UK men’s soccer rights the ship against Ohio State


Freshman goalkeeper Enrique Facusse celebrates after the goal made by a team member during second half the game against OSU on Wednesday, October 25, 2017 in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky defeated OSU 1 to 0. Photo by Kaitlyn Gumm| Staff

Mohammad Ahmad

In a tale of two struggling teams, one losing streak was guaranteed to end. The UK men’s soccer team looked to end a three-game losing streak, whereas the Ohio State Buckeyes came in having lost six straight. Kentucky finally ended their streak with a 1-0 win.

UK’s losing streak was their longest since 2014. They are now 4-1-2 against Ohio State at The Bell. UK looked to avenge their 1-0 loss in their last meeting at The Bell. This game marked Kentucky’s last non-conference match of the year as they finished 4-3-2 in non-conference play.

Things started to pick up when UK forward Andrew McKelvey tried to redeem himself in the 21st by bouncing a cross in the by-line that came from Noah Hutchins in the far right. However, he kicked the ball too hard and it sailed wide right.

For the rest of the half, the pace of the action slowed down again. Both teams had only two shots each, and Ohio State had no shots on goal.

With the help of Enrique Facusse, the Wildcats dodged a bullet in the 51st minute after he jumped in front of a ball in the inner box that was nearly ran past him. Facusse, whose 0.88  goals-against-average is second in the C-USA, finished the shutout with one save

Defensively, both teams played much grittier in the second half. OSU’s Brady Blackwell received a yellow card in the 76th and was later ejected after receiving a red card in the 81st for viciously striking Leon Jones. Both teams finished with 11 combined fouls, 6 of them on OSU.

Connor Probert had a pair of corner kicks in the 58th minute, one of which nearly turned into a goal by Alex Bumpus. Unfortunately for UK, Buckeyes’ goalkeeper Xavier Kennedy saved Bumpus’ header. Soon thereafter, in the 62nd, Hutchins shot the ball from the right side of the outer box, but it did not have enough curl as it slipped past the corner of the crossbar.

In the 85th minute, the UK offense desperately scrambled its way back towards the goal. Keyarash Namjoupanah played the ball towards the box, and Hutchins, who was all over the ball the whole game, finished the goal with his right foot to give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead and the victory.

“Ohio State is a good team, and we knew coming in we were going to have to give everything we had,” Hutchins said. “We knew this was a critical match that could’ve made or broke our season, so getting this result really boosts our morale going into senior night.”

With only two games left for Kentucky as the season dwindles down, the Cats will play their final home match this Sunday for senior night at 7 p.m. against top conference seed Florida International University.