 Kentucky (9-0-4) reached a 0-0 draw with South Carolina (5-7-2) at home on Saturday to remain undefeated through 13 games. 

Despite remaining undefeated, a draw was not the ideal result for the ‘Cats as the tie was their first with an unranked opponent this season. 

“I think the intensity was missing today,” Wildcat goalie Jan Hoffelner said. “I think body language was crucial tonight. We thought it was an easy win but they’re a good team with some good players that fight for second boards. Things were missing today.”

Both Hoffelner and South Carolina’s Ryan Bilichuk finished the game perfect with five saves each. The performance tied Hoffelner’s single game save record for the season.

“I’m always happy to help out the team and it’s great as an individual [to tie the record], but I’m not going to rest on that.” Hoffelner said regarding his performance.

Kentucky entered the matchup off a 1-0 double overtime victory over No. 25 West Virginia at home. It was the first ranked win of the season for the Wildcats and kept them perfect through 12 games.

The first half of play had a familiar sight for Kentucky fans; zero goals. It was the eighth time this season the Cats have been unable to score in the first half of play.

“I think we’re a very fit team,” Hoffelner said regarding the first half droughts. “I think when the other team gets tired in the second half that’s when we show up. We had some great chances to put it away in the first half, and obviously that’s a different game, but I don’t think it’s a concern. I think it’s a strength that we can close out close games.”

Going into the half Kentucky outshot the Gamecocks 13-5 with four shots on goal. They attempted nine corner kicks while not allowing a single one for South Carolina. 

In the second half of play, the scale was tipped more in favor of the Gamecocks with South Carolina outshooting the Cats 6-3 with two shots on target to Kentucky’s one. 

While the first overtime had seven shots attempted, both it and the second overtime saw zero shots on target recorded. The match ended with zeros on the board.

Despite the disappointing result, morale remains high in the Wildcat locker room.

“There’s always work to do, but I think with the depth we have, this team is postseason ready,” Hoffelner said about the team. “The regular season is obviously coming to an end but I hope we have a lot more games to go. It’s time to finish the season strong now. We’re not resting.”

The Wildcats return to the pitch this Tuesday, Oct. 26, to battle the Bellarmine Knights at The Bell. That game is set for 7 p.m. and will air on ESPN+.