UK men’s soccer scores first regular season win in home opener


Kentucky men’s soccer coach Johan Cedergren watches on during the Kentucky men’s soccer match against Louisville at the Wendell and Vickie Bell Soccer Complex in Lexington, Ky., on Tuesday, September 23, 2014. Photo by Jonathan Krueger

Mohammad Ahmad

As the men’s soccer team opened its regular season at home Friday against the Marquette Golden Eagles, the Friday night lights shone bright on an intense, raucous game as Kentucky defeated the Golden Eagles 1-0 in an overtime match. The game-winning goal came from senior forward Andrew McKelvey.

Finishing the preseason 0-1-1, the Wildcats looked to put that behind them and set their sights on yet another potential bid to the NCAA tournament. Once the game started, both teams adopted an aggressive style of play.

The Wildcats tried to generate offense in the beginning the first half, but failed to capitalize on key plays. UK’s Sam Stockton, after a pass from Tanner Hummel, missed a shot that could have put Kentucky in charge for the game. Senior Stefan Stojkovic missed a shot wide right in the 22nd minute that also could have turned the tides.

Defensively, however, Kentucky fought strategically in the first half. The Wildcats had two saves in the first half through the valiant efforts of young goalkeeper Enrique Facusse. Furthermore, the team’s defense was able to stop Marquette in its tracks during a potential scoring situation in the 37th minute.

Going into the second half, the offense on both ends kept intensely attempting to encroach the goal. UK senior Kevin Barajas had his shot blocked in the 59th minute, and Cats freshman Khalil Elmedkhar missed one in the 71st minute. Each team also had three corner kicks within the half.

All in all, Facusse saved three shots in the second half, and Johan Cedergren’s troops effectively kept the Golden Eagles in check throughout a long, grueling match.

As the game headed into the first overtime scoreless, neither team seemed fatigued or slowed down in the extra period. After Facusse logged another integral save, perhaps the biggest of the game, the Wildcats finally brought the game home. In the 8th overtime minute, McKelvey scored the game-winning goal as he was assisted by fellow seniors Alex Bumpus and Mikkel Pedersen.

Winning the first game of the year provides major confidence to a young Wildcat team looking to stay on track toward a successful season.

“We are a defense first team that gets behind the ball, including the attacker, and everyone knows their role so if we don’t give up goals we will not lose,” senior Landon Sauder said when asked about how the team plans to move forward.

“As long as I can do whatever I can for the rest of the team to help win, so I’m not concerned about my own personal stats,” Andrew McKelvey said when asked about how his individual performance reflects on the team.

The team plays its next game at Eastern Tennessee State on Aug. 29.