No. 5 Kentucky overcomes weather; moves to nine games unbeaten


Abby Szydlik

Kentucky players celebrate after a goal during the Kentucky vs. Seattle mens soccer on Monday, Aug. 29, 2022, at the Wendell and Vickie Bell Soccer Complex in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 1-0. Photo by Abby Szydlik | Staff

Luke Fetzer, Reporter

Kentucky mens soccer (7-0-2) defeated James Madison (3-6-1) 3-1 on Saturday thanks to a three-goal second half.

The gusty wind and the pelting rain that plagued the match was unable to stop the Cats from extending their unbeaten streak to nine games.

Despite that, the weather did cause problems in the first half with slips and mistakes from both teams causing neither to be able to gain a leg up on their opponent for the entirety of the first half.

Surprisingly, Kentucky’s top goal scorer, Eythor Bjorgolfsson, was left off the lineup before kickoff, not featuring at all throughout the game.

With Bjorgolffson not on the pitch, the Wildcats were forced to find their goals elsewhere.

Coming out in the second half, the Cats controlled the tempo and attacked the back line of the Dukes, finally scoring the first goal of the game in the 55’ as forward Ben Damge completed an all-around team goal.

For Kentucky, things only got better from there.

Just two minutes later midfielder Enzo Mauriz was taken down in the box and awarded a penalty that was then scored with confidence by defender Lucca Rodrigues to give the Cats a two-goal advantage.

The game looked all but won by the Cats at that point, but JMU had plans to try to flip the script.

JMU’s Clay Obara unexpectedly won the ball in the UK’s box before striking the ball with force, clipping the hands of Kentucky goalkeeper Issac Walker on its way into the net.

With just 15 minutes left to play, the Dukes had the momentum, and almost got the equalizer before pivotal defending from Rodrigues deflected the Dukes’ shot on goal to keep the victory within reach for the Cats.

Entering the last five minutes, the Dukes threw everyone forward, desperate for a tying goal, but it was ultimately the Wildcats who struck last.

That last strike would come from a quick counterattack in the 90’ saw midfielder Martin Soeredie place a shot into the top left corner of the goal with just five seconds left in the match, a crushing dagger to JMU.

With the win, the No. 5 ranked Wildcats return to Lexington to prepare for Georgia Southern on Sunday, Oct. 9, with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m. EST.