The 1st-seeded Kentucky Men’s Soccer team defeated 3rd-seeded and 14th-ranked Charlotte 1-0 in the Conference USA Tournament Championship game on Sunday. Kentucky won both the regular season title and the tournament title this season, which has not happened since UK joined the C-USA.
For those who are wondering, Kentucky plays in the Conference USA because the only other SEC school that sponsors men’s soccer is South Carolina, which wouldn’t be enough for a conference. Therefore, they play with teams around the southeastern part of the USA. With the victory, Kentucky improves to 17-1-1 on the season and now awaits the NCAA tournament.
The first half of the match was dominated by Charlotte, who came out in the opening minutes and had three shot opportunities that all hit the crossbar. Charlotte was on Kentucky’s side of the field for most of the match and entered the break with a 12-3 shot lead over Kentucky. UK’s defense came up clutch and was highlighted by the sophomore goalkeeper, Enrique Facusse, who saved 3 of the shots that UNCC took. It was a well matched first half and UK looked like they still had more in the tank for the second half.
Halftime: #3 Kentucky-0 #14 Charlotte-0
Kentucky came out in the beginning of the second half and did what they were known to do many times this season: score early. Kentucky gained possession of the ball and marched down Charlotte’s side of the field and got an early look. Junior forward JJ Williams drew the Charlotte goalie outside of the box and finished a kick into the goal with the outside of his right foot, despite pressure from the defense around him. UK took the lead in the 47th minute and never looked back. The goal by Williams was his 16th of the year, which is one of the reasons why he won C-USA Player of the Year and C-USA Tournament MVP. Kentucky continued to pressure the ball and was sound on defense, which led them to their first C-USA tournament victory.
Final: #3 Kentucky-1 #14 Charlotte-0
A crowd of 1,050 witnessed UK’s victory over the host-team Charlotte, which time all season that Charlotte had lost on their home field. Kentucky is now automatically in the NCAA tournament and will know where they will be seeded on Monday. UK will likely be a top 16 team, which means that they will receive a bye until Sunday, November the 18th. Kentucky could host anywhere from one to three games if they continue to win in the tournament, so be sure to come out to the Wendell and Vickie Bell Soccer Complex and support the Cats.
Kentucky Volleyball defeats Alabama to win 17th straight and have 6th straight sweep
Junior outside hitter Leah Edmond led Kentucky with 21 kills in the 3-0 victory over Alabama (25-16, 25-19, 25-23) inside Memorial Coliseum. Three Cats recorded over 11 kills and it was a complete effort to sweep the Crimson Tide. With the win, Kentucky improves to 20-4 on the season and 14-0 in the SEC. UK has a two game lead for the SEC Championship and has four games left on their schedule. Kentucky hits the road at Arkansas on Wednesday at 6:00 to begin a three-game road slate.
Freshman outside hitter Alli Stumler and junior opposite Caitlyn Cooper also were offensive threats for UK today, as the Cats recorded 61 kills. Both Madison Lilley and Leah Edmond recorded double-doubles today and contributed to both sides of the ball. Defensively, many UK players received many digs and kept crucial points alive. This was the third straight game that sophomore libero Gabby Curry has recorded more than 20 digs in a match, a season best. Every player did a great job and Kentucky seems to be peaking at the right time, with the NCAA tournament right around the corner.