All smiles on Senior Night as men’s soccer dominates Marshall


Senior forward Sam Miller puts a defender on skates during the match against Marshall on Sunday, October 30, 2016 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Quinn Foster | Staff

Chase Campbell

Sunday was the final home game of the No. 14 Kentucky men’s soccer season, and the final home game for seniors Napo Matsoso, Charlie Reymann, Jordan Wilson, Paul Sime, Sam Miller, and Ryan Creel. The Cats routed the Marshall Thundering Herd in a 3-0 win, capping off an undefeated season at home, and an emotional Senior Night for the six seniors competing.

Coming into this game, the Cats were fourth in Conference USA standings, and were matched up against a Marshall team that had only managed one win on the road in their eight attempts. The game seemed all too easy for a powerful UK defense that had pitched eight shutouts in their ten wins on the season, now up to nine for eleven.

The game started as smoothly as the Cats could have hoped, with midfielder Matsoso scoring his seventh goal on the season off a free kick in the 13th minute of play. This would be the lone goal of the half, but UK still kept constant pressure on the Marshall net.

The game would prove to be extremely physical, as players drew a combined total of four yellow card penalties before halftime, three of which came in a three-and-a-half-minute span, as well as multiple stoppages of play for injuries.

Matsoso was among the players that had to come off the field due to injury, in a scare for all the fans in attendance. He was able to quickly return to the field in the following minutes, and play resumed as usual.

In the second half, UK was certain to assert themselves, racking up six shots on goal in the first 15 minutes of the half, including a goal by forward JJ Williams in the 61st minute, rebounding off an error by Marshall keeper Trevor Clemens.

From there, the rest was pure domination by the Cats, as Matsoso scored his second goal of the game in the 64th minute, off an assist by fellow senior Paul Sime, after Sime quickly intercepted a pass in the offensive zone and whipped it to Matsoso, who quickly scored.

While not known as a stat sheet stuffer, Sime definitely did his job well within the team.

“Through freshman year, coach made sure that he always kind of told us what he expects of us,” Sime said. “I know he expects me to defend, covering and cleaning up when there’s problems in the defense.”

As time began to wind down, smiles could be seen across the Bell, as fans, players, and coaches alike were elated that the Cats ended their undefeated home season with such a dominant win, on a joyful senior night. UK ended with 12 shots on goal, an indicator of how relentlessly they hounded the Marshall net.

The Cats aim next towards the final conference game, visiting a powerful South Carolina team on November 4th before heading to the conference tournament, and then, they hope, the NCAA tournament.

“We haven’t won a game in the NCAA tournament, so that’s the goal.” Sime commented after the game. Hopes are high for this Wildcat team that’s looking better than ever.”