Kentucky men’s soccer to play 49ers in C-USA championship


Freshman forward Jason Reyes celebrates scoring a goal during the senior night game against Old Dominion at the Bell Soccer Complex on Friday November 2, 2018 in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky defeated Old Dominion 3-0. Photo by Olivia Beach | Staff

Mohammad Ahmad

Sunday’s C-USA men’s soccer championship game will showcase the No. 1 seed Kentucky Wildcats (16-1-1, 7-1 C-USA) and the No. 3 seed UNC Charlotte 49ers (14-3-1, 6-2 C-USA). The teams are slated to play at 1 p.m. at Transamerica Field in Charlotte.

The Cats’ win over Marshall University on Friday night advanced them to the C-USA championship game for the third time in team history. They advance in the tournament for the first time since 2013 and are riding a seven-game win streak. UK has never won the C-USA Tournament.

UNC Charlotte advances in the tournament after defeating the No. 2 seed Old Dominion Monarchs late Friday night. The 49ers scored three unanswered goals in the second half to remain undefeated (11-0) on their home turf this season. UNC Charlotte has now won eight matches in a row.

When UNC Charlotte won its first and only C-USA tournament championship in 2013, it did so at Transamerica Field.

UK defeated UNC Charlotte this season in Lexington, 1-0, back on Sept. 21. Jason Reyes’ late goal in the 79th minute lifted UK to the victory. The Cats are unbeaten against Charlotte over the past three years with all but one match going into overtime.

Led by C-USA Coach of the Year Johan Cedergren, the Cats’ win on Friday ties the 1995 Cats team for most wins in a single season.

J.J. Williams has scored at least once in five of UK’s last six games. The C-USA Player of the Year and Offensive MVP, Williams has a conference-leading 15 goals and maintains the school record for most points in a season with 37.

Kalil Elmedkhar has a team-leading nine assists. He is one assist away from tying the school record for most assists in a season. His nine goals on the season are the second most on the team.

UK’s defenders, led by team captain Tanner Hummel, limited Marshall’s shots on goal total Friday to one. Cats’ goalkeeper Enrique Facusse entered the game with the fifth-best goals-against average in the nation and an 85 percent save percentage– second-best in the C-USA.

On the other side, the 49ers, led by seventh-year head coach Chris Langan, boast C-USA Defensive MVP Callum Montgomery and Golden Glove Award winner Elliot Panicco. Seven 49ers players, including Montgomery and Panicco, earned All-Conference honors.

Sunday’s winner will receive an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.