What started off as a promising season for the Kentucky men's soccer team has quickly fizzled into a quagmire. Meanwhile, the women's team held their own over the weekend against SEMO and Alabama!
If this keeps up, the women are going to start earning top billing in TWIKS. The men's team visited Florida International University in Somewhere, Florida over the weekend to open conference play. FIU is traditionally a not good team, though they've had the Cats' number for whatever reason over the past couple seasons. Last year, Kentucky dominated the Panthers to wrap up their first ever CUSA league title, but then lost to them in the conference tournament.
Set pieces turned out to be the Cats' undoing on Saturday night. Kentucky gave up two goals before the fifteen minute mark, the first being off an FIU corner kick that the Cats couldn't clear, and the second on a free header from a free kick. As strong as the Wildcat defense has been in the run of play, they can't seem to defend a dead ball play particularly well. All four goals the Cats have conceded this year came from dead balls, and that's what she said.
Kentucky managed to cut the lead in half just after the break when junior Andrew McKelvey converted a seeing-eye ball from Justin Probert, but couldn't equalize against the bunkering Panthers. Kentucky's now out of the rankings and has tough upcoming schedule: home against East Tennessee State at 7 pm on Wednesday, and home again against a very good New Mexico team at 7 on Sunday.
The ladies had a much better weekend with a win and a draw, both at home. On Friday night, the Kentucky women hosted South East Missouri State. SEMO is actually a pretty good soccer program and came into the match ranked and unbeaten, but probably not once the final whistle blew. It was a very entertaining match as SEMO equalized twice before Kentucky junior and Mexico international Tanya Samarzich headed home a Marissa Bosco endline cross and the Cats hung on for the 3-2 win. Kaitlin Miller opened the scoring on a penalty kick in the first half hour, and Jade Klump would put Kentucky in the lead again after lasering a throw-in from 20 yards into the top of the net.
On Sunday, the Crimson Tide rolled into The Bell and fought the Cats to a 1-1 draw after two overtime periods. Kentucky outshot the Tide 28-18 in an affair that would make Lil' Jon say "that's too many shots," but couldn't come out with the victory. The Tide hit the scoreboard first in the 75th minute against the run of play, which forced Kentucky to scramble for an equalizer before regular time expired. They got one five minutes before time when Alabama handled the ball in their own 18 yard box, and Katy Keen converted the penalty. Kentucky had a couple good chances to take all three points in overtime, but forgot their shooting boots on the day and missed them both.
Coming up, the Cats visit Mizzou on Thursday night at 7 on WatchESPN, and then travel to South Carolina for a 2 pm match.