UK defeated East Tennessee State 3-1 on Wednesday night at the UK Soccer Complex. (Chet White, UK Athletics)
After beginning the season 1-4, the University of Kentucky men's soccer team put together its first win streak of the season Wednesday evening, topping East Tennessee State 3-1. The Wildcats have improved their record to 3-4 on the year and seem to be playing with a sense of looseness and confidence.
Last Friday, the Cats defeated nationally-ranked Louisville on the road, standing tall in the face of several attacks from the Cardinals. Tonight, Kentucky played with the same energy it brought on Friday.
Kentucky got a first half goal from Gabriel Conelian in the 34th minute, taking a 1-0 lead into halftime. The Wildcats seemed to be fired up and ready to charge out of the gates in the second half. However, two minutes into the second stanza the Buccaneers equalized on a penalty kick. In the past, the Cats may have lowered their heads and started playing not to lose.
Instead, a more mature UK team responded with a goal in the 74th minute by Steven Perinovic and added an insurance goal by Charlie Pettys in the 83rd minute on a penalty kick.
"I think you can definitely see the confidence," head coach Johan Cedergren said. "They scored to equalize the game and our kids said 'Okay they scored, fine we will score another one.' I think that's the big change you see is that they know they can do so much better and they know they can play with anyone in the country."
Junior goalkeeper Jack Van Arsdale has played huge for the Cats the last few games and has come up with some big-time saves. Van Arsdale held off the Louisville attack, recording six saves in the process to pick up the upset. With the score tied 1-all this evening, the Bucs had a chance to go ahead on a header midway through the second half but Van Arsdale made a tremendous save to keep the game even.
The Cats seemed to get a boost from the play and were able to get a set piece to Perinovic, who found the back of the net for the game winner.
"Jack has been coming up huge," Perinovic said. "In the Louisville game he had six saves and was named national team of the week and he has been playing out of his mind for us right now. He's been keeping us in a lot of the games."
Assistant coach David Casper works with the goalkeepers and has put in a lot of time trying to help Van Arsdale, Callum Irving and Dary DeWalt improve. Cedergren gives a lot of credit to Casper and feels that Van Arsdale is really thriving under his guidance.
Not only has Van Arsdale's play improved, but so has the entire defense. The Cats were a goal away from recording their third shutout in four games and they seem to be trusting each other more and building chemistry.
"We are finally becoming a cohesive unit," Perinovic said. "The more you play with each other it gets more solid in the back and you get to know what each other is going to do. (Jacob) Kemper played great tonight as he always does. (Jacob) Speed, it's been a good partnership with him and then Dylan (Asher) is always solid on the right so I think we have been coming along really well."
Perinovic's goal came on a header off a free kick from the left corner. Cedergren has talked about how great Perinovic is in the air and they have been working on set pieces attempting to get him opportunities to score.
Being good in the air is one thing but it's a two-way street. There needs to be a good service into the box in order for Perinovic to have a chance. Pettys served a great ball to the far post and Perinovic found the back of the net for his first career goal.
"It was great because we have been working a lot on set pieces in practice," Perinovic said. "It was nice to get one and especially to go up 2-1. Pettys kept trying to go near post but it was so crowded in there so I told him to go far post and he played a great ball in. Give him all the credit on the service."
Pettys is another player who has brought a lot of energy to the squad. He started the year playing outside back and has since made the transition to midfielder. The move looks to be brilliant as Pettys has brought another dynamic to the offense using his hustle and knowledge of the game.
Pettys is someone the Cats can play through because he is so smart with the ball and makes good decisions. He led the team in passing/completion ratio against Louisville at 93 percent and gives UK a chance with his lethal leg on free kicks.
It was Pettys' assist to Perinovic that gave UK the lead and he sealed the game as he stepped up and drilled a penalty kick.
"I think Charley's got an engine that never stops running," Cedergren said. "For Charley, I think that's sometimes his biggest strength is to just keep going. He was very confident with the penalty kick, made good service with the free kicks and he filled in fullback for us when we were trying to figure out our system. Now he's playing wide midfield I think he can add even more going forward."
