Cats weather the storm, tie Golden Knights

Lighting struck all around the UK Soccer Complex Wednesday night, but after two overtimes and the storm settled, a 1-1 draw was the result.

A Conference USA match that featured UK (4-6-2, 1-1-1 C-USA) versus conference leading No. 22 University of Central Florida (8-2-1, 4-0-1 C-USA) was also accompanied by a heavy storm. The game only saw two goals, both of which occurred faster than the surrounding lightning.

“I think (the rain) made for a pretty good game, it adds a little bit of bite,” UK head coach Ian Collins said. “I give credit to UCF, I thought they competed very hard, I thought our kids competed really hard, it was a good game and I don’t think the rain made a big difference in the game.”

Junior forward Sam Brooks didn’t waste time lighting up the scoreboard, he put the Cats on top 1-0 after muscling his way past a Golden Knight defender in the third minute of play.

“It happened really quick, inside three minutes,” Brooks said. “To be honest I think it was a foul but I’ll take it, I pushed him in the back and I carried on threw put it in the back of the net.”

The UK offensive attack didn’t end there, as it forced the issue for the duration of the half, totaling 10 shots, four that were on goal. But maybe more impressive was the Cats defense in the first half.

“They didn’t get a shot on goal or a corner kick in the first half, we did really well defensively.” UK redshirt freshman goal keeper Tyler Beadle said.

UK had the challenge of shutting down not only one of the best offensive players in the conference but also one of the best offensive players in the country, sophomore midfielder Nicholas Keown-Robson, he ranks fourteenth in the country in goals. Keown-Robson fell victim to UK’s defense, only getting one shot off.

But like the rain, the Golden Knights’ offense picked up in the second half. UCF had nine shots in the half, five were shots on goal but its offense didn’t connect until junior midfielder Warren Creavalle followed up his own miss with a quick strike into the back of the net.

After UCF tied up the game UK’s offense came back to life. UK was able to outshoot the Golden Knights the remainder of the game but could never punch in a goal.

Collins said the team should never be satisfied with a tie, but he sees potential in the Cats.

“You’re never satisfied with a tie especially when you score the first goal,” Collins said. “The effort level of so many young players was supreme and gives us something to build on.”

After tying the No.22 team in the country, the Cats know the conference will come down to the wire.

“It’s going to be a really tight league until the end,” Collins said. “I think the conference will go down to the last game and we have to take it one game at a time.”

The Cats couldn’t find a second goal, but if UK gets quick goals in games in the future, it can expect to capitalize.

“We know we needed a second goal tonight, we know a second goal would have put the game away,” Collins said.