Soccer Drops Heartbreaker to EIU, 1-0
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- After 109 minutes and 25 seconds of scoreless soccer, Eastern Illinois senior Brad Earl connected on the game-winning goal to send the Kentucky menís soccer team home with a bitter 1-0 loss, on Friday evening at the UK Soccer Complex.
Kentucky (1-4-2) battled the Panthers in a defense dominant 109 minutes of soccer, before faltering in the final minute of the final overtime period, as Earl scooped up a deflected ball from Alex Harrison and booted a floater into the back of the net, past a diving Wildcat keeper Dan Williams. The goal marked Earlís second of the season and improved the Panthers to 6-1-1 on the young season.
The Wildcats had several chances early in the game, most notably a goal scored in the 76th minute that was eventually waved off after a controversial offside call. Wildcat freshman midfielder Jirijoonas Kanth picked up a loose ball rebound inside the six-yard box and netted it home over an outstretched EIU keeper Mark Hansen. After a brief celebration, the offside penalty was called, negating the Wildcats potentially narrow, late-game advantage.
Defenses dominated the contest, as EIU managed only five shots to UKís six, with the lone shot in both overtimes coming in the form of Earlís game winning goal. UK totaled nine corner kicks to the Panthers eight.
Williams UKís ever-steady keeper totaled just one save, as a UK defense stifled Panther scoring opportunities throughout the contest. EIUís Hansen notched two saves on the evening.
In the first half, UK could only muster offensive threats off four corner kicks, with the best scoring threat coming after senior Nathan Marks misfired on a header from a cross from Bingy Lara. Lara, who played in each of the Wildcats 21 games during the historic 14-win 2006 season, returned for his first action of the season after missing the opening six games due to injury. Lara is one of seven members of the regular playing rotation for UK head coach Ian Collins to have missed time due to injury this season, forcing the UK head man to play a slew of freshmen.
Kentucky takes to the road for a Sunday matinee with rival Akron in Akron, Ohio. Kentucky owns a 4-7-2 record against its former Mid-American Conference foe, having dropped the past two meetings in 2004 and 2005. Kickoff Sunday is set for 2 p.m. EDT and fans can tune into UKathletics.com for live stats.