Riding an upset over Louisville, the Cats kept their momentum going tonight and seek to make it three in a row as they travel to Evansville this Saturday. First things first though, Kentucky took care of business tonight and really showed some swagger out on the field.
They allowed a tying goal in the second half but instead of getting down on themselves, stepped back up with their heads held high and used a team effort to get back-to-back wins.
"We came off a big emotional win against Louisville on Friday," Cedergren said. "It was really important for us to come out and keep that momentum going. I think we did that tonight, we came out a little slow in the first half but picked it back up and we all worked for each other and ended up getting the win."
Every Tuesday, UK Athletics recognizes outstanding performances for our student-athletes. These are the honorees for the week ending Sunday, Sept. 16:
Women's soccer: Kayla King
Junior Kayla King helped anchor the UK defense in two SEC games as UK upset No. 13 Florida (2-1) and knocked off undefeated Mississippi State (3-0). King made nine saves on the weekend, while only allowing one goal, which was a PK on Friday. The Louisville, Ky., native also tallied her first individual shutout of her career Sunday, as UK notched its fifth shutout as a team in just eight games.
Men's soccer: Matt Lodge
Senior midfielder Matt Lodge netted one of the biggest goals of his decorated career in leading UK to a monumental 1-0 win at No. 18 Louisville on Friday night ... Lodge's third goal of the year came in the 38th minute at UofL, in front of the largest crowd to ever watch a UK men's soccer game, 5,583 fans at Cardinal Park ... His tally was a gorgeous strike on a free-kick opportunity from just outside of the 18-yard box, bending it around the wall and past the diving keeper at the far post ... The goal was Lodge's 20th career, ranking his sixth-best in UK annals ... He also ranks sixth in UK career history with his 55 points, adding 15 assists in his 59 career games.
Women's soccer: Courtney Raetzman
Freshman Courtney Raetzman scored the game-winning goal Friday night against No. 13 Florida in the SEC season opener off a corner kick in the 47th minute. The goal was the first-career goal for Raetzman. The freshman from Elk Grove, Ill., also notched two assists in the 3-0 win Sunday afternoon over undefeated Mississippi State, giving her four points on the weekend.
Men's soccer: Jack Van Arsdale
Junior keeper Jack Van Arsdale turned in the best game of his career in leading the Wildcats to a thrilling 1-0 win at No. 18 Louisville on Friday night in front of 5,583 at Cardinal Park - the most fans to ever witness a UK men's soccer game ... A native of Richmond, Va., Van Arsdale saved a career-high six shots in his first career clean sheet ... Among his remarkable saves in an electric atmosphere, Van Arsdale thwarted a breakaway with a kick save, extending his right leg out to narrowly stop a scoring chance ... His performance helped UK post its first win at Louisville since 2004 ... The transfer from Virginia Commonwealth saved shots in the ninth, 22nd, 36th, 47th, 72nd and 83rd minutes ... On the year, Van Arsdale has started in three games and played in four, owning a 1.12 goals-against average in 320 minutes with 15 saves ... In his two-year UK career, Van Arsdale has a 1.47 goals-against average in seven games, with 21 saves. "Jack you could see in him today that he made up his mind he was going to keep a clean sheet," UK head coach Johan Cedergren said of Van Arsdale's outing. "To come in here at Louisville to keep a clean sheet is a fantastic feeling." ... "Jack kept us in the game," UK senior co-captain Matt Lodge said. "He must have made about 10 saves in the second half. Credit the back four as well, Stevie (Perinovic), Dylan, Speed and Kemper they all played really good tonight."
Jack Van Arsdale recorded a shutout in Kentucky's win over Louisville on Friday. (Britney McIntosh, UK Athletics)
Four days following the big upset of No. 18 Louisville, the
University of Kentucky men's soccer team has wasted no time shifting the focus
to its next opponent: East Tennessee State on Wednesday.
The Wildcats dropped four one-goal games in their first five
games before pulling out a 1-0 victory over the Cardinals last Friday evening
at Cardinal Park in Louisville, Ky. Not only did the Cats start the 2012 season
with an uphill climb after four losses in their first five games of the year,
but they had played three ranked opponents in those contests.
