In season opener, Kentucky men’s soccer takes 1-0 win over DePaul


Sophomore Kalil Elmedkhar (21) celebrating after scoring the first and only goal of the game. University of Kentucky men’s soccer played for their 1st win of the season against DePaul University on Friday, August 24th, 2018. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Mohammad Ahmad

The UK Men’s soccer team opened its season on a high note with a 1-0 win over the DePaul Blue Demons.

Kentucky, picked by coaches to finish fourth in the C-USA standings this season, comes off an 8-6-4 season that ended with a first round loss in the C-USA playoffs.

Despite losing several seniors like Andrew McKelvey and Noah Hutchins, the team returned five players who started more than 10 games last year. Among those five are C-USA All-Freshman Team members Leon Jones and Aimé Mabika.

DePaul, on the other hand, comes into the season projected to finish 10th in the Big East by league coaches. This matchup was the first ever between the two teams.

The Cats got rolling in the first 15 minutes with a couple of close shots from Cole Guindon and Bailey Rouse. Both players are new to the starting lineup.

During that brief span, Cats keeper Enrique Facusse saved a very close shot from the Blue Demons’ forward Istvan Wilhelms in the 14th minute. Facusse, the C-USA Golden Glove Award Winner of the Year last year, came into game as a valuable centerpiece for this Kentucky squad.

Both teams presented physicality for most of the early first half. DePaul and UK combined for eight fouls in the half, five of those on UK.

In the 34th minute, however, the tide shifted in favor of Kentucky.

When DePaul had the ball, UK pressed against to force a turnover in DePaul’s box to get the ball back. Sophomore midfielder Kalil Elmedkhar took it from there and converted the steal into a goal after he was able to thread the ball into the right-side netting. That was his first career goal.

The rest of the half didn’t see much other than several DePaul header shots and a Facusse yellow card that echoed much of the physicality between both teams.

Although the Cats opened the second half with the same fight that they showed in the first half, DePaul had a much different look filled with frustration and fatigue. The Blue Demons only had one shot in the half, along with four fouls.

On top of that, DePaul had four yellow cards, one of which resulted in a red card for Wilhelms. Wilhelms, who received yellow cards in the 50th and 82nd minutes, got ejected during desperation time for his team.

UK had nine shots in the second half and finished the game with a total of 16, four times as many shots as what DePaul had for the whole game.

UK will look to continue its winning ways against the Columbia Lions next Friday, Aug. 31, at 7:30 p.m. at The Bell.