Lodge, Walker Power No. 21 Soccer to Dominating Win
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The 21st-ranked Kentucky men's soccer team got an early goal from senior Brad Walker and a beastly offensive performance from junior Matt Lodge, posting a dominating 2-1 win over Wright State in the 10th annual UK Invitational, in front of 1,597 fans on a steamy Friday night at the UK Soccer Complex.
Kentucky (3-0-0) pounded out a staggering 24 shots in the game, led by eight efforts from Lodge. A native of Rossington, England, Lodge netted his first goal of the year as the game winner in the second half and assisted on Walker's goal in the first half. UK's 24 shots finishes just shy of breaking into the UK school records for most shots in a single game. UK's last game with 24 or more shots came in a matchup with Central Florida in 2008.
Lodge's dynamic performance on the pitch stood out for the Wildcats, along with a stellar outing from goalkeeper Tyler Beadle. A sophomore, Beadle didn't require too much effort in the game as the UK defense limited WSU to only four total shots in the game and one in the first half. Beadle's lone goal allowed came in the 90th minute on a penalty-kick called on a foul in the box with seconds remaining in the game.
Charles Pettys added his team-leading third assist of the game, with Steven Perinovic notching his first career assist on the Walker goal, hooking up with Lodge. In his three-year career under the tutelage of UK head coach Ian Collins, Lodge - who became UK's first freshman All-America in 2009 - has totaled 11 goals and six assists in 39 games.
It didn't take long for the Kentucky attack to get on the board. Just 2:16 into the game, Lodge whipped a corner kick into the center of the box where Perinovic got a head on the ball but the Wright State defense was there to block it. With the ball loose in the box, 6-foot-4 senior defender Brad Walker half-volleyed his shot into the upper right corner of the net to give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead. The goal was the eighth fastest score in Kentucky men's soccer history.
Kentucky scored the game winner in the 81st minute with a header from Lodge off a Pettys corner kick. Pettys curled the ball outwards from the mouth of the goal toward the top of the box. Lodge struck the ball well with his head, sending the ball into the goal with some power and capitalizing on a game in which he created numerous chances for the Kentucky attack. Lodge finished the evening with eight shots, and leads the team on the season with 16 shots in just three games. Lodge has led the Wildcats in shots for each of the past two seasons.
Wright State (2-1-0) provided a scare to Kentucky in the 89th minute when Bayahtah Roberts capitalized on a penalty kick to cut the Kentucky lead in half.
Kentucky controlled possession and many of the scoring opportunities in the first half, charting 10 shots to Wright State's one. The Wildcats have now outshot their opponents 25 to eight in the first half of matches. The second half was much the same, with the Wildcats finishing the game with eight corners and 14 shots in the second frame.
The UK defense continued its impressive start to the season, allowing just four shots the entire game. In three games, the Wildcats have allowed two goals, both penalty kicks, one to No. 9 Michigan in the first half of their Aug. 28 match, and one in the 90th minute against Wright State.
UK will return to action Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET hosting IUPUI at the UK Soccer Complex. Sunday's game will be Kentucky's second in the Kentucky Invitational.