Louisville was next up on the brutal schedule, but UK found
a way to win and may have turned their season around. Kentucky has a stretch
where they have an opportunity to roll off a winning streak and get some
In their next three games the Cats will face ETSU at home,
and Evansville (Sept. 22) and IPFW (Sept. 25) on the road. Head coach Johan
Cedergren sees this as an opportunity to right the ship and get back to an even
"We are 2-4 so we need a couple to get back to .500," Cedergren
said. "I think we are ready for it. Like I've have said all along, it's a good
team and it's just a matter of putting it all together. Now we know that we can
do it in a hostile environment against a very good team. So let's show our home
fans on Wednesday that we can do it back-to-back."
However, East Tennessee will be no slouch when the Buccaneers come
to the UK Soccer Complex on Wednesday. They own a 4-2 mark on the year, including
a 1-0 victory in double overtime over Conference USA foe, No. 17 UAB.
Cedergren is aware of ETSU and what it can bring, but knows that
if his team plays with the same energy that it brought against Louisville, the
Wildcats can beat anyone in the country.
"We have a brutal schedule, and ETSU and their coaching staff have
a very good program," Cedergren said. "They have had success, been to the
tournament (2010), have a wonderful facility down there and have some very
special players going forward. We are definitely going to have to be on our
toes, but at the same time if we can beat Louisville and can put that kind of
performance together on Wednesday then I will feel pretty good about our
After recording his first shutout of the season against
Louisville, junior goal keeper Jack Van Arsdale received two weekly awards for
his performance. Van Arsdale was named to the national team of the week by
College Soccer News and the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Week.
Van Arsdale and the defense are taking that step forward that
Cedergren has been preaching all season. Along with the Louisville match, the
defensive unit has posted a shutout against St. Joseph's and held No. 4
Charlotte scoreless in the second half in its last three contests.
The Wildcats took a beating with the early schedule but Van
Arsdale likes his team's chances the rest of the season.
"It gives you confidence
that if you are playing the best teams in the country to start out with,
theoretically it gets easier from here," Van Arsdale said. "Our conference is
really tough with really good teams. Basically, we need to take what we have
learned from these games and use them going forward."
Senior forward Matt Lodge
scored the winning goal against the Cardinals on Friday and was awarded the
Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week. The win over Louisville was huge
for Lodge in particular, considering it was the first time he had tasted a
victory over the archrivals.
Lodge was pleased with the
UK fan turnout in Louisville and is excited to play in front of the home crowd
on Wednesday. The Rossington, England native believes that Friday's win will
persuade the fans to keep supporting the Cats this season.
"Yeah, especially after the Louisville game," Lodge said. "We had
a lot of fans there and they saw us win, so hopefully they will be at our home
game against ETSU. I don't know a whole lot about them but I know they are a
solid team. They beat UAB so it's going to be a test."
Cedergren has been consistent since the offseason and the kickoff
to the season. He has constantly talked about his team getting better every day
in training and games. The record didn't always show it, but only he and the
rest of the team have really been able to see what's going on day in and day
After topping the Cardinals, the Cats now can show the rest of the
world what they are made of and how much they have improved since the start of the
season. No more playing well for stretches at a time or for just one half and then
having the wheels fall off. This team appears to have grown in maturity and
experience that is ready for the long haul.
"We are at the point now
where we can put together a good performance for ninety minutes," Cedergren
said. "The guys were really passionate, and we came out on fire against
Louisville. That surprised us a little bit, and that gave us confidence. Then
from that point we were just trying to sustain what we had done. I think we are
a really good team. We just need to realize that ourselves and put it together
now for several games in a row."
Football - Junior tailback Jonathan George had a career game, scoring three touchdowns - two rushing, one receiving - in Kentucky's 32-31 overtime loss to Western Kentucky on Saturday. George finished the game with 13 rushes for 51 yards, adding a career-high six catches for a career-best 54 yards. The junior was the first player to score two rushing touchdowns and a receiving score in the same game since Randall Cobb in 2010 vs. Auburn. - Sophomore quarterback Maxwell Smith three for 300-plus yards for the second-consecutive game, becoming the first player to accomplish that feat since Mike Hartline in 2010. - Defensively, Collins Ukwu, Alvin "Bud" Dupree, Avery Williamson, Taylor Wyndham, Mister Cobble and Martavius Neloms all had career-high tackles. Williamson led the way with 14 stops. Volleyball - The Kentucky volleyball team opened SEC action with a home contest against No. 13 Florida. The Wildcats suffered a 3-0 loss to the Gators in front of more than 1,800 fans at Memorial Coliseum. - Senior libero Stephanie Klefot had a season-high 18 digs in a three-set match. - Junior Alexandra Morgan matched a career high with 10 kills to lead the offensive effort for the Blue and White. - Kentucky will now hit the road for its first two-match conference set with dates at LSU on Friday and Texas A&M on Sunday.
