UK Soccer Draws Lipscomb 1-1 in Midweek Clash

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kaelon Fox scored six seconds after entering a match for the first time since 2014 to help the No. 20/9 Kentucky men’s soccer team battle back from a first-half deficit and earn a 1-1 double-overtime draw with Lipscomb at The Bell Wednesday.

The Wildcats moved to a 2016 record of won 5, lost 2, drawn 2 (1-1-0 Conference USA). Lipscomb is now 5-3-0 (1-1-0 Atlantic Sun).

The goal
Lipscomb opened the scoring slightly against the run of play 22 minutes in as Trystan Innes nodded a cross from the top of the box on to a wide-open Josue Chavez leftward. Chavez hammered the ball left-footed into the right upper-90 from there.The goal was the first Kentucky has conceded from the run of play this season, and fifth overall.

Kentucky’s response was decent in balance of the first half, with the hosts coming close to leveling on a header off a set piece just before halftime.

The Wildcats continued asking questions of the Lipscomb defense, and those inquiries paid dividends on 69 minutes.

Seconds after entering a match for the first time since November 2014 Fox made an immediate impact. Having missed last season due to injury, and then suffering more setbacks this preseason, the junior defender wasted no time in making his presence known.

The debutantes energy was apparent as he rose highest at the six to head a Charlie Reymann corner kick home. 

“I’ve dreamed of that moment,” Fox said. “I’ve put in a lot of work off the field to come back and score a goal. On that corner, it was a great cross from Charlie (Reymann) and he just put it on a platter for me.”

The deciding moments
Kentucky looked the more likely side to find a winner as both teams recalibrated following Fox’s equalizer. 

Lipscomb goalkeeper Christopher Zappia – making his first appearance of the year -- made multiple quality saves to secure an away result for his side. 

He deflected a Napo Matsoso shot onto the post and out in the 85th minute. 

Connor Probert forced Zappia into a full stretch to get a paw on a 20-yard strike five minutes into the first overtime. He then did well to stop a Matsoso shot off a nifty combination with Andrew McKelvey from 10 yards, four minutes before full time.

The quote
“I thought we started slow, but eventually after we conceded the goal we started playing with a sense of urgency,” senior midfielder Paul Sime said. “Second half we pushed a lot, and Kaelon scored a fantastic goal that was definitely necessary coming from someone who hadn’t played in a year and a half too. We kept pushing into overtime, and unfortunately we were unable to score.”

The notes
The goal was obviously Fox’s first of the season, and the fourth of his career.

Reymann assisted a goal for the second match in a row, and third time this season.

Kentucky goalkeeper Stuart Ford – the reigning C-USA Defensive Player of the Week – made one save. His goals-against average fell to 0.52 in 886:12 minutes this season.

Wednesday’s match was the first competitive meeting between the two sides. 

Kentucky is now 4-0-2 at home this season. The Wildcats are 2-0-2 in overtime matches. UK has a 2016 non-conference record of 4-1-2.

The setup
Lexington began experiencing the first cooler days of autumn this week, and after the city spent the last few weeks predominantly bathed in sunlight, a cool rain fell in the hours leading to kickoff. 

Yet as the teams took the pitch for warmups about an hour before the match was set to begin the sun peaked through the clouds, a rainbow appeared and the skies cleared for the twilight kick.

Kentucky entered having moved up to No. 20 in the NSCAA Coaches’ Poll, and checked in at No. 9 in the initial NCAA Rating Percentage Index released earlier in the week. The Wildcats had won two in a row.

Lipscomb made wholesale changes from the side that had played the lion’s share of its eight previous matches – going 5-3-0 during that stretch. 

Kentucky head coach Johan Cedergren made three changes from the side that started a 1-0 win over then-No. 21 New Mexico Sunday. Kevin Barajas regained his starting place after starting the previous two on the bench. Stefan Stojkovic started his sixth game of the year, and first since Sept. 10, and Grant Mook made his first start of 2016, on the right wing.

The next one
Kentucky and Charlotte – the last two Conference USA regular-season champions will renew what has become one of the league’s best rivalries Saturday at 5 p.m. ET.

The match has been designated Kentucky’s annual BlewOut. Blue gets in ... for free, meaning all Kentucky fans wearing blue to the match will be granted free admission. 

UK soccer vuvuzelas will be distributed before the match.

The first 250 fans at The Bell will receive a match poster.

Gates will open at 4 p.m. 

Tickets for those not wearing blue are $5 for the general public  and $2 for youth and seniors. Fans can purchase tickets online via Ticketmaster or by calling (800) 928-2287, or at the ticket window at The Bell.

Kentucky’s 600-plus season ticket holders can wear their 2016 Kentucky Soccer scarves to gain admission.

Parking for the match is first come first served located outside the stadium’s main entrance. Overflow parking will be available above the soccer practice pitch.

UK players will sign autographs on the side of the pitch following the match weather-permitting.