Kentucky reaches 0-0 draw with Coastal Carolina; extends streak of draws


Kentucky Wildcats midfielder Nick Gutmann (21) kicks the ball into the box during the University of Kentucky vs. Notre Dame men’s soccer game on Friday, Sept. 3, 2021, at the Bell Soccer Complex in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 1-0. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Luke Fetzer, Reporter

Kentucky mens soccer (8-0-5) reached a 0-0 draw after a strong defensive display by Coastal Carolina on Wednesday, earning the Cats their third consecutive draw.

From kick-off, the Cats took immediate control of the ball and set the tempo, playing fast and fluid, looking for a goal.

Crosses from the flanks continued to pour into Coastal’s box, but with the strong defensive mentality implemented by CCU head coach Shaun Docking, the Cats were unable to find a breakthrough.

Wildcats head coach Johan Cedergren knew of the Chanticleers’ plan to drop deep but wished the Cats had converted the chances they had.

“I’m frustrated that we were unable to unlock a very defensive team because we had chances,” Cedergren said. “Now it’s about whether we can convert those chances when we get them.”

The Cats held a staggering 70% possession rate, a testament to how UK was on the night, keeping the ball on offense and swiftly winning it back when lost.

“I think that we found the ball in good areas, and it’s just about that decision of what to do with it that is going to be improved,” Cedergren said. “I’m happy with how we defended, I’m happy with how we dealt with their set pieces. I’m happy with how we progressed the ball into the final third.”

Much like the encounter with Coastal Carolina last year, where the Chanticleers dropped deep in numbers and let the Cats attack, this contest was no different, but senior midfielder Nick Gutmann knew it was coming beforehand.

“I think this season we played much better because we had much more opportunities in the final third,” Gutmann said. “We had so many more different movements that created all of these chances.”

The Cats had a whopping 15 total shots, with four of them being on goal as well as nine corners, but none ended up being the dagger the Cats needed.

“We just had to keep reminding ourselves every now and again that we had to stay patient and that over time, chances are going to come in,” Gutmann said. “I mean, they came, but we didn’t finish them properly.”

Even with a third-straight draw, Gutmann commented on how talented his team is, and how he believes these recent setbacks can build stronger character.

“I think we have a really strong team this season quality wise, but also character wise,” Gutmann said. “So, if we really play up to our potential and everybody’s just like working hard and bringing everything to the field, I think we can be really successful this season.”

The upcoming road trip to Indiana is one that Cedergren is excited for, with the chance to play against a team with eight national championships an important test to prove the strength of the program.

“So, for us, we play a very tough non-conference schedule just to prepare our guys for the postseason,” Cedergren said. “So, I think IU is a very good dress rehearsal for a potential away game and the conference tournament or the NCAA tournament.”

The Cats will travel up to Bloomington to face Indiana on Saturday, Oct. 22, with kickoff slated for 7 p.m. EST and streaming live on ESPN+.