The way the University of Kentucky men’s soccer team defends, it never has to score many goals to win. But it does have to score some.
The sixth-ranked Wildcats unleashed a veritable flurry off offense by their standards in the second half of Friday night’s match at Old Dominion and the result was a 2-0 Conference USA victory that kept Kentucky’s record spotless through 11 matches for the first time in program history.
UK improved to 8-0-3 overall and 2-0-3 in C-USA.
Kentucky has played to three scoreless draws in league play this season — vs. Coastal Carolina, No. 3 Marshall and No. 21 FIU — so it was no surprise to see the Wildcats deadlocked at zero with the Monarchs at halftime Friday night.
That all changed in the second half. Kentucky broke a 167-minute streak without a goal when junior defender Luis Grassow headed one into the net off a corner kick from Robert Screen in the 52nd minute for the first tally of his career. Sophomore midfielder Enzo Mauriz scored the clincher — also his first career goal — in the 74th minute. Screen crossed a pass to Martin Soereide whose header found Mauriz for a left-footed goal.
— Kentucky Men’s Soccer (@UKMensSoccer) October 16, 2021
“ I thought Kentucky turned it up a notch in the second half and we did not respond well to that,” Old Dominion Coach Alan Dawson said. “Really disappointed. We gave a bad goal away and once you concede and go behind against a really organized, good Kentucky side, it’s very difficult to get back in the game.”
Kentucky has now outscored its opponents 19-4 on the season.
Old Dominion fell to 2-7-2 overall and 0-4-1 in league play.
Kentucky goalkeeper Jan Hoffelner recorded the seventh shutout of his lone UK season behind the back line of Grassow, Screen, Mason Visconti and Trey Asensio. All three of Hoffelner’s saves came in the first half, as the Cats held Old Dominion without a shot on goal for the final 54 minutes.
“Really happy with the win and the performance tonight. Every game in Conference USA is really difficult, especially on the road,” Kentucky associate coach Chase Wileman said. “Defensively, another clean sheet for us. We take great pride in that.”
Kentucky returns to the field Tuesday night when it steps out of conference play to take on No. 21 West Virginia (6-1-4, 0-1-1 Mid-American Conference) at the Wendell and Vickie Bell Soccer Complex. The Mountaineers will be joining Conference USA next season. The 7 p.m. match will be broadcast live online at ESPN Plus.
Volleyball sweeps LSU
The Kentucky volleyball team completed a two-games-in-two-nights sweep of Louisiana State with a 3-0 victory at Baton Rouge, La., on Friday night.
Sophomore Madi Skinner led the Wildcats’ attack with 16 kills, and redshirt sophomore Bella Bell contributed a career-best five blocks as UK rolled to the 25-17, 25-23, 25-20 shutout one day after the Cats beat the Tigers 3-1.
Kentucky (13-3 overall, 6-0 Southeastern Conference) won its seventh match in a row and remained alone in first place as the league’s only undefeated team in SEC play. LSU fell to 7-11 and 3-6.
The Wildcats took command of Friday’s match by recording a season-high nine serving aces while limiting LSU to only three.