Women's soccer - Kentucky upset No. 13 Florida Friday night 2-1 in a game that featured a PK from each team before freshman Courtney Raetzman scored her first-career goal in the 47th minute to notch the game winner. The win over the Gators was the Wildcats' first since the 2006 SEC Championship game. - UK ended Mississippi State's undefeated season Sunday, collecting three goals from three different players in a 3-0 win. The win marked the third-consecutive win over MSU for the Wildcats. - Sophomore Arin Gilliland scored a goal in each game this weekend, charting the equalizer in Friday night's upset on a PK in the 30th minute, and also scored in the 50th minute vs. Mississippi State on a rebound. - Junior Kayla King recorded her first-career shutout Sunday afternoon in a 3-0 win over MSU. In addition, King was in the cage for the entire 90 minutes, collecting the win Friday over No. 13 Florida as the Louisville native recorded six saves.
Men's soccer - The Kentucky men's soccer team continued its stiff schedule to open up the non-conference season, traveling to No. 18 Louisville and springing a thrilling 1-0 win on Friday in front of 5,583 fans at an electric Cardinal Park. - Kentucky faced its fourth ranked foe in the first six games of 2012 on Friday night in an intense, rivalry atmosphere in the Derby City. The Wildcats struck for a free-kick goal on the boot of senior midfielder Matt Lodge in the 38th minute and used a heroic defensive effort from goalkeeper Jack Van Arsdale, defenders Steven Perinovic, Jacob Speed, Dylan Asher and Jacob Kemper, with midfielder Cameron Wilder also starring in the winning effort. - The win for UK was its first at Louisville since 2004 and snapped a three-game winning streak in the series for the Cardinals, the 2010 NCAA College Cup runner-up. - Lodge continued to move up the record books with his goal on Friday night, giving him 20 goals, 15 assists and 55 points in his career, ranking sixth in UK history in goals and points.
Men's golf - The UK men's golf team opened up their 2012-13 year with a fifth place finish at the Wolf Run Invitational this past weekend. - Stephen Powers and Will Bishop finished in the top-20, posting scores of 5-over-par and 7-over-par, respectively. Women's golf - The women's golf team kicked off their 2012 fall schedule with a victory at the Old Waverly Bulldog Invitational, winning the tournament by two strokes with a score of 14-over. - Ashleigh Albrecht led the Wildcats with a 1-over-par, sixth place finish. - Freshman Cylia Damerau also recorded a top-10 finish, placing ninth with a score of 4-over. Damerau was huge down the stretch for the Cats, shooting 3-under the final two rounds.
Overall Record: 2-4-0, 0-0-0 C-USA Record Last Week: 1-0-0, 0-0-0 C-USA Recent Results Friday, Sept. 14 - won at No. 18 Louisville, 1-0
Upcoming Schedule (times eastern) Wednesday, Sept. 19 - vs. East Tennessee State - 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22 - at Evansville - 8 p.m.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK NOMINEE R-Jr., GK, Jack Van Arsdale (Richmond, Va.) NOTES: Junior keeper Jack Van Arsdale turned in the best game of his career in leading the Wildcats to a thrilling 1-0 win at No. 18 Louisville on Friday night in front of 5,583 at Cardinal Park - the most fans to ever witness a UK men's soccer game ... A native of Richmond, Va., Van Arsdale saved a career-high six shots in his first career clean sheet ... Among his remarkable saves in an electric atmosphere, Van Arsdale thwarted a breakaway with a kick save, extending his right leg out to narrowly stop a scoring chance ... His performance helped UK post its first win at Louisville since 2004 ... The transfer from Virginia Commonwealth saved shots in the ninth, 22nd, 36th, 47th, 72nd and 83rd minutes ... On the year, Van Arsdale has started in three games and played in four, owning a 1.12 goals-against average in 320 minutes with 15 saves ... In his two-year UK career, Van Arsdale has a 1.47 goals-against average in seven games, with 21 saves. "Jack you could see in him today that he made up his mind he was going to keep a clean sheet," UK head coach Johan Cedergren said of Van Arsdale's outing. "To come in here at Louisville to keep a clean sheet is a fantastic feeling." ... "Jack kept us in the game," UK senior co-captain Matt Lodge said. "He must have made about 10 saves in the second half. Credit the back four as well, Stevie (Perinovic), Dylan, Speed and Kemper they all played really good tonight."
