Dyan Asher netted his first career goal on Wednesday evening, resulting in the game-winner against Marshall
HURRICANE, W.V. -- Another road game and another victory for the University of Kentucky men's soccer team. The Wildcats traveled to Hurricane, W.V., on Wednesday evening, defeating Conference USA foe Marshall, 1-0, improving their record to 7-6-1 overall and 2-1-1 in conference action.
As UK was boarding the bus Wednesday afternoon, something was different about the squad. The Cats were traveling without leading goal scorer Tyler Riggs, who stayed back in Lexington due to a hamstring injury.
To fill the void, junior Dylan Asher started up front for the first time this season alongside Matt Lodge to complete the Wildcats' 4-4-2 formation. Asher, an all-conference defender his freshman and sophomore seasons, had been called upon to take the field at a position he was not all too familiar with. At first, the junior felt a little strange playing up front but as the game got going he just got into the rhythm of the match.
"It was definitely different, but once the pace of the game got into it I picked it up pretty quickly," Asher said. "Playing with Lodge up there with me was a big plus. It's pretty easy when you've got a senior captain up there right beside you."
Not only was this Asher's first game this season playing the forward position, but he had played in 44 career contests without scoring a goal.
In the 55th minute of the contest, Lodge received a ball from the midfield, who played it into Asher, before the Richardson, Texas native made a great touch around the Marshall defender to net the lone goal of the night.
Although Asher has been mostly a defensive mind throughout his career at UK, he does admit he has been training on the offensive side and it was a matter of time before he would find the back of the net.
"It feels great, it's been a long time coming," Asher said. "I've been working hard in training and it's good for it to finally pay off."
With the win, the Cats have improved their road record to 5-2 on the year. Their presence on the road has taken a drastic turn from a year ago where UK was 0-7-1 away from their home pitch. UK is now 6-2-1 in their last nine contests and look to be well on their way to the conference tournament after beginning the season 1-4.
The Wildcats have gone through an injury-plagued stretch recently but have demonstrated the common phrase of "next man up." Kentucky has shown off its depth over the last few weeks as various players have gone down with injuries. Head coach Johan Cedergren is ecstatic the way his team has stepped up to the challenge, especially Asher.
"Of course we miss Tyler, he is always around when there is a scoring chance but you have to give Dylan a lot of credit," Cedergren said. "The good thing about our squad is we have enough depth to take care of one or two or three injuries. Yes, our leading goal scorer is out but if Riggs is out this weekend I feel confident with Dylan up top."
Road wins never come easy and picking them up in conference is an even taller task. The Wildcats have gotten through a difficult stretch of games where they traveled to SMU, UAB and tonight at Marshall, earning two victories in the process.
UK has four games remaining on its schedule, three of which the Cats will host back in Lexington.
"We are very happy, it's two road games in a row now in conference we have gotten wins," Cedergren said. "That's not easy in a tough conference like the Conference USA, so I feel like we are going in the right direction and this result says that."
Every Tuesday, UK Athletics recognizes outstanding performances for our student-athletes. These are the honorees for the week ending Sunday, Oct. 14:
Women's soccer: Arin Gilliland
Sophomore Arin Gilliland scored the game-winning goal Sunday in a 1-0 win on the road at Georgia while also collecting the assist on the game-winning goal to Kelli Hubly in a 1-0 win at Tennessee as UK completed the weekend sweep. The Lexinton, Ky., native now leads Kentucky with 15 points on the season, striking for five goals and five assists. The game-winning goal by Gilliand was her second on the season.
Volleyball: Christine Hartmann
Senior Christine Hartmann directed the UK offense to a pair of sweeps of SEC Western Division foes including handing Texas A&M just its second loss of the season in league action. Against the Aggies, Hartmann led the Blue and White to a .351 hitting percentage which is the highest percentage yielded by Texas A&M this season. The Aggies lead the league in opponent hitting percentage allowing .143 for the season and .159 against league foes - and that's following yesterday's match. The previous best hitting clip allowed by A&M was a .229 clip, also to Kentucky. Hartmann dished out 39 assists and led UK to 14 or more kills in all three sets including 18 in the second set and 17 in the set-clinching win. UK hit above .400 for a stanza twice in the match. Furthermore, the 39 assists for a three-set match is a season-best for the senior. Hartmann's defensive prowess guided the Wildcats to a win over visiting Mississippi State. Hartmann had a squad-best eight digs and as well as a team-high three blocks to lead the way against the Bulldogs.
