UK men’s soccer loses third straight game


Senior Noah Hutchins dribbles the ball during the game against UAB on Friday, September 8, 2017 in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky won the match 1-0. Photo by Carter Gossett | Staff

Mohammed Ahmad

Looking to move on from their last two losses on the road, the UK men’s soccer team returned to the The Bell under the Saturday night lights. The Wildcats lost to the Lipscomb University Bisons 3-2.

This match marked the second ever match between Lipscomb and Kentucky. Their first meeting last year in Lexington, ended in a 1-1 draw. Lipscomb came into the match on a hot streak as they have won their last three matches. Kentucky came in at a slight disadvantage playing without injured senior captain Landon Sauder.

The Kentucky defense was on its heels from the start. Lipscomb was constantly trying to encroach opposing territory with constant ball movement. UK goalkeeper Enrique Facusse, who finished the game with two saves, was put to work right away by the Bisons’ tactical offense.

The Bisons drew first blood in the 17th minute. Forward Logan Paynter broke through defenders and chipped in his seventh goal of the year to put Lipscomb up 1-0. Paynter, Lipscomb’s leader in goals and points this season, was perhaps the most dangerous player for Kentucky to look out for.

In the 26th minute, things started to give way for the Cats. After some pressing offensive movement, Kalil ElMedkhar crossed the ball over to Leon Jones who kicked it into the goal to equalize the score 1-1. This is Jones’ first goal ever as a Wildcat, and ElMedkhar’s second assist this year.

50 seconds later, fans were on edge as Bisons’ forward Ihaia Delaney kicked a scorcher that seemed destined to go in. Still undeterred from his allowed goal, Facusse stepped up once more for the save.

In the 35th minute, Lipscomb’s Ivan Sakou redirected a pass from Eduardo Reza and there was little Facusse could do as Sakou shot the ball away from him to put the Bisons up 2-1. Sakou, second in goals for the Bison this year, scored his fifth goal this season.

Both teams finished the half with seven shots each, and UK had five of those on goal.

After two Lipscomb misses in the 51st and 54th, Kentucky evened the score 2-2 after Noah Hutchins scored on a volley from the far post off of a Tanner Hummel assist in the 58th minute. Although fans were ecstatic, the celebration was cut short a minute later.

Showing the Cats they were not going down without a fight, the Bisons retaliated after midfielder Ryan Birchfield shot from the top of the box off and scored off a Sukou assist to give Lipscomb their lead back, 3-2.

Facusse saw little to no action come his way for the rest of the game as his fellow defenders locked down the Bisons. However, the Cats couldn’t generate offense for the rest of the game, either.

This loss marks Kentucky’s third consecutive loss and longest losing streak this year as they now drop to 7-5-2.

“The only way we can get out of this mess is that we are going to have to stay together and improve as a team,” head coach Johan Cedergren said. “It all begins with each player recognizing their responsibility of what they need to do to turn this around.”

The Wildcats will come back to The Bell on Wednesday, Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes.