Cats storm out early but fall to Cards

UK drew first blood against in-state rival Louisville but couldn’t stop the Cards’ explosive offense as it fell 4-2 in yesterday’s match.

Emotions ran high for the Cats, who played the match in front of 2,307 people at the UK Soccer Complex, the fourth largest crowd in school history.

But it was not enough.

“We had a huge turnout tonight, and I feel like we disappointed the fans,” senior forward Aaron Swanson said.

The Cats (1-2) were eager to get out on the field and carried some momentum from Sunday’s 3-0 win over UNC-Asheville. Early in the game UK looked in full control and en route to a consecutive victory when freshman defender Tim Crone dribbled past his defender at midfield and scored the game’s first goal in the fifth minute.

“Scoring in the first five minutes is pretty rare,” Swanson said. “It usually shows that you’ll be in control for the rest of the game, but not tonight.”

Once UK got on the board, its rival quickly rallied back.

In the 12th minute, Louisville senior forward Marco Terminesi took a corner kick and sophomore defender Phil Edington headed the ball to equal the score.

The Cards (2-1) weren’t finished.

Just one minute after its first goal, Louisville junior midfielder Aaron Clapham headed in another goal from a crossed ball from freshman midfielder Kenney Walker.

“That was a very unfortunate series of events tonight,” Swanson said. “I guess I just saw this game unfolding differently than it did.”

Louisville found the back of the net twice more in the first half. Freshman midfielder J.T. Murray picked up a loose ball on the left side of the field and beat UK goalkeeper Dan Williams in the 32nd minute to make the score 3-1.

U of L finished its scoring in the 44th minute. Redshirt freshman Simeon Steward picked up a pass from 50 yards out and scored his first goal of the season, spreading the score to 4-1 at halftime.

Despite a demoralizing first 45-minutes, the Cats came out and played a fiery second half.

“Nobody quit tonight, and that is a definite positive we can pull from this game,” Swanson said.

Swanson brought the Cats back in the game. In the 55th minute, junior midfielder Chad Hagerty crossed the ball and Swanson one-timed the ball past U of L sophomore goalkeeper David Simolike. Swanson’s goal, his third of the season, made the score 4-2.

But the Cats didn’t capitalize again.

“We had a ton of opportunities in both the first and the second half that we should’ve capitalized on,” Swanson said.

After last night’s loss, the Cats are looking to put the game behind them.

“We have a couple of days to regroup until our next game,” Swanson said. “We’ve trained well and we have the fitness, we just need to toughen up mentally.”

The Cats will try to bounce back at home on Sunday afternoon against Cleveland State.

Until then, Swanson hopes the team will learn from tonight’s miscues.

“We need to take it in stride,” Swanson said. “If we can take tonight as motivation for the rest of the season, we’ll be fine. We embarrassed ourselves tonight and now we just need to work to show the fans who we really are.”