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK NOMINEE Sr., MF, Matt Lodge (Rossington, England) NOTES: Senior midfielder Matt Lodge netted one of the biggest goals of his decorated career in leading UK to a monumental 1-0 win at No. 18 Louisville on Friday night ... Lodge's third goal of the year came in the 38th minute at UofL, in front of the largest crowd to ever watch a UK men's soccer game, 5,583 fans at Cardinal Park ... His tally was a gorgeous strike on a free-kick opportunity from just outside of the 18-yard box, bending it around the wall and past the diving keeper at the far post ... The goal was Lodge's 20th career, ranking his sixth-best in UK annals ... He also ranks sixth in UK career history with his 55 points, adding 15 assists in his 59 career games.
TEAM NOTES The Kentucky men's soccer team continued its stiff schedule to open up the non-conference season, traveling to No. 18 Louisville and springing a thrilling 1-0 win on Friday in front of 5,583 fans at an electric Cardinal Park, the largest crowd to ever witness a UK soccer game. UK will return to action on Wednesday, hosting East Tennessee State at 7 p.m. ET at the UK Soccer Complex.
Kentucky (2-4-0) faced its fourth ranked foe in the first six games of 2012 on Friday night in an intense, rivalry atmosphere in the Derby City. The Wildcats struck for a free-kick goal on the boot of senior midfielder Matt Lodge in the 38th minute and used a heroic defensive effort from goalkeeper Jack Van Arsdale, defenders Steven Perinovic, Jacob Speed, Dylan Asher and Jacob Kemper, with midfielder Cameron Wilder also starring in the winning effort.
The win for UK was its first at Louisville since 2004 and snapped a three-game winning streak in the series for the Cardinals, the 2010 NCAA College Cup runner-up. UK owns a 10-5-4 all-time record against the Big East power Cardinals, including a 6-1-2 record in Louisville, and the win was UK's first over a top-25 foe since a 5-1 smashing over No. 15 Brown in 2011.
Lodge continued to move up the record books with his goal on Friday night, giving him 20 goals, 15 assists and 55 points in his career, ranking sixth in UK history in goals and points.
On the year, UK has eight goals in six games, owning 11.5 shots per game and a 42-33 advantage in corner kicks. Lodge leads UK with three goals, while Tyler Riggs has two goals and one assist and Charley Pettys has two goals. Freshman Bryan Celis has added UK's other goal, while freshman Kristoffer Tollefsen paces the club with two assists. Kemper and freshman Jacob Scearce each have an assist. In goal, Van Arsdale has a 1.12 goals-against average in four games, recording 15 saves. Freshman Callum Irving has seven saves and one clean sheet in three games, sporting a 2.00 goals-against average.
UK will return to the UK Soccer Complex on Wednesday for a matchup with East Tennessee State at 7 p.m. ET. The Wildcats will conclude the week with a Saturday night trip to Evansville to face the Purple Aces at 8 p.m. ET.
Behind Jack Van Arsdale's shutout and a free-kick goal by Matt Lodge, UK defeated Louisville 1-0 on Friday night at Cardinal Park. (Aaron Borton, UK Athletics)
LOUISVILLE -- Dropping one-goal decisions to Dayton, Northwestern, St. John's and Charlotte in the first five games of the season would deflate a lot of team's confidence going forward through the season. Going into Louisville to play the No. 18 Cardinals in front of 5,583 fans in attendance could've spelled disaster to start the season.
