Soccer Sets Goals Record Against Georgetown
LEXINGTON – Michael Strong tallied the seventh hat trick in school history and Riley O’Neill added a pair of goals as the 20th-ranked Kentucky men’s soccer team thumped Georgetown, 8-0, on Wednesday night at the UK Soccer Complex.
The Wildcats improved to 4-0-1 on the year, matching the longest unbeaten streak to start a season in school history. Kentucky ran its home unbeaten streak to six and the Wildcats are 7-0-2 in their last nine non-conference home games.
The win was a milestone victory for head coach Ian Collins, who earned his 150th win, just five games into his 16th year. Of the victories, 139 have come in his 13 years in the Commonwealth.
The floodgates opened early for the Wildcats. O’Neill scored the first of UK’s school-record eight goals in the sixth minute. Barry Rice served in a great ball and O’Neill snapped a header for what turned out to be the game-winning goal.
The winner was the third of the year for O’Neill, one shy of the school record. He has eight in his career now, which is tied for third most ever at UK. The two goals ran his season total to seven and his career total to 18, sixth best in school annals.
Rice teamed up with Masumi Turnbull to set up O’Neill’s second goal just over 17 minutes later. Turnbull played it through the back line and O’Neill beat a defender to the ball near the penalty spot. From there, he needed just one touch to put hit the net and make it 3-0.
Sandwiched in between O’Neill’s goals was a penalty kick goal for Jase Griffiths. Turnbull was taken down in the box from behind in the 19th minute and Griffiths easily buried the penalty.
Kentucky was far from done in the first half. Strong came off the bench to net his first two goals in the half’s final eight minutes. Rice tied the school record with his third assist to set up the first one. He dribbled between three defenders at the top of the box and his final touch went a little long, right to Strong who beat keeper Matt Brown inside the far post.
Four minutes later, Strong struck again. He took a feed from Andrew Alexander and made a long run through the middle of the field before burying his shot from just inside the box to make it 5-0.
Five goals at intermission was a UK school record and the Wildcats got much of the same in the second half. Strong picked up the hat trick and pushed the score to 7-0 in the 69th minute. Mark Halma made a tremendous pass to set Strong up for a mini breakaway and he easily beat Brown for his third goal.
Twelve minutes prior, Strong assisted on Joey Grigsby’s first goal as a Wildcat. Matt McAlpine started the play with a quick thrown in behind the Georgetown defense. Strong took it, held off a defender and passed across the box where a sliding Grigsby kicked home the goal.
Senior Aaron Sheffield, seeing his first action as a Wildcat, buried a chance for the final margin in the 76th minute. Grigsby was tackled at the top of the box and the official allowed the play to continue as it was to UK’s advantage. The ball rolled right to Sheffield, who cracked a shot past Brown.
The final score was indicative of how the Wildcats controlled play. Kentucky held a 30-1 shot advantage and put 19 shots on goal, while earning nine corners to none.
Using two keepers, Matt Troop and Grant Ward, UK recorded its third shutout of the season, including its second straight.
Kentucky returns to action on Saturday when it takes to the road to face UNC-Asheville at 2 p.m.