Rifle: Emily Holsopple
Junior Emily Holsopple led Kentucky in air rifle during the first match of the year, posting a 592 Saturday in Lincoln, Neb. To go along with her 592 in air rifle, Holsopple posted a 587 in smallbore to record an aggregate score of 1179. Holsopple's 592 came from steady shooting throughout and was just above her 2011-12 air rifle season average of 591.9.
Women's soccer: Kelli Hubly
Freshman Kelli Hubly added to her team lead, scoring her fifth goal of the season in Knoxville, Tenn., as UK charted a 1-0 win over Tennessee. The tally was the game's only goal, and was struck in the 70th minute. The game-winner was Hubly's second of the season and now stands second on the team with 12 points.
Rifle: Henri Junghänel
Senior Henri Junghänel opened the 2012-13 campaign with a bang, shooting a 590 in smallbore against Nebraska. Junghänel's 590 marks the highest smallbore score for a Wildcat since Ethan Settlemires shot a 590 in the 2011 NCAA Championships and goes down as a personal best. Junghänel led the team with a total aggregate score of 1181, after shooting a 591 in air rifle. Junghänel's performance helped the preseason No. 2 Wildcats knock off No. 4 Nebraska, moving the Wildcats to 1-0 with the conference win.
Women's soccer: Kayla King
Junior Kayla King had her best weekend in the Blue and White, recording back-to-back, 90-minute shutouts on the road at Tennessee and Georgia. The Louisville, Ky., native had a career high 10 saves on Sunday in Athens and kept a clean sheet vs. Tennessee on Friday night as the Wildcats picked up a crucial six points. King fended off 36 shots over the two games and dropped her GAA to 0.81 on the season. The back-to-back shutouts was a career first for King, as she had recorded one prior in her career entering the weekend.
Men's soccer: Matt Lodge
Senior midfielder Matt Lodge connected on his first career penalty kick goal as the game-winning tally in leading UK to a 2-1 comeback win at No. 25 UAB on Saturday ... Lodge finished the penalty after freshman forward Caleb Richardson forced the attempt by drawing a foul on a run in the box ... The win for UK was its first over UAB since the 2008 season and marked UK's first comeback win of the year ... A native of Rossington, England, Lodge has six goals in 2012 and owns 23 in his sparkling four-year career ... He ranks tied for fourth in UK career history in goals and sixth in points (61) ... With his eighth career game-winning goal - and his second in 2012 - Lodge ranks tied fourth in program history ... In the win at UAB, Lodge fired a club-best three shots and now has a school-record 177 in his career.
Men's golf: Chase Parker
Chase Parker recorded his best finish of the year thus far, finishing in a tie for sixth individually at the Jack Nicklaus Invitational, Oct. 8-9. The Augusta, Ga., native fired a 3-over-par, 75 in round one before concluding the 36-hole stroke-play tournament with a 2-over-par, 74 in the second round. Parker was 5-over for the event and helped lead the Wildcats to a fourth place finish against a competitive 11-team field.
Volleyball: Sara Schwarzwalder
Freshman Sara Schwarzwalder returned to the lineup this week and provided a spark for the Wildcats en route to a 2-0 weekend. Schwarzwalder was magnificent in helping lead UK past Texas A&M for the second time this season. The freshman logged seven kills on a .667 hitting percentage. Both the kill total as well as the hitting percentage are career-bests for the Ohio native within SEC play. She also pitched in with a career-high two digs in the victory. Her three blocks against Mississippi State ranked as a team-best in leading UK to a win over the Bulldogs in Rupp Arena.