Instead, the men's soccer Wildcats put the past behind them, went into Cardinal Park and shocked nationally ranked Louisville, 1-0. It was a much-needed win for the Wildcats after opening up the 2012 season with a 1-4 record.
Kentucky's record was deceiving coming into the game though. The Cats had played three ranked foes through their first five games and competed to the last whistle in every one of them. Louisville showed off its talent and firepower, but in the end it was the team with the heart, belief, confidence and desire to win that came out on top - the Kentucky Wildcats.
UK head coach Johan Cedergren was quoted as saying this was a chance for his team to make a statement. Entering a house that was packed with thousands of U of L screaming fans and in-state pride on the line, the Wildcats played toe to toe with one of the top teams in the country.
"I couldn't be any more excited for the guys, this is a huge game for us," Cedergren said. "I think for Louisville, maybe it's just one game because they have been there and done that. For us we are trying to make little steps every game. We were really good in training this week and overall I thought it was a good defensive performance. We have talked about the back four before and it was good to see them come up and save us. The back four and (goalkeeper) Jack Van Arsdale had a fantastic game."
Senior Matt Lodge got the Cats on the board in the 38th minute on a free kick from about 20 yards out. It gave UK a huge boost going into halftime with a lead and it was extra special coming from a senior who has fought his whole career trying to beat the rivals.
Lodge's kick bent right around the wall formed by U of L defenders and snuck right inside the left post. That feeling basketball players get when the ball leaves their hand and they know it's going in; that's exactly what Lodge felt as he attempted the free kick.
"It felt amazing," Lodge said. "Best feeling I've ever had. The stadium was full and give credit to Louisville and UK fans as they turned out in full force. As soon as I kicked it I knew it was going in and I just wanted to go over to my teammates and celebrate."
Van Arsdale stepped up huge for UK and made sure the lead held up. All game, especially in the second half, the Cardinals kept attacking and wouldn't go away. It seemed like every possession they had in the second half they had a shot at equalizing the match.
Van Arsdale thought differently. He recorded six saves on the night and it seemed like 20. Louisville created multiple, crafty set pieces that probably should have found the back of the net numerous times, but Van Arsdale came up with a big-time save every time.
"It's easy when you are engaged the entire game and that's what I was," Van Arsdale said. "Saves right from the beginning, saves at the end, my teammates helped me out a lot by blocking a lot of shots and winning a lot of headers for me. All around it was a great team effort."
The Wildcats led Northwestern 1-0 going into halftime at the Gamecock Classic before surrendering two goals in the second half to the 25th-ranked Wildcats. At times it looked as though Louisville would eventually tie the game and maybe deja vu would strike.
Kentucky grinded down and stuck together throughout the second half to hold off the Cards. This may have been what the Cats needed to get over the hump and give them that extra boost of confidence heading towards conference play.
It's hard not to think about the previous hiccups in the season and had Cedergren even scoreboard watching at the time.
"For the last 25 minutes, I kept looking back over at the clock and it seemed like it was going so slow," Cedergren said. "It's good and I think it shows what kind of team spirit we have that the guys will not stop fighting. We were 0-3 and 1-4 and its easy for the seniors to say it's not going to happen this year. We were really sharp in training this week and you could just see how much it mattered to them today in the game. They were diving around and doing everything they could to protect the goal. It was a huge effort and huge credit to our team."
Going on the road and defeating a nationally ranked opponent is always a huge boost to a team. Beating your rival puts icing on the cake. The Wildcats can take the momentum from this game and use it towards the rest of the season. The Cats were waiting for a moment like this and this may be the game puts Cedergren's squad on the path to turning the corner for good.
Next up, the Wildcats take on East Tennessee on Wednesday, Sept. 19. UK has to build on this and stay humble. The focus will quickly return to what it has been all season: improving daily.
"Every game and every training we want to become better and we did that tonight," Cedergren said. "But we can't become big-headed because we have a game again in a couple of days. We are training tomorrow and I think tomorrow will be good to maybe knock them down to get them ready again. In general, to be able to play in front of a crowd like this, in front of this quality of a team like Louisville, to be able to come away with a win will serve really big for our confidence moving forward."