Kentucky battles Marshall to a 1-1 draw to start conference play


Abby Szydlik

Kentucky Wildcats defender Robert Screen (2) shoots a penalty kick to secure the third goal during the Kentucky vs. Belmont mens soccer on Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, at the Wendell and Vickie Bell Soccer Complex in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 3-0. Photo by Abby Szydlik | Staff

Ali Cetinok, Staff Writer

No.6 Kentucky mens soccer (4-0-1) drew No.7 Marshall (4-1-1) 1-1 at home on Friday night, beginning its conference schedule.

The match marked the first in the Sun Belt Conference for both teams, with both being former Conference-USA members prior to its disbanding.

The first half was largely uneventful, having seen more fouls than actual chances to score. Both teams combined for 14 fouls and two yellow cards against Marshall.

Neither team was able to see a first goal until the second half.

Marshall ultimately opened the scoring in the 48’ through Vinicius Fernandes, who converted from a cross via teammate Adam Aoumaich to make it 1-0 in favor of the Herd. 

Kentucky was able to find an equalizer in 52’ courtesy of Nick Gutmann, who scored after Clay Holstad played the ball into his path. Gutmann promptly fired the ball past the Marshall goalkeeper to bring the score level. 

“I tried to stay wide and be open for (Holstad),” Gutmann said. “I was screaming the whole time for his attention and when I got the ball, I just hit it and it got in. It was really good for me.”

Gutmann’s goal left a good impression on head coach Johan Cedergren, who had nothing but praise for the senior for Hamburg, Germany.

“Anytime we can get isolation for Nick on their fullback, they freak out,” Cedergren said. “I think Nick is such a weapon to have.”

While Gutmann’s goal was impressive, the game defining moment for the Cats would come from the man in between the sticks for UK goalkeeper Casper Mols kept his team in the game after rapidly securing two saves, denying Marshall’s Fernandes twice in a row.

“Casper was good when he came here, but every week he’s getting better,” Cedergren said. “Those are high level goalkeeping saves [and] the way we play, we need high level goalkeeping, and he did that today.”

With a tie the Cats remain undefeated against three consecutive ranked opponents with a win against Louisville and back-to-back draws against Tulsa and Marshall.

“I already know how good of a team we have, but I think it’s very good for them.” Cedergren said.

Kentucky is set to return to action Tuesday, Sept. 20, to take on No. 21 Lipscomb at the Bell with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST.