First-Half Goals Propel Evansville to 2-1 Win

Oct. 8, 2013

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LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Despite the first goal of the year from senior forward Tyler Riggs, Evansville used a pair of first-half goals to post a 2-1 win over Kentucky, on a pleasant Tuesday night at the UK Soccer Complex.

Kentucky (3-6) fell behind in the first half after the Purple Aces netted a goal in the ninth minute and added a long-strike goal in the 22nd frame. After a first half that saw both teams fire eight shots, the Wildcats mounted a furious rally in the second half, sparked by Riggs' goal just 60 seconds into the frame.

UK owned an 18-3 advantage in shots in the second half, forcing four Evansville saves. UK finished with a 26-11 advantage in shots and an 8-4 mark in corner kicks. The Wildcats got a tremendous game in the air from senior preseason All-America center back Steven Perinovic, who won a season-high 16-of-18 contested-header attempts.

In the 47th minute, the Wildcats netted a goal to pull within striking distance. Justin Laird found the ball in the middle of the 18-yard box, getting it to Riggs, who hammered it in the net at the far post. It marked Riggs' first goal of the year and the 24th of his career, moving into a tie with Matt Lodge (2009-12) for fourth in UK career history. A native of Louisville, Ky., Riggs now has 58 points in his career to rank seventh in UK annals. The assist gives Laird two on the 2013 season.

UK will return to action on Sunday with a Conference USA clash against South Carolina at 1 p.m. ET at the UK Soccer Complex.

Evansville (7-3-1) got on the board in the ninth minute, taking advantage from a throw in on the near sideline by the corner flag. The ball was floated into the six-yard box, with Kevin Schafer firing a shot that forced a team save. Landon Souder found the rebound and fired a shot that found the back of the net for his first goal of the year.

The Puple Aces took a 2-0 lead in the 22nd minute, as Nate Opperman found the ball from about 30 yards at the center of the field, firing a hard-hit shot that sailed into the upper right past a diving Irving.

GAME NOTES: Sophomore Isak Krogstad made his first start of the year at defender, marking his second consecutive year making his outside-back debut against Evansville ... Junior Justin Laird made his second consecutive start ... Sophomore Jacob Scearce was UK's first sub of the game ... At halftime, UK and Evansville had fired eight shots each, with UK owning a 3-1 advantage in corners ... Tyler Riggs netted his first goal of the year and the 24th of his career to move into a tie with Matt Lodge (2009-12) for fourth in UK career history ... Laird notched his second assist of the year ... Senior Steven Perinovic won a season-high 16-of-18 contested header attempts ... Evansville snapped UK's three-game winning streak in the series, taking a 4-3 advantage all-time and a 2-1 mark in games played in Lexington.