No. 5 SMU Claims C-USA Title with Win over Men's Soccer
DALLAS -- The Kentucky men’s soccer team allowed goals in the fifth and 10th minutes to No. 5 SMU, with the Mustangs holding off the Wildcats for a 2-0 win to secure the Conference USA regular-season championship, on Saturday night at Westcott Field.
Kentucky (6-7-4, 3-2-2 C-USA) entered the game within striking distance of the league regular-season title, needing to beat SMU and top South Carolina in its regular-season finale to have a chance at the crown. With the win, SMU has won the regular-season championship. With 11 points in the league, UK sits in third place, with Tulsa, South Carolina and Marshall tied for fourth place with 10 points each.
The Wildcats will host South Carolina in the regular-season finale on Nov. 7, with the winner clinching a berth in the C-USA Tournament. The league takes the top six teams in the standings to the conference tournament. On Saturday night, Tulsa picked up three points with a win over FIU.
SMU (14-1-0, 6-1-0 C-USA) rode goals in the fifth and 10th minutes to the win. Josue Soto connected on a free-kick goal from 30 yards out to put SMU up by a goal in the fifth minute. In the 10th frame, Juan Castillo and Soto played a nice ball down the near sideline, finding Zach Barnes in front of the goal, with Barnes knocking it in for his fifth goal of the season. The Mustangs entered the game owning the No. 2 RPI in the nation.
UK finished with nine shots in the game, with SMU totaling 12. UK forced SMU senior goalkeeper Craig Hill to make five excellent saves in the game. The Wildcats played the majority of the game with 10 men, after UK sophomore forward Jacob Kemper was saddled with a red card in the 42nd minute.
Kemper and sophomore Jordan Rose led UK with two shots each, with one each coming on target. Dylan Asher, Charles Pettys, Drew Midkiff, Matt Lodge and Tyler Riggs each finished with one shot, with Pettys narrowly missing putting UK on the board late in the second half.
The loss snaps UK’s three-game winning streak in the series, with the win for SMU the first since the 2006 season.
Kentucky wraps up the regular season on Nov. 7, hosting South Carolina, ranked No. 17 last week, on senior day.
Updated C-USA Standings
Team - Record - Points - Next Up
1. SMU - 6-1-0 - 18 - at FIU (11/5)
2. UCF - 4-1-2 - 14 - at Tulsa (11/5)
3. UK - 3-2-2 - 11 - vs. South Carolina (11/7)
4. Tulsa - 3-3-1 - 10 - vs. UCF (11/5)
South Carolina - 3-2-1 - 10 - vs. Memphis (10/31); at UK (11/7)
Marshall - 3-3-1 - 10 - at UAB (11/3)
7. UAB - 3-3-0 - 9 - vs. Marshall (11/3); at Memphis (11/5)
8. FIU - 1-6-0 - 3 - vs. SMU (11/5)
9. Memphis - 0-5-1 - 1 - vs. UAB (11/5)