Men's Soccer Falls 1-0 to IU in Lightning-Shortened Affair
By Jacob Most
Sept. 5, 2014 -
The Wildcats had little a little more than 10 minutes to find an equalizer before lightning strikes, which lasted for another two hours, forced the match to be abandoned. Because the match had passed the 70-minute threshold it was ruled a final.
Swartz’ goal came as Tanner Thompson broke free down the left flank and cut a ball back to the top of the box. The IU freshman drove a low shot against the right inside post past a diving UK goalkeeper Callum Irving. The ball deflected into the opposite corner, giving IU the lead on just their second accurate shot of the match.
“I thought it was a very good game,” UK head coach Johan Cedergren said. “Of course Indiana is a very special team. They have a couple of very special players. We had a pretty good idea of what to expect going in. I thought the guys did really well. We had several opportunities to score.
“I have to say that at some point we’re going to have to start putting these (scoring chances) away. It puts a lot of pressure on the back-4 and the goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet every game. But I thought it was a very good game against a very good team and in the end I thought we made some adjustments.”
On 70 minutes IU’s Patrick Doody hit the cross bar and the ball went over for a goal kick, but Irving appeared ready to stop anything fully on frame.
Three minutes later, Ryan Creel broke free down the left flank with Wildcats streaking forward into the box to join him, but his cross went begging -- a bit high and long.
The chance was the last serious one of the match as the game was stopped just five minutes after that.
“We were chasing the final 15 minutes, and I thought it was turning in our direction hoping to get something going and then we get called because of weather,” Cedergren said. “I thought it was tough. The guys are really disappointed, but at the same time they’re hungry. I felt we left something on the table today. Good game, good performance from the guys playing a really good team, but the best part is we’re definitely not satisfied with this. We want to win against teams like Notre Dame and Indiana.”
After a relatively tame first half, both teams traded genuine scoring chances early in the second 45. Irving was forced to make the first save of the evening for either goalkeeper on 49 minutes as IU’s Thompson drove a low shot from just inside the 18-yard box forcing the preseason All-Conference USA selection into a diving stop.
Moments later some clever linkup in the UK midfield led to a solid chance for freshman Stefan Stojkovic, who found himself with the ball at his feet just outside the six-yard box. He was unable to hold off three Hoosier defenders and his shot was blocked.
Just before Stojkovic’s chance, UK center back Jordan Wilson had gone off with a knock, forcing UK to play with a makeshift back-4 where Charlie Reymann – normally a right back – moved to central defense, and Hampus Agerstrom – normally a holding midfielder – moved to right back.
Indiana didn’t score while that back line played for approximately 10 minutes, but the Wildcats seemed unsettled at the loss of a leader in the heart of defense. Indiana began to trouble UK for an extended spell just as Wilson went off, and shortly after he reentered, Swartz broke the deadlock.
As UK continued to chase an equalizer, Cedergren gambled with 20 minutes remaining. He sacrificed a defender for a striker and switched to a 3-2-3-2 formation with Justin Laird and Stojkovic up top.
Just as UK made the tactical change, lightning was detected in the area on 78 minutes.
Kentucky will next face No. 2 Notre Dame on Monday at 6 p.m. ET.
Friday’s match was the first of Notre Dame’s Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament. Notre Dame was scheduled to face Dartmouth on Friday following UK’s match, but inclement weather has pushed that match to Saturday at Noon.
As a result, Sunday’s matches were pushed to Monday, Sept. 8. IU and Dartmouth will play at 1 p.m., before UK and Notre Dame face off.