Men's soccer: Jack Van Arsdale
Junior goalkeeper Jack Van Arsdale saved five shots in a stellar performance to lead UK to a win at No. 25 UAB on Saturday night ... Van Arsdale charted five saves, including several leaping, diving and fully extended efforts to thwart scoring chances for the physical Blazers ... On the year Van Arsdale has a 1.39 goals-against average in 11 games and 970 minutes, saving 32 shots with two shutouts ... The native of Richmond, Va., has now shined in UK's two wins over top-25 foes on the road in 2012, also posting a six-save performance in a 1-0 win at No. 18 Louisville on Sept. 14 ... Van Arsdale has now started eight consecutive games in goal for UK, sporting a 1.34 goals-against average in those games, with UK owning a 5-2-1 record.
Football - The Kentucky football team fell over the weekend to Arkansas 49-7 in Fayetteville. The game was suspended because of lightning twice. The second delay was with 5:08 remaining in the third quarter and Arkansas leading 49-7. The game would not resume. - In the third quarter, freshman quarterback Jalen Whitlow threw his first collegiate touchdown pass, a 61-yard play to La'Rod King. King now has 1,569 receiving yards in his career, moving past Anthony White for seventh place on the UK career receiving yardage list. He also has 17 receiving TDs in his career, tying Steve Meilinger for fifth place on the UK career list. - Kentucky is fielding one of the nation's youngest teams, playing 14 true freshmen and 26 total (true and redshirt) frosh, one of the nation's top-five teams in each category. True freshman cornerback Cody Quinn led UK in tackles with a career-best seven.
Volleyball - The Kentucky volleyball team enjoyed a 2-0 week against SEC Western Division foes racking up a pair of sweeps over Mississippi State and Texas A&M. UK captured the win over the Bulldogs in Rupp Arena in front of a Craig Skinner era record crowd of 5,162 fans. - Kentucky then turned around and earned an impressive sweep of the Western Division leading Texas A&M Aggies. Senior setter Christine Hartmann directed the offense to the tune of 49 kills on a blazing .351 hitting percentage. The .351 clip is the highest hitting percentage surrendered by the Aggies this season who currently lead the league in opponent hitting percentage. - Freshman Sara Schwarzwalder led the offensive effort against the Aggies with seven kills on .667 hitting, which both rank as career-highs within conference action.
Women's soccer - Junior Kayla King recorded back-to-back shutouts for the first time in her career, dropping her season GAA to a miniscule .833. The Louisville, Ky., native had a career high 10 saves on Sunday in Athens and kept a clean sheet vs. Tennessee on Friday night as the Wildcats picked up a crucial six points. King fended off 36 shots over the two games - Arin Gilliland scored the game-winning goal vs. Georgia, scoring her fifth goal of the season, adding to her team lead of 15 points on the season. In addition, the Lexington, Ky., native tallied the assist in the game-winning goal to Kelli Hubly in the win over Tennessee.
Men's soccer - The Kentucky men's soccer team continued its rugged schedule to open the 2012 season, traveling to face No. 25 UAB on Saturday and posting a 2-1 comeback win with a pair of second-half tallies. - Kentucky faced off with its seventh ranked opponent of the 2012 season in facing UAB, with the Wildcats falling behind 1-0 early and rallying with goals from senior midfielders Charley Pettys and Matt Lodge for the comeback win. Lodge's goal marked the 23rd of his career, ranking fourth-best in UK history. - The Wildcats have been paced by a dynamic offensive unit in 2012 that has netted 23 goals in the first 13 games, averaging 1.77 goals per game and 12.2 shots a contest. Defensively, UK has a 1.51 goals-against average and owns an 85-69 advantage in corners.
Rifle - The Kentucky rifle team started off its season with a 4666 - 4643 victory over No. 4 Nebraska. - Senior Henri Junghanel led Kentucky in smallbore, posting a 591. Junghanel also shot a 591 in air rifle. - Junior Emily Holsopple shot a team-best 591 in air rifle after shooting a 587 in smallbore. Women's golf - Kentucky finished tied for 12th in the Tar Heel Invitational that was filled with 13 top-50 teams. - Junior Liz Breed was the high finisher for the Wildcats, finishing tied for 32nd at 9-over-par. Men's golf - The UK men's golf team placed fourth at the Jack Nicklaus Invitational this week, finishing just four strokes off from first. - The Wildcats also competed in the Bearcat Invitational this week as head coach Brian Craig sent Harrison Greenberry, Joseph Barr, Seth Blann and Matthew Anderson to compete in the event as individuals.
