Oct. 30, 2013
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- Senior Tyler Riggs got his 25th career goal, senior Brad Doliner netted his club-high fifth goal of the year and sophomore goalkeeper Callum Irving worked his fifth shutout of the year, leading Kentucky to a 2-0 win over Marshall, on a pleasant Wednesday night at the Veterans Memorial Soccer Complex.
Kentucky (5-8-2, 2-3-2 Conference USA) posted its second league win, using the strong performance from Irving in goal, the second goal of the year from Riggs, a native of Louisville, Ky., and the team-high fifth goal of the year from Doliner. The win now gives UK eight points in the league table, with two conference games remaining (vs. FAU and at New Mexico).
"It was a must win for us," UK head coach Johan Cedergren said. "It is interesting when you see the team that played FIU this weekend and the team that just won 2-0, you are questioning if it is the same team or not. The guys trained hard leading up to the game. We made it our win-or-go home (game) and we want to keep playing for the postseason. The guys did really well."
A native of Vancouver, British Columbia, Irving saved four key shots in the first half, including back-to-back efforts early in the game.
"They were really important," Irving said about his four first-half saves. "That was a crucial time for us. It was kind of back and forth, no one could get a feel for the game. I was just happy that I could keep us in it and keep it 0-0 so we could go into the half. When we came out and got that score it really helped us open things up."
The shutout marked the fifth of the year and the sixth of Irving's two-year career, with the keeper saving five total shots.
"Hard fought game," Irving said. "This is a crucial one for us, trying to get into the conference tournament. Everyone on the field battled through it. All the subs that came on impacted the game. It was an intense game."
Riggs got UK on the board in the 48th minute, as Napo Matsoso, from Bryan Celis played a great ball in the air over the Marshall backline to Riggs. The senior found the ball at inside the 18-yard box and after centering it, fired a hard-hit shot into the net at the near post.
"I had been playing out wide so I knew there would be some space in behind the defense," Riggs said about his goal. "So as soon as he got it I just looked to play it in behind them. We made eye contact and he played a great ball to me which was exactly what I wanted."
The goal was the second of the year for Riggs and the 25th of his four-year career. Riggs now passes longtime UK great Matt Lodge for sole possession of fourth place in UK career history. The assist marked the second of the year for Matsoso and Celis.
"In the first half, we did okay," Cedergren said. "We maybe didn't threaten as much behind so Marshall was able to squeeze us a little bit and we played sometimes too much in our half. In the end, we were okay at halftime. The guys felt good about the game going into halftime. We made some adjustments, we moved some people around. Justin (Laird) and Riggs did not start the game but they came in the first half and started the second half. They made a big difference. They worked hard and they are always a threat behind and then Marshall couldn't step as high as they did in the first half."
In the 84th minute, UK continued to mount a furious second-half pressure, as freshman Alex Bumpus lofted a cross into the box for Riggs, who was open just inside the 18. Riggs was taken down for a foul, creating a penalty kick chance for Doliner. A native of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, Doliner moved to 3-for-3 on penalty attempts in 2013 with a hard-hit smash into the upper netting.
"It's a good game," Cedergren said. "Good team performance. They guys really fought hard. No one hung their head. It was a physical game. For Marshall it was do or die for them as well. And they really battled. In the end we had maybe a little more quality on the ball and we had a couple of chances to put one or two more in there. In the end, we needed a win today. I was a little hesitant about the guys being too nervous and too tense. We came out and played relaxed, worked really hard and fought as a team."
Marshall (2-9-6, 0-4-3 C-USA) finished with a 14-11 advantage in shots and a 5-1 advantage in corner kicks. MU keeper Bijan Gloston had two saves in 78 minutes, with Danny Sellitti saving one shot in his 11 minutes.
UK will return to action on Sunday, hosting Florida Atlantic at 4 p.m. ET at the UK Soccer Complex.
GAME NOTES: Junior Justin Laird and senior Tyler Riggs were UK's first subs of the game ... Riggs netted his second goal of the year and the 25th of his career ... Riggs now passes Matt Lodge (2009-12) for fourth place in UK career history with 25 goals and now has 59 career points to rank seventh in UK history ... Freshman Napo Matsoso recorded his second assist of the year and his first since a Sept. 14 win over IPFW ... Bryan Celis recorded his second assist of the year ... Senior Brad Doliner netted his team-high fifth goal of the year ... Doliner is now a perfect 3-for-3 in penalty kick attempts ... UK is now 2-3 in road games ... UK leads the all-time series with Marshall, 16-7-3, including a 6-2-2 mark in games played in Huntington ... UK senior center back Steven Perinovic won 6-of-10 contested header attempts and has now won 116-of-151 in 2013.