8:45:31:09-12-2021UKvsDuquesne

Kentucky Wildcats forward Luke Andrews (19) takes a shot on goal during the University of Kentucky vs. Duquesne men's soccer game on Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, at the Bell Soccer Complex in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 3-1. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Kentucky (7-0-3) reached a scoreless draw at home against No. 20 FIU (7-1-2) to remain undefeated through 10 games.

The Wildcats move to 0-0-3 against ranked opponents with their match against No. 4 West Virginia on the Oct. 15 drawing near. Kentucky’s Luke Andrews had his game winning goal in the last minute of regulation taken back on an offsides call—ultimately removing what was the only score of the game.

Despite being beaten in the first half, the Wildcats outshot FIU 18-12 while both teams were tied at four in shots on target. Kentucky goalie Jan Hoffelner was perfect in the game going 4-4 on saves. Hoffelner has only allowed three goals all season for the Wildcats.

“He gives the whole team confidence,” Andrews said about Hoffelner. 

Kentucky entered the matchup with their last completed game being their 3-1 win over conference foe UAB a full week prior. The Cats scheduled game against Lipscomb on the Oct. 6 was abandoned after inclement weather stopped the game 20 minutes in and was eventually cancelled.

From the first whistle—both teams engaged in what would be an extremely physical grudge match between ranked conference opponents. FIU shot first with junior forward Stephen Afrifa launching a shot that hit off the top woodwork in the third minute. 

Andrews took the first shot on target of the contest for the Wildcats, but was saved by FIU goalkeeper Tyler Hogan. The shot would ultimately be the only of the half for Kentucky. FIU retaliated with a shot of their own by forward Bernardo Dos Santos Monteiro, but was saved by Hoffelner. Afrifa would also put up a shot on target with no luck. The first half came to a close with no other shots on target for either squad.

Out of the break, both teams once again continued to battle, refusing to give an inch. The Wildcats outshot FIU 9-4 in the second half, though both were equal in shots on target with two each.

Time continued to tick away with both teams failing to put up a goal. In the final minute it was once again Andrews who found himself in a position to take a shot and off his tap, the ball was sent past Hogan for what seemed like the game winning goal. The referees would call him offsides on the play and the goal was rescinded.  

“I thought the center back was even with me,” Andrews said about the goal. “I just tried to beat the guy to the post and tap it in but they called it offsides.” 

With the call, regulation came to an end with both teams scoreless. 

Overtime was all Kentucky on the box score, despite some close calls by FIU. The Cats outshot the Panthers 3-0 in attempts and 1-0 in shots on target. Unfortunately for Kentucky, their lone shot on goal was saved by Hogan, officially resulting in a scoreless draw. 

“I think we just need to keep pushing, honestly,” Andrews said. “I think we’re really close to being one of the top teams in the country, and by the end of the year I think we will be.” 

The Wildcats hit the road this Friday Oct. 15 to play the Monarchs of Old Dominion a 7 p.m. in another Conference USA battle.

“I think the next thing for us to move forward as a team is to win close games. I know we talked about that,” Andrews said. “We’re a good team, one of the best in the country, and I think we really just need to close out close games.”