Cross country - The Kentucky women's cross country team produced a 12th-place performance at NCAA Pre-Nationals on Saturday in Louisville. - Macumber raced across the challenging E.P. "Tom" Sawyer Park 6,000 meter course in 20:09.00 to notch her fourth top-10 finish in as many meets this season. - Oswald earned a time of 20:32.70 to finish in 23rd ensuring UK was the only unranked team at the nationally competitive meet with multiple top-25 performers. - The Wildcat men finished in 25th-place overall.
Upcoming schedule Monday, Oct. 15 Men's golf at Querencia Cabo Collegiate (San Jose del Cabo, Mexico)
Tuesday, Oct. 16 Men's golf at Querencia Cabo Collegiate (San Jose del Cabo, Mexico)
Wednesday, Oct. 17 Men's soccer at Marshall - 7:00 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18 Women's tennis at ITA Regionals (Lafayette, Ind.) Men's tennis at USTA/ITA Regional Indoor (Memphis, Tenn.) Friday, Oct. 19 Women's soccer hosts South Carolina - 6:30 p.m. Volleyball hosts Arkansas - 7:00 p.m. Women's tennis at ITA Regionals (Lafayette, Ind.) Men's tennis at USTA/ITA Regional Indoor (Memphis, Tenn.) Rifle at Murray State Swimming and diving hosts Tennessee and Indiana - 2:00 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 20 Women's tennis at ITA Regionals (Lafayette, Ind.) Men's tennis at USTA/ITA Regional Indoor (Memphis, Tenn.) Football hosts Georgia - 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 21 Volleyball hosts LSU- 1:30 p.m. Rifle hosts Army Women's tennis at ITA Regionals (Lafayette, Ind.) Men's tennis at USTA/ITA Regional Indoor (Memphis, Tenn.) Women's soccer hosts Auburn - 2:30 p.m. Men's soccer hosts Florida International - 5:00 p.m.
TEAM NOTES The Kentucky men's soccer team continued its rugged schedule to open the 2012 season, traveling to face No. 25 UAB on Saturday and posting a 2-1 comeback win with a pair of second-half tallies. UK will return to action on Wednesday, traveling to face Marshall at 7 p.m. ET in a conference tilt.
Kentucky (6-6-1, 1-1-1 Conference USA) faced off with its seventh ranked opponent of the 2012 season in facing UAB, with the Wildcats falling behind 1-0 early and rallying with goals from senior midfielders Charley Pettys and Matt Lodge for the comeback win. Lodge's goal marked the 23rd of his career, ranking fourth-best in UK history.
UK is now in the midst of a strong 5-2-1 stretch over its last eight games, owning a pair of wins over top-25 foes, with UK's only losses coming vs. No. 11 Indiana and at No. 25 SMU. UK has faced seven ranked opponents in its first 13 games, 54-percent of its schedule, including a current stretch of three consecutive games.
The Wildcats have been paced by a dynamic offensive unit in 2012 that has netted 23 goals in the first 13 games, averaging 1.77 goals per game and 12.2 shots a contest. Defensively, UK has a 1.51 goals-against average and owns an 85-69 advantage in corners.
UK has been led offensively by junior Tyler Riggs, who has seven goals and four assists, with Pettys adding five goals and three assists. Lodge has six goals, with senior Gabriel Conelian adding three goals and senior defender Jacob Kemper leading the team with five assists. In goal, junior Jack Van Arsdale has a 1.39 goals-against average with 32 saves in 11 games, while freshman Callum Irving, a native of Vancouver, British Columbia, has started three games with a 2.00 goals-against average, saving seven shots.
