Kentucky Men’s Soccer broke another program record, as they defeated Lipscomb 2-1 in the NCAA Sweet 16. With the win, Kentucky will head to their first Elite Eight and will face 11th-seeded Maryland at the Bell. The date and time of the match will be released on Sunday, but will likely be on Friday night.
The first half of the match was very evenly matched, but possession was mostly controlled by Kentucky. UK had many open looks and possible shots that have been connected on this season, but just didn’t fall tonight.
Both teams looked frustrated and out of their usual rhythm, which led to a 0-0 tie when the first forty five minutes were over. The Cats have had a stellar defense all season and were a huge factor in UK only giving up one goal at home throughout the season.
However, Lipscomb got past the back line of the Kentucky defense and had a few looks that weren’t connected. The game was very physical and every player laid everything on the line, because their season depended on it.
Halftime: #3 Kentucky-0, Lipscomb-0
Kentucky began the second half with an offensive mentality, but wasn’t able to connect on any shots. In the 76th minute, the ball was in Lipscomb’s box and kept getting kicked around just a yard away from the goal. Many defenders tried to get the ball away from UK’s offense, but Marcel Meinzer gained possession of the ball quick enough to let Jason Reyes get his foot on the ball and place it in the back of the net.
Kentucky continued to reminisce on the past, instead of continuing to play like the score was tied. As a result, Lipscomb earned a free kick on Kentucky’s side of the field and converted on a shot to tie the game up just 22 seconds after Kentucky scored. The very rare score for a visiting team at the Bell shocked everyone, but ignited the fuel for UK entering the final fourteen minutes of the match.
#3 Kentucky-1, Lipscomb-1 in the 76th minute
Kentucky did not let the score get to them, instead they continued to play elite-level soccer. Possession continued to favor the Cats, until they got a free kick on the Lipscomb side. Marcel Meinzer took the kick and found Bailey Rouse, who headed the ball into the net. The Kentucky crowd went insane and the Cats could feel an Elite Eight berth on the line.
#3 Kentucky-2, Lipscomb-1 in the 82nd minute
Kentucky pressured the ball and kept many players on defense so that their lead was secured. UK finished off the match on a high note and gave the 1,940 people in attendance a match that they wouldn’t forget.
Final: #3 Kentucky-2, Lipscomb-1
Kentucky’s record improves to 19-1-1 on the season and is also the best record in program history. Looking ahead, the Terrapins record is 10-6-4. They were very hot to end the regular season and have won two straight NCAA games vs. two North Carolina ACC teams.
In the Second Round of the tournament, Maryland defeated NC State at home by a score of 2-0. Similarly, they then went to Durham and upset 3rd-Seeded Duke with a 2-0 advantage. Their offense is potent and their defense locks in and is stellar when it is needed the most.
The Elite Eight matchup between the two squads will be nothing short of spectacular and will be a game that you won’t want to miss.