UK men’s soccer ends Senior Night in draw


Sophomore J.J. Williams scores a penalty kick during the game against Xavier on Wednesday, September 20, 2017 in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky tied Xavier 1-1. Photo by Carter Gossett | Staff

Mohammad Ahmad

The weather was very chilly, but that did not stop fans of the UK men’s soccer team from coming out to bid farewell to their beloved seniors on Senior Night.

Facing one of their toughest opponents this year, the Wildcats tied the No. 8 Florida International University Panthers at home.

The Panthers came into the match undefeated at 11-0-3 and sitting atop the C-USA standings. UK came into the match having lost their last two meetings against the Panthers. Kentucky is now 9-5-2 in the all-time series against FIU.

In the first 30 minutes of the match, there wasn’t much action to speak of between both teams. The Panthers only had one shot on goal in comparison to UK having none. Nonetheless, there were many well-executed takeaways and stops that kept both teams in check.

Panthers scoring ace Santiago Patino split past several defenders near the right side of the inner box and scored to put FIU up 1-0 in the 34th minute. The C-USA scoring leader with 15 goals, Patino came into this game under Kentucky’s radar as the most rousing player to create problems for the Cats.

From that point on, the Cats’ offense put its efforts into high gear. They finished the second half with 11 shots, along with five corner kicks. As hard as they tried to play, it eventually boiled over into frustration.

In the 63rd minute, UK’s Leon Jones was given a red card after he tackled FIU forward Joris Ahlinvi. A small melee that was quickly dispersed broke out between both sides. Several minutes later, JJ Williams had to be separated after arguing with several Panthers.

UK showed they were seeking vengeance and they finally got it in the 71st. Mikkel Pedersen finished a cross he received from Williams as he got it in the goal to equalize the score 1-1. However, the Panthers answered back and recaptured momentum.

FIU took the lead 2-1 in the 81st after Marvin Hezel scored off of an Ahlinvi assist. The Panthers thought they were about to finish their season with a win but, four minutes later, Williams proved otherwise. Williams hustled his way to the box and scored off of a Noah Hutchins assist to even up the score again 2-2.

In the 6th minute of the first overtime, Khalil ElMedkhar cut through traffic and took what looked like a game-ending shot. Panthers’ keeper Hugo Fauroux, however, made an athletic save.

Neither team had a big offensive spark in double overtime as the game ended in a draw.

“We definitely feel like we could’ve gotten the win, but to come back and tie the game twice with a man down against a great team showed the potential this team has,” senior captain Landon Souder said.

The Wildcats will play their final regular season game away against the Charlotte 49ers on Saturday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m.