Kentucky Edges Marshall, 1-0, in OT
Oct. 26, 2003
HUNTINGTON, W.V. - Junior Jamal Shteiwi scored the biggest goal of his career at Kentucky (11-4-1, 5-0-0 MAC) in a scoreless overtime match against Marshall (6-11-0, 2-4-0 MAC). With just 30 seconds remaining in overtime, sophomore goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum kicked a goal kick just past midfield that was headed towards the Kentucky goal by Freshman Riley O'Neill. Shteiwi received the pass from O'Neill and struck a hard shot into the back left-hand corner of the net to give the Wildcats a 1-0 victory and secure the Mid-American Conference regular season title.
"It wasn't the best game we've ever played, but it doesn't matter," head coach Ian Collins said. "Our boys found a way to win and we can enjoy the MAC Championship. I give credit to Marshall, they are a tough team and they're very well coached. We've locked up the #1 seed in the tournament, which was one of our goals, and we can enjoy this for a couple days before we get ready for Northern Illinois."
"Clinching the MAC Championship is a pretty big goal to score," Shteiwi said. "We didn't start so well, but we kept working hard and stuck together for the win. This win is a big burden off our shoulders. We are now the MAC Champions and no one can take that away from us."
Gruenebaum extended his streak of shutouts to four games and the sophomore has eight on the season. He still has not given up a goal in MAC play through five games. Gruenebaum was excited to get in the scoring column with his assist on Shteiwi's goal, but was more excited about picking up the win.
"I wanted to give the team another chance to score because I knew time was running out," Gruenebaum said. "Jamal made an amazing shot and this was a great win for our program. There are some good teams in the MAC so to not give up a goal is great. It's not just me though, the team is working so hard everywhere so I've been fortunate to have the guys in front of me."
Kentucky and Marshall played an evenly matched first half. Playing in cold and rainy conditions for the majority of the half, the Wildcats and Thundering Herd had trouble establishing a flow to the game. The score was tied 0-0 after the first 45 minutes and Kentucky held a slight 5-4 shot advantage.
UK came out energized after a fiery halftime speech by Collins. Freshman Riley O'Neill, the Cats leading goal scorer, received a pass from Daniel Ferriter at the top of the box and fired a shot at the far right post that barely missed wide right.
The Wildcats had three near scoring opportunities at the end of regulation, but were unable to find the net. Both teams ended regulation with the shot count even 10-10.
"I'm really proud of our team," Collin said. "I think everyone is spent emotionally. This was a very tough game and we wanted to get business taken care of today so we wouldn't have to think about it another week."
Kentucky won its second MAC title in three years. Kentucky heads to Northern Illinois on Friday, Oct. 31 for its final conference match of the season.