Soccer's Second-Half Rally Falls Short in Loss to UAB
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Despite a furious second-half rally by the Kentucky men's soccer team, sparked by the play of sophomore Brendan Murphy off the bench, three goals proved to be too much to overcome as the Wildcats' fell to visiting UAB 3-2 on a picture perfect Saturday evening at the UK Soccer Complex.
Kentucky (7-7-1, 0-4-0 Conference USA) erupted out of a 350-minute consecutive scoreless streak in the second half, but could not overcome a 3-0 UAB lead. UK got an inspired performance off the bench from Murphy, who led UK with five shots, including his second goal of the year. UK also got the team-leading 10th goal of the year from sophomore Tyler Riggs, who added an assist on Murphy's goal. Josh Mulvany, Steven Perinovic and Steve Cabos each added assists on UK's goals.
After entering the week ranked No. 2 in the NCAA in goals scored, UK snapped out of a scoreless stretch that dated back four games to a loss at No. 10 Central Florida. UK had suffered two overtime losses and a setback on Wednesday against Marshall entering the game with UAB. On the year, UK has 28 goals through 15 games, leading the conference.
The Wildcats were led offensively by Murphy and Riggs, who each fired five shots, with Riggs' three shots on goal leading the club. UK also got three shots from Mulvany and two shots from Charles Pettys.
Junior Matt Lodge fired one shot in the game, bringing his season total to 62 shots through 15 games, ranking as the second-best total in UK single-season history. Riley O'Neill owns the school record with 69 shots in 2006. Riggs' 10 goals in 2011 are the most since O'Neill's school-record 17 goals in 2006, with Riggs' 10 goals checking in as the sixth-most in UK single-season annals and his 26 points ranking as the fourth-most in UK season history.
In goal, Tyler Beadle saved two shots for UK, while UAB veteran netminder Carl Woszczynski saved six shots in the contest.
The Blazers took a 1-0 lead into the halftime break off a header from Mladen Lemez. Babayele Sodade played the ball to Moses Adeniran who dribbled through traffic in the 18-yard box and chipped the ball to an open Lemez on the backpost. Lemez then calmly headed the ball low past a diving Beadle to give UAB the 1-0 lead.
UAB (6-3-2, 1-1-0 C-USA) took a two-goal lead in the 59th minute when Adeniran stole the ball off a UK clear. Adeniran immediately played Sodade who dribbled into the side of the 18-yard box and fired a shot low toward the back post past Beadle.
The game-winning goal came in the 61st minute as Reed Matte picked off a pass in the back, raced toward the goal hammered it low into the back of the net to give the Blazers a 3-0 lead.
The Wildcats fought back valiantly in the second half, applying pressure to the UAB defense throughout the final 30 minutes. Murphy pulled the Cats to within two with a well placed ball from 15 yards out past the keeper. Thanks to stingy pressure by Mulvany in the midfield, Kentucky gained possession of the ball and started the counter. Mulvany played the ball to Riggs who found Murphy streaking down the field. Murphy dribbled the ball into the 18 and placed the ball past UAB goalkeeper Carl Woszczynski inside the far post.
UK scored its second goal in the 83rd minute when Riggs found pay dirt for the 10th time this season. Steve Cabos hit a well-placed corner kick into the center of the goal mouth where Perinovic flicked the ball onward and Riggs blasted it into the goal after it had been deflected by Woszczynski.
Kentucky will take the pitch again Wednesday, hosting Tulsa at 7:00 p.m. ET at the UK Soccer Complex.