Entering Saturday night, the Kentucky men’s soccer team had met with Coastal Carolina Chanticleers only once dating back to the 2002 season when the Chanticleers won in a 2-1 overtime victory.
The No. 21 ranked Wildcats (5-1-2, 1-0-1 C-USA) defense showed up yet again to even the series up with a 1-0 victory over Coastal Carolina (4-3-1, 0-0-0 Sun Belt) Saturday night, extending their respective win and shutout streaks to three games.
Coastal Carolina, who led the game in both shots and possession, were not able to find the net due to another standout performance by Cats' goalkeeper Enrique Facusse who recorded a total of three saves Saturday night.
The first half was a strong battle between the Wildcats composed defense and the Chanticleers quick offense. In the 21st minute, Cats' midfielder Kalil ElMedkhar opened off the score sheet with a successful penalty attempt to give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead. Later on, in the 33rd minute, Brandon McManus received a yellow card. Seven minutes later Kentucky’s Robert Screen also received a yellow in the 40th minute.
“We were way too focused on doing the same things as last year, the best thing to do is focus on this year," Facusse commented after the game.
In the second half, Kentucky kept their composure as they had more possessions than they did in the first half, creating more chances with their own pace of the game. Coastal Carolina picked up three yellow cards late in the second half but they couldn't find a way to get past the goal line. The Wildcats stood tall as the final whistle blew.
“We all defend and we all attack, that's my mentality,” Facusse added.
The Wildcats have dealt with multiple injuries so far this season. It took a full team effort to get their win over Coastal Carolina. Leadership from the upperclassman has been a key part of the success as they have rebounded from what was a patchy start to the year.
Kentucky will receive a full week’s rest before visiting Eastern Tennessee State University at 7:30pm on Saturday, October 5th.