After a tough loss at Notre Dame to open its season on Thursday, Kentucky men’s soccer was able to bounce back last night by defeating the Blue Devils 4-2.
Four different Wildcats – Aimé Mabika, Kalil ElMedkhar, Bailey Rouse and Daniel Evans – found the back of the net in the win. Robert Screen picked up two assists while Marcel Meinzer, Colin Innes and Brandon McManus were credited with one assist each.
The match started slow, as neither team was able to find a rhythm early. Kentucky goalkeeper Enrique Facusse was handed a yellow card in the 18th minute after he aggressively tried to make a save against the Duke’s Nicolas Macri. The ensuing penalty kick was knocked through by Jack Doran to start the scoring.
Down 1-0 early, the Cats had to rally, and did so fairly quickly. In the 25th minute, Screen found the 6-foot-6 Mabika inside for a header that knotted things up.
Duke responded almost as quick, as Conor Kelly connected with Daniel Wright on the near-post to put the Blue Devils back in front in the 33rd minute.
As the exciting first half waned, the Cats were able to even the score once again, Meinzer led ElMedkhar down the left side of the field with a pass, and the senior midfielder took it from there, beating his man and with some fancy footwork before pushing a shot past the Blue Devil keeper into the upper-right corner of the goal.
After going into intermission tied, Kentucky dominated the second half. Screen delivered a corner kick in the 76th minute to Rouse for what proved to be the game-winner, and Evans put the nail in the coffin with a goal in the 86th minute after several passes between Innes and McManus.
This was the first ever meeting between the two schools in men’s soccer. The Cats outshot the Blue Devils 18-6, and had a 5-3 edge in shots on target. The two teams will square up for a rematch later this season in Durham on October 30th.
Meanwhile, Kentucky will face off against in-state rival Louisville in its next match. The game is set for Monday, September 28th at 7:30 p.m. ET.