No. 6 Kentucky mens soccer (5-0-2) fought through a second half comeback attempt by No. 21 Lipscomb (5-1-1) to defeat the Bisons 3-2 on Tuesday.
The Cats took an early advantage after forward Eythor Bjorgolfsson fired home a cross from senior Nick Gutmann in the 10’.
After the early goal, UK began to struggle defensively as sloppy mistakes coming from the defense saw Lipscomb knock on the door, but the Bisons still failed to find an equalizer in the half.
The Wildcats came out firing from the second half whistle, finding the net once again not even two minutes in as Bjorgolfsson scored his second from a well-placed corner kick.
Head coach Johan Cedergren was incredibly pleased with the Norwegian’s performance.
“The two times that he came free today, he scored two great goals,” Cedergren said. “He does so many things for us on set pieces. He comes back and he presses so very happy with it.”
The Bisons were not willing to let the Cats go home easily though and the 58’ saw forward Tyrese Spicer volley home a shot from the top of the box to give the Lipscomb a chance.
Lipscomb went on to completely flip the script when Ploutarchos Alonefti netted the equalizer just three minutes after Spicer got the first.
While Cedergren knew his players had lost focus, he was determined to ensure that Lipscomb would not be having the last laugh.
“Our heads went down a little bit, and if you’re the number six team in the country and it’s 2-2 at home, well, that’s the time to grind.” Cedergren said. “We took a couple minutes, but then we responded.”
Shortly after in the 69’ the Cats responded just as Cedergren said they would off a free-kick just 22 yards from goal.
Fifth-year captain Robert Screen was the kick taker and knew he had the ability to take it on and change the game back into the favor of UK.
“Walking up to it, I knew that we needed something.” Screen said. “I’ve been practicing them a decent amount, and I saw the goalkeeper creeping and I knew it was a good opportunity.”
Just as he knew it would, the second career free kick from Screen saw the Cats regain a 3-2 advantage with 20 minutes to play.
“It was good that it ended up being the winner,” Screen said. “It settled the game down a bit. They kind of lost a little bit of their hope.”
While the Bisons may have lost some hope, they refused to give in as several of Lipscomb’s wide players tried to level the game in the dying moments, but the back line of UK refocused and held strong.
“With the quality we have in the back I think we can handle those kinds of things,” Screen said. “Credit to Isaac (Walker) and the center backs like we did well again, but they had some chances that they could have put away.”
The victory saw the Cats move to seven straight games unbeaten heading into a tough test in a three-game road trip against Georgia State, James Madison and Indiana.
“Every week we’re working on some things and trying to get better,” Cedergren said. “Of course, it’s going to be a really tough game, conference away game, two in a row, but when you have a squad that we do with the ability that we have, we just got to get back to doing all those little things to make it a little easier for us.”
The Cats will travel to Atlanta to face off against Georgia State on Saturday, Sept. 24th, with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m. EST and streaming live on ESPN +.