Men’s soccer earns 1-0 win over UNC Charlotte


Freshman Marcel Meinzer dribbles the ball during the game against Charlotte on Friday, Sept. 21, 2018 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Akintunde Nelson | Staff

Mohammad Ahmad

The rain stopped pouring and the skies cleared up right before the seventh-ranked UK men’s soccer team’s first conference home match this season. UK defeated the UNC Charlotte 49ers, 1-0, on Friday night at The Bell.

Cats’ freshman forward Jason Reyes scored in the 79th minute for his first-ever goal as a Wildcat. His fellow forward, J.J. Williams, continued to step up for the Cats with the assist.

“We had a game plan and we stuck to it,” UK head coach Johan Cedergren said. “We just have to make sure we stay humble and keep pushing.”

Kentucky is now 6-0-1, which is the best start through seven games in program history. This win marks UK’s second straight win against the 49ers in Lexington.

Cats’ defender Leon Jones had a tight kick in the 7th minute that 49ers’ keeper Elliot Panicco abruptly blocked. A handball on UNC Charlotte three minutes later gave Cats’ midfielder Kalil Elmedkhar a chance to capitalize. However, his free kick to Jones was stopped by Panicco.

In the 18th minute, Cats’ midfielder Nicolai Fremstad received an assist on the left side and broke past a UNC Charlotte defender to wipe the ball into the right goal netting. Unfortunately for Fremstad, he got called for an offside and the goal was negated.

Cats’ midfielder Cole Guindon tried to curl the ball from a good distance in the 29th but Panicco was there once more. Williams, Reyes, Elmedkhar and Fremstad each attempted a shot in the last five minutes of the half that Panicco ended up saving.

UK had a 6-0 shot-on-goal advantage in the half. Despite having two offside calls, the 49ers defense countered the Cats with six saves in the half.

“Like we said in film, the only way they could beat us is through our mistakes,” UK defender Tanner Hummel said. “Luckily we did well enough to not get beat.”

After Reyes and Fremstad each had a kick saved by Panicco in the first five minutes of the second half, both teams started getting high-strung.

Reyes received a yellow card in the 63th minute. 49ers’ players Callum Montgomery and Cooper Nugent each received yellow cards as well within the next two minutes.

The rain started coming down again in the 70th minute. However, the Cats stood up to the weather shortly thereafter.

Williams ran a streak down the right side of the field in the 79th minute and cut the ball left toward Reyes. Reyes got the ball and found an open slot to score to put the game away for UK.

“We practiced that play throughout the week,” Reyes said. “I knew J.J would win the ball because he’s so big and he gave me a great assist.”

The Cats finished the game with 12 shots for the second game in a row. Cats’ goalkeeper Enrique Facusse got his sixth clean sheet on the season.

UK will return to The Bell next Wednesday, Sept. 26 at 7:30 p.m. to take on the Eastern Tennessee State Pirates.