After getting upset by in-state rival Louisville Cardinals on Tuesday, the No. 9 ranked UK men's soccer team bounced back Friday night with a 2-0 shutout win over the visiting Tulsa Golden Hurricanes at The Bell.
The Cats haven't lost a regular season game at The Bell since 2017 as Tulsa looked to end that streak. However, the Cats not only kept their streak intact, but they also ended the Hurricanes' perfect 2-0 record.
The last time the two teams faced off ended in a double overtime tie in 2013.
Cats' goalkeeper Enrique Facusse made a name for himself through his numerous shutouts last season. After giving up five goals in the last two games, UK associate head coach Chase Wileman said that "getting the shutout tonight was very important.”
Within the fourth minute, Cats' forward Jason Reyes utilized his quick feet and dribbled through a maze of defenders to launch the ball past Tulsa goalkeeper Bryson Reed into the left corner of the net. That set the tone for the first half. The intensity of the game elevated as both teams showcased their determination entering halftime with the Cats up 1-0.
Hurricanes' defender Til Zinnhardt was determined to keep both Reyes and forward Daniel Evans clear of the goal. In the 58th minute, Cats' midfielder Clay Holstad hardly snuck a ball past Zinnhardt and right to Evans feet. Evans quickly fired a shot to the right of Reed. It went in as Evans scored his first goal this season to increase the Cats' lead to 2-0.
“As a captain, we’ve asked Aime [Mabika] to step up, and tonight he really showed," Wileman said after the game.
Tulsa forward Thomas Wells battled UK defenders throughout the game and continued to fire shots towards Facusse. However, Cats' captain and defender Aime Mabika used his 6-foot-6 frame to serve as Wells biggest impediment. Wells struggled to beat Mabika to the ball but tenaciously challenged him throughout both halves. Although Mabika stopped him, Wells never lost hope for his last chance at victory and kept trying to score until the very end.
After the game, Reyes stated that “we started off slow with Louisville, but now we are back on track and we are going to do great things together.”
The Wildcats will return to The Bell on Wednesday night, September 11th to challenge the Xavier University Musketeers at 7:30 after last years tight draw between both teams.