Creel’s 80th-Minute Winner Clinches C-USA Title for No. 12 UK
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Ryan Creel’s 80th-minute goal gave No. 12 Kentucky a 1-0 win over FIU to clinch UK’s first Conference USA Men’s Soccer Regular Season Championship outright on Saturday at The Bell.
Kentucky (12-3-2, 7-0-1 C-USA) won its first Conference USA Championship. The program now has five regular-season conference titles as UK won Mid-American Conference Championships in 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2004. UK won the MAC Tournament Title in 1999, 2000 and 2001.
Callum Irving anchored a defensive masterclass performance on Saturday night holding the nation’s No. 9 scoring offense without a goal with multiple clearances in addition to a diving save in the 38th minute.
Grant Mook won a ball in midfield and played it to Sam Miller who freed up Charlie Reymann down the left side. The junior co-captain whiped a ball into box where Mook flicked on for Creel, who finished for his first goal of the year.
The assists were Mook and Reymann’s second and sixth on the season, respectively.
“Now that we have that title, only giving up one goal and not losing in conference it doesn’t get much better than this,” Reymann said.
While FIU was probably the better side in a mostly uneventful first half – outshooting UK 4-2 in the first 45 – UK came out on the front foot after the break.
Hampus Agerstrӧm hit the post on 48 minutes, and nearly scored in the 65th minute. After scoring the opener at Charlotte last weekend, the sophomore has begun to find form in the No. 10 role he began playing mid-season.
Kentucky ended up outshooting FIU 7-6, as UK’s defense with Reymann, Jordan Wilson, Alex Bumpus and Tanner Hummel behind Kristoffer Tollefsen and Paul Sime doing well against one of the nation’s best attacks.
Kentucky will have the top seed in next week’s C-USA Tournament, playing next Friday at 4:30 p.m. against the winner of Old Dominion and FIU.
Callum Irving kept his second shutout in a row, seventh in league play and ninth this year. Kentucky has 10 shutouts this season as Irving doesn’t get full credit for a game in which he played 79 minutes.
Reymann has assisted three goals in the last two matches.
Kentucky has now won 12 games for the 10th time in program history.
Kentucky finished the C-USA season 7-0-1, becoming the fourth team in league history to go through the league undefeated. Tulsa went 7-0-1 in 2008 and 6-0-2 in 2007. UAB finished 7-0-1 in 1995.
Johan Cedergren has led UK to 10-win seasons two years in a row, and in three of his four years at the helm of the program.
Kentucky entered Saturday with the eighth best goals-against average in the nation, and improved that mark .56 this year.
UK scored 10 goals and allowed one goal in league games this year. The Wildcats have conceded 10 goals in 16 games this season, two in the last seven matches.
UK welcomed 1,1313 fans to The Bell on Saturday, giving UK a 2015 regular-season total of 17,220 fans having passed through the gate to The Bell this year, a school record. UK averaged 1,565 fans at home games this year.
FIU dropped to (9-6-1, 3-4-1 C-USA) this season.
UK improved to 8-3-1 against FIU all-time. UK has won two in a row.