Kentucky will travel to Huntington, W.Va., on Wednesday for the circuit matchup with the Thundering Herd, with kickoff slated for 7 p.m. ET. OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK NOMINEE Sr., MF, Matt Lodge (Rossington, England) NOTES: Senior midfielder Matt Lodge connected on his first career penalty kick goal as the game-winning tally in leading UK to a 2-1 comeback win at No. 25 UAB on Saturday ... Lodge finished the penalty after freshman forward Caleb Richardson forced the attempt by drawing a foul on a run in the box ... The win for UK was its first over UAB since the 2008 season and marked UK's first comeback win of the year ... A native of Rossington, England, Lodge has six goals in 2012 and owns 23 in his sparkling four-year career ... He ranks tied for fourth in UK career history in goals and sixth in points (61) ... With his eighth career game-winning goal - and his second in 2012 - Lodge ranks tied fourth in program history ... In the win at UAB, Lodge fired a club-best three shots and now has a school-record 177 in his career. DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK NOMINEE R-Jr., GK, Jack Van Arsdale (Richmond, Va.) NOTES: Junior goalkeeper Jack Van Arsdale saved five shots in a stellar performance to lead UK to a win at No. 25 UAB on Saturday night ... Van Arsdale charted five saves, including several leaping, diving and fully extended efforts to thwart scoring chances for the physical Blazers ... On the year Van Arsdale has a 1.39 goals-against average in 11 games and 970 minutes, saving 32 shots with two shutouts ... The native of Richmond, Va., has now shined in UK's two wins over top-25 foes on the road in 2012, also posting a six-save performance in a 1-0 win at No. 18 Louisville on Sept. 14 ... Van Arsdale has now started eight consecutive games in goal for UK, sporting a 1.34 goals-against average in those games, with UK owning a 5-2-1 record.
Football - The game with Mississippi State marked UK's third-consecutive game against an undefeated, top-20 opponent. Previous times in school history UK has played three straight ranked opponents include 1958, 1968, 1970, 1976, 1988, 2007, 2009 and 2011. - The UK defense limited Mississippi State to seven points in the second half. That ties the lowest scoring output by an opponent vs. UK this season. Kent State also had just seven points in the second half. - Freshmen quarterbacks Jalen Whitlow and Patrick Towles led the UK offense. Whitlow scored UK's second touchdown of the game on a three-yard rush, while Towles marched UK down the field for its first score when he connected with La'Rod King for a 32-yard touchdown. Demarco Robinson led UK in receiving with six catches for 43 yards.
Volleyball - Sophomore Lauren O'Conner tallied 11 kills on a career-high .556 percentage to lead the way in a win over Ole Miss. Freshman Kayla Tronick made her first career start and totaled 10 kills for a staggering .833 clip as she led a middle blocking unit that was flawless on the night. - Against the Gators, the Wildcats earned a 2-0 lead into the locker room, before succumbing to a gut-wrenching comeback by the Gators. UK limited the high octane offensive attack of Florida to just .197 for the match. O'Conner again led the way for UK with a career-high 18 kills on a sizzling .421 percentage. - Senior Stephanie Klefot had a match-high 22 digs to lead the back line defense. With 37 digs on the weekendshe has totaled 1,708 for her career and moves into seventh place all-time in the SEC career record books. Women's soccer - Arin Gilliland scored her fourth goal of the season against Missouri, which now sits in second on the team for most goals scored. The assist on the Wildcat's lone weekend goal went to senior captain Alyssa Telang, who tallied her second point on the season. - The overtime game Friday night was UK's fourth straight, which now stands as a new program record. - The loss Friday was UK's first to a top-25 team all season long, as the Wildcats were 2-0-1 previously against ranked teams. Men's soccer - Kentucky played its fifth and sixth ranked opponents of the year during the week, as the high-powered Hoosiers came to Lexington on Wednesday and secured a 4-1 win at the UK Soccer Complex. The loss to the tradition-laden Hoosiers snapped a five-match unbeaten streak for the Wildcats, the longest streak for UK since the 2009 season. - UK then ventured to Dallas to face league-leader SMU on a bitterly cold night at Westcott Field, with the Mustangs riding a penalty kick in the 65th minute and a late open-goal tally to a 2-0 win to stretch their unbeaten streak to nine games and improve to 4-0 in conference play.
