Hagerty Nets Game Winner, UK Tops WKU 2-1
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. -- After suffering through 281 minutes of scoreless soccer over the past two games, the Kentucky men?s soccer team exploded for two goals in 14 minutes to knock off the host Western Kentucky Hilltoppers 2-1, on Friday evening at the WKU Soccer Complex.
Trailing 1-0 in the 64th minute, the Wildcats got on the board, as forward Mark Halma delivered a cross from the right side to a wide open Tim Crone, who booted the ball into the back of the net, past a diving WKU keeper, Kyle Schroeder. The goal was Crone?s third of the season.
The Wildcats were not finished however, as UK took the lead for good in the 77th minute, as Crone picked up a deflected shot and bounced it to midfielder Chad Hagerty, who pounded it home in the middle back of the net. The goal marked the first goal of Hagerty?s UK career.
With the game on the line in the closing minutes of the game, a foul was called in the UK box in the 87th minute, setting up WKU up for a controversial penalty kick. WKU?s Paul Kopec fired the shot to the left of UK keeper Dan Williams who guessed right and reached out to bounce the ball away. The Hilltoppers were not finished, as another shot was fired and Williams came diving back into the net to save his second consecutive shot with the game on the line.
UK?s first win since September 2 was not easy however, as the Toppers mounted a final challenge, forcing Williams to deflect WKU?s final shot with just three seconds remaining.
Kentucky (2-5-2) opened the contest attacking, just narrowly missing taking an early advantage in the fifth minute. Crone delivered a perfect pass through thick traffic to a sprinting freshman Luke Maitland, who drilled a shot from the back of the box that narrowly missed wide.
The Hilltoppers (1-6-2) took control in the 21st minute, utilizing a corner kick to net its first goal. Dustin Downey took the corner from the back, delivering a cross that found the foot of Andy Mastellar, who netted it home for the first goal of the contest.
UK had another opportunity a few minutes after the Hilltopper goal, as UK?s Bingy Lara, making his first start of the season after battling injury issues, delivered a corner kick that found the foot of Maitland. The Luton, England, native fired a shot just high that clanked off the top post and bounced dangerously close to being called a goal.
The Wildcats mounted another threat in the 39th minute, as Aaron Swanson found himself on a breakaway with just the goalkeeper and one defender to beat, Swanson ripped a shot from about 25 yards out and the ball sailed just wide of the goal.
Opening the half, UK began to put the pressure on the WKU defense and had a golden opportunity to net the game-tying goal in the 50th minute as midfielder Brad Frederick delivered a cross from about 40 yards out that found a sprinting Crone, who headed the shot just high and out of reach from a diving Schroeder.
In the 60th minute, UK was forming an attack deep in WKU territory when the ball got loose and Maitland fired a shot that missed wide right.
In the 65th minute, with a chance to take the lead just moments after the dramatic game-tying goal from Crone, Barry Rice booted a cross from the left side and Halma narrowly missed heading it in for the game winner.
In the 76th minute, WKU netted what appeared to be its second goal, after UK?s Williams cleared the ball and the Hilltoppers netted an empty-net goal, before the side official called WKU offside.
Kentucky still leads the all-time series between the two schools 6-2, having won its last three meetings with the Hilltoppers.
Kentucky opens Conference-USA action in its next match with UAB, October 6 at the UK Soccer Complex. Last season, UK ran up a 5-2 record in conference action, finishing second to top-ranked SMU.