3,503 packed the Bell in Lexington as the 4th-ranked Kentucky men’s soccer team defeated 2nd-ranked Indiana 3-0.
Kentucky is now 9-0-1 on the season and 3-0-0 in Conference USA play. Indiana’s nine-game winning streak was also snapped on Wednesday night, as they fall to 9-2-0 on the year.
Kentucky started the game with quick, clean passes. In previous games, Kentucky head coach Johan Cedergren had preached about opening each game at 100%, with intensity and effort, which was evident in the win.
In the 3rd minute, freshman forward Jason Reyes exploded past the IU defender and went marched the left side of the pitch. This left junior captain JJ Williams open for a shot from the top of the box. He connected and placed it in the top right corner to give Kentucky the early edge.
#4 Kentucky: 1, #2 Indiana: 0 in the 3rd minute
After the score by Williams, The Bell Soccer Complex was electric, and Kentucky took control of the momentum. The Cats won a majority of the 50/50 balls, broke out in space, hustled for every ball, and played extraordinary defense. Throughout many opportunities by Kentucky, they remained ahead by one score as both teams entered half time.
Kentucky began the second half ready to continue the gritty battle that was occurring at midfield. UK picked up where they left off, by controlling the tempo and field position of the game. It was a very back and forth battle, but Kentucky seemed to create shot opportunities as well as throwing Indiana off of their game plan.
In the 85th minute, Kentucky was fouled outside of the box. JJ Williams took the free kick, but the shot bounced off of the crossbar. However, the IU goalie was on the ground and Jason Reyes connected from one yard out. The chip-shot deflated Indiana and gave Kentucky a two point edge with five minutes left in the match.
#4 Kentucky: 2, #2 Indiana: 0 in the 85th minute
Kentucky did not settle for a 2-0 lead, and continued their pressure. After a few miscues by IU’s defense, senior defender Tanner Hummel raced past Indiana’s front line and connected with JJ Williams in the box. Williams placed another ball out of reach from Indiana’s goalie and put the final touch on a great win for Kentucky.
#4 Kentucky: 3, #2 Indiana: 0 in the 88th minute
The Cats had secured the win, and the celebration had begun. The dominant 3-0 victory proved that the Kentucky team is a legit championship contender and can beat any team. The win on Wednesday breaks a 20 game losing streak against Indiana, as well as improving UK’s win streak in 2018 to 5 games.
Kentucky wore the new white and blue home kit, while Indiana dawned the all red IU combination. The 3,503 people in attendance gave Kentucky the advantage and led the Cats to victory.
Kentucky returns to Conference USA play on Sunday at 7:00 they head to Florida International in Miami. Kentucky looks to remain flawless on the season and improve their C-USA standing. The win on Wednesday was another step in building an elite program and has set UK in a prime position to host in the postseason.