Women's tennis - Sophomore Stephanie Fox led Kentucky at the Roberta Alison Fall Classic, winning the Green Draw after defeating Linn Timmermann of Georgia State 6-2, 6-2 in the championship match. - Nadia Ravita and Edmee Morin-Kougoucheff both finished second in their respective draws with Revita falling in three sets. Morin-Kougoucheff fell in the championship of the Pink Draw to Nayara Moraes of Middle Tennessee. - The tandem of Kirsten Lewis and Ravita fell short of winning the Teal Draw. The duo lost in the championship match 8-5 following an 8-2 win in the first round and an 8-6 semifinal win over Northwestern. Men's tennis - Tom Jomby defeated No. 14 Ben McLachlan of California 7-6, 6-3 to earn the upset. In the second round, the Nates, France, native earned a straight-set 6-2, 7-6 victory over Nathan Pascha of Ole Miss. His run came to an end Saturday to No. 7 Raymond Sarmiento of USC (California) in three sets. - Anthony Rossi came in as the No. 10 overall seed, but fell in the opening round in a three-set match.
Cross country - Luis Orta and Cally Macumber were named SEC cross Country Athletes of the Week after stellar performances at the Greater Louisville Classic. - Macumber finished second individually with a 5,000 meter time of 16:55.14, a mark, which currently stands as the best 5K time in the SEC so far this season. She now finished inside the top two in all three meets the Wildcats have competed in this campaign. - The senior came in ahead of Washington's Katie Flood, the defending Pac-12 cross country champion and a top-10 finisher at the 2011 NCAA Championships. - Orta earned the award for his 12th-place time of 24:06.96 over 8K. - He earned the same award three times last season. It was the third-consecutive top-20 performance for Orta this year and his ninth-consecutive top-25 finish.
Monday, Oct. 8 Men's golf at Jack Nicklaus Invitational (Dublin, Ohio)
Tuesday, Oct. 9 Men's golf at Jack Nicklaus Invitational (Dublin, Ohio)
Friday, Oct. 12 Women's soccer at Tennessee - 7:00 p.m. Volleyball hosts Mississippi State - 5:00 p.m. Women's golf at Tar Heel Invitational (Chapel Hill, N.C.)
Saturday, Oct. 13 Football at Arkansas - 7:00 p.m. Men's soccer at UAB - 8:00 p.m. Women's golf at Tar Heel Invitational (Chapel Hill, N.C.) Cross Country at Pre-Nationals (Louisville, Ky.) Rifle at Nebraska
Sunday, Oct. 14 Women's soccer at Georgia - 2:00 p.m. Volleyball hosts Texas A&M - 1:30 p.m. Men's golf at Querencia Cabo Collegiate (San Jose del Cabo, Mexico) Women's golf at Tar Heel Invitational (Chapel Hill, N.C.)
Overall Record: 5-6-1, 0-1-1 C-USA Record Last Week: 0-2-0, 0-1-0 C-USA Recent Results Wednesday, Oct. 3 - lost vs. No. 11 Indiana, 1-4 Saturday, Oct. 6 - lost at No. 25 SMU, 0-2
Upcoming Schedule (times eastern) Saturday, Oct. 13 - at UAB - 8 p.m. TEAM NOTES The Kentucky men's soccer played a pair of games against ranked foes during the week, suffering a loss at home on Wednesday to No. 11 Indiana and then falling on the road at No. 25 SMU on Saturday night. UK will return to action with a conference matchup at UAB on Saturday night at 8 p.m. ET in Birmingham, Ala.
Kentucky (5-6-1, 0-1-1 C-USA) played its fifth and sixth ranked opponents of the year during the week, as the high-powered Hoosiers came to Lexington on Wednesday and secured a 4-1 win at the UK Soccer Complex. The loss to the tradition-laden Hoosiers snapped a five-match unbeaten streak for the Wildcats, the longest streak for UK since the 2009 season.
UK then ventured to Dallas to face league-leader SMU on a bitterly cold night at Westcott Field, with the Mustangs riding a penalty kick in the 65th minute and a late open-goal tally to a 2-0 win to stretch their unbeaten streak to nine games and improve to 4-0 in conference play.
