Men’s soccer looks to rekindle early-season flame

By Anthony Crawford

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UK men’s soccer is set to take on East Tennessee State at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The team looks to get back on track after their previous two games ended in a loss and a draw. The Cats started out the season with two comeback wins and hope to rekindle that type of play against ESTU.



Ranking: n/a

Goals scored: 4

Goals allowed: 4

Average shots per game: 7.8

Average shots on goal: 2.5

Player to watch: Noah Hutchins

After two straight shutouts, the only player coming in to this game with any momentum is Hutchins. The sophomore midfielder comes into the game as UK leading goal scorer with two. Hutchins also led UK in shots in its last game against Memphis with three of the seven total. The midfielder’s two goals this season have come off of finishing crosses. The Cats should feed balls into the middle for the sophomore as he has proved to be reliable source of offense this season.


The team will go into this game with some obvious struggles on offense. The Cats have been held scoreless for two straight games and are averaging just 4.5 shots in that span. If UK wants to win on Wednesday, its offense is going to need to show up.

The Cats started the season with two comeback wins, and were able to do so because they controlled possession for much of those games and were able to score off well placed crosses. The team will need to get back to this and it will depend a lot on if the midfield is able to possess the ball. Junior All-American Napo Matsoso will need to live up to his pedigree and hold down the middle.

If UK can get back to its offense of sending crosses in with Hutchins ready to finish in the middle, then the outlook is good that the Cats will be able to stop their scoring drought and pull out a victory.

East Tennessee State


Ranking: n/a

Goals scored: 5

Goals allowed: 6

Average shots per game: 13.8

Average shots on goal: 4.75

Player to watch: Joao Ramalho

The junior forward has been one of few key contributors for the Buccaneer offense this season. Ramalho has one goal and one assist on the season and is the leading shot-taker on the team with 19 so far this season. The forward is coming off a season last year where he earned First Team All-Southern Conference honors. The junior will hope to jump start another all-conference campaign with a goal in a win over the Cats.


This was not ideal start to the season that ETSU wanted. Starting off by losing to No. 8 Clemson is understandable but a two-overtime draw against Radford and a loss against Appalachian State are two definite blemishes on the team’s record. The Buccaneers do seem to have caught the previously ranked UK at a good time. ETSU has yet to be held scoreless this season, so if it’s the offense can continue this trend and the defense can hold a UK team that is already struggling to score, then the Bucs look to be in a good position to pull off the upset.