Wildcats end regular season 11-4-2
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina headed in a winner with four minutes to play, handing the No. 13/12 Kentucky men’s soccer team a 2-1 loss on Friday at Stone Stadium.
Kentucky concluded the regular season with an overall record of won 11, lost four, drew two (5-3-0 Conference USA). The Wildcats will play in the first round of the C-USA Tournament next Wednesday in Huntington, West Virginia.
The first half played out as a far more cagey affair then had the last time Kentucky visited the South Carolina capital, when Napo Matsoso scored the first three goals before the hosts came all the way back, only to see Ryan Creel snatch a winner late in the second overtime.
On Saturday, South Carolina broke a 0-0 deadlock 70 seconds before halftime.
Kentucky couldn’t quite clear the initial chance, and eventually Trygve Ellingstad crossed to Bjorn Gudjonsson who finished from five yards.
Kentucky responded well right out of the dressing room, and the Wildcats were rewarded for their attacking intent within five minutes.
The referee awarded the visitors a penalty kick after Charlie Reymann played his cross into a dangerous part of the box, and a South Carolina defender handled.
Jordan Wilson stepped to the spot and sent the South Carolina goalkeeper guessing wrong as he slotted his shot into the corner.
Back on even terms, the game seemed to fizzle after UK’s attacking flurry following the equalizer.
But South Carolina struck again, late in the half when Andre Streete headed home a Danny Deakin corner kick.
Trailing once more with just four minutes to play, Kentucky couldn’t mount a response.
“Frustrated as always after a loss,” head coach Johan Cedergren said. “But in the end we finish the regular season with 11 wins, four losses so we’ve had a good regular season. We’re healthy and now we have to refocus and see if we can take the next step.
“South Carolina is a good team. They played well. We played well today. A little more of an edge in both boxes and I think it’s a different game. The challenge for us is to see if we can squeeze another five percent out of our guys and see where that takes us in postseason play.”
UK Soccer in C-USA
Kentucky and South Carolina play in C-USA in men’s soccer only. The SEC does not offer men’s soccer as a sport, and as such the two teams compete in Conference USA as “affiliate members.” South Carolina is the only other SEC university that has a varsity men’s soccer team.
The C-USA implications
Kentucky finished the Conference USA season on 15 points.
South Carolina, on 16 points, placed second to champion Charlotte, which won 1-0 at Marshall on Friday. The 49ers claimed the league title with 21 points, with their lone blemish a 1-0 loss at UK.
Kentucky is in third place for now, but FIU will play its game in hand Saturday, and could pass UK with a win that would take them to 16 points.
Kentucky was 3-4 on the road this season, 1-3 in league matches away from home.
Kentucky won four of its last five.
Jordan Wilson scored his third goal of the season, and the fourth of his career. He scored against South Carolina each of the past two years.
South Carolina improved to 10-6-1 (5-2-1 C-USA). The Gamecocks snapped a two-match losing streak.
South Carolina took a 7-6-3 lead in the all-time series between the only SEC varsity men’s soccer teams.
‑ GO CATS –