The Wildcats did get a goal in the game vs. IU, coming from leading scorer Tyler Riggs, a native of Louisville, Ky. Riggs' goal was his seventh of the year, with the junior adding four assists. Senior Charley Pettys ranks behind Riggs in scoring, with four goals and three assists, while senior Matt Lodge - the UK career record holder for shots taken - has tallied five goals. Senior Gabriel Conelian has three goals while senior Jacob Kemper owns four assists. Bryan Celis and Steven Perinovic have also tallied goals, with Kristoffer Tollefsen adding two assists.
In goal for UK, junior Jack Van Arsdale has started nine games and played in 880 minutes, posting a 1.43 goals-against average with 27 saves. Freshman Callum Irving has started three contests and has a 2.00 goals-against average with seven saves.
Overall, UK has 21 goals in 12 games in 2012, averaging 12.6 shots per game and owning a 76-60 advantage in corner kicks. Defensively, UK is averaging 1.71 goals allowed per game, with three coming on penalty kicks.
Riggs netted his team-leading seventh goal in Wednesday's contest against the Hoosiers. (Michael Reaves, UK Athletics)
Sometimes you need to fail to realize where you need to improve and build on for the future. The University of Kentucky men's soccer suffered a 4-1 setback against the nationally ranked Indiana Hoosiers on Wednesday at the UK Soccer Complex.
The loss snapped UK's five-game unbeaten streak and evened its record at 5-5-1 on the year. The Wildcats now turn their focus toward the rest of the season where they hit the road for three consecutive Conference USA matchups.
The Hoosiers showed why they are a top-15 team on Wednesday but the Wildcats know they can't dwell on the loss and are aware they have bigger goals to worry about than a non-conference loss. The Cats will take what they learned from Wednesday's contest as they continue with the rest of their schedule in effort to make the postseason conference tournament.
"The result is disappointing but honestly anything we could have done in this game would help us," junior forward Tyler Riggs said. "It doesn't hurt us by losing because it was a game we weren't supposed to win, but all that matters is conference so we have seven games to turn it around."
When Kentucky is on their game, head coach Johan Cedergren believes his squad can play with anyone in the country. The Cats have shown their fight against nationally ranked foes St. John's, Northwestern and Charlotte, while also topping No. 18 Louisville.
However, the Hoosiers presented another challenge for UK. Indiana showed why they are a powerhouse and gave the Wildcats a sense of where they are as a team and what they need to improve on.
"I think it's great to be able to have a team like Indiana come in, play under the lights on this field," Cedergren said. "We played okay but I think Indiana was kind enough to show what it takes to be a top-10 team in the country."
IU attempted just five shots on goal on Wednesday, with four finding the back of the net. The Hoosiers set themselves up with great opportunities and made life very difficult on UK junior goal keeper Jack Van Arsdale.
Moving forward, Kentucky can't afford to make the same mistakes against C-USA teams like SMU, UAB and Tulsa. Cedergren knows his back four must be sharper and will work with them in training this week.
Offensively, Indiana looked very solid and used precise touch passing to set attackers up in great positions for goal opportunities. The Wildcats can go to the film room and take away what the Hoosiers did offensively and learn from it.
"Some of their ball movement and one-touch play was phenomenal," Cedergren said. "That's what we try to do in practice and tell them you are not going to beat a Division I team dribbling. You've got to play and move, play and move. We are pretty close but we are not quite there yet."
The big thing to take away from Wednesday's outcome is how can the Wildcats bounce back. The Cats have proved it once already that they can overcome adversity after beginning the year 1-4 and reeling off that five-game unbeaten streak.
The Cats' next opponent is SMU on Saturday, Oct. 6 and begins a stretch of three straight road contests that also features UAB (Oct. 13) and Marshall (Oct. 17). The SMU match will be a good test for the Wildcats and will be a chance for UK to respond after the beating they took from the Hoosiers.
Cedergren and the team is very confident it can respond based off early struggles in the season and the ability to succeed as of late.
"I'm very confident with this team," Riggs said. "We have made a lot of strides this year, starting out rough, 1-4 and bouncing back with a five-game unbeaten streak. I'm feeling confident that this group of guys can get it done."