Sept. 12, 2009

Courtesy of Kentucky

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- In a span of three minutes, the Kentucky men’s soccer team broke open a 0-0 game with two goals, handing No. 19 Illinois-Chicago a 2-0 defeat in the opening game of the University of Louisville Invitational, on a beautiful Friday evening at Cardinal Park.

Kentucky (3-0-0) broke open a scoreless game in the 61st minute, extending its school-record unbeaten streak to a span of 13 games. UK has not lost since an Oct. 8, 2008 setback at then-No. 14 Tulsa, a span of 13 consecutive matches. The Wildcats win over the 19th-ranked UIC Flames marks UK’s first win over a top-25 foe on the year and their first since defeating No. 18 South Carolina last October. UK finished 2008 ranked No. 21 nationally

With Kentucky controlling most of the possession in the first 15 minutes of the second half, Kentucky sophomore Matt Lodge centered a ball into the middle of the box perfectly placed for fellow sophomore Brad Walker who, from his knees, placed a perfect header on the ball which flew over the keepers head, off the crossbar and into the back of the net for the first goal of the match.

The goal, which was scored in the 61st minute, was the first goal of the season for Walker. The native of Sydney, Australia, finished the game with two shots, one on goal. The goal was the second on the career for the 2008 Conference USA All-Freshman team recipient.

Lodge, who has started all three games in his freshman season, notched his first career assist, just a game after tallying his first career goal. The UK goal came off a free kick, when UK forward Marco dos Santos forced a foul just at the corner of the 18-yard penalty box.

Kentucky added to its lead with a goal in the 63rd minute, Taylor White played a ball long to UK leading scorer Tyler Burns down the near sideline. Burns, a native of Aura, Colo., beat the UIC defense to the ball down the end line, lofting the ball to Chad Hagerty, who headed the ball home in center net. The goal was Hagerty’s third career goal, with the Louisville, Ky., native netting three goals in three years at UK. Last year, Hagerty led UK and C-USA with six assists.

In goal, UK keeper Dan Williams was solid, with the UK defense keeping UIC from threatening the UK net. Williams totaled three saves in 90 minutes, facing nine UIC shots. The clean sheet for Williams marked the 15th of his career, good for fourth all-time in UK career history, and just seven shutouts shy of the UK career record.

UK owned pace of play in the game, totaling 13 shots to UIC’s nine, also totaling three corner kicks to UIC’s two. UIC All-American goalkeeper Jovan Bubonja saved three UK shots, allowing two goals.

Kentucky preseason first-team All-American defender Barry Rice won 3-of-4 contested header attempts in the game, bringing his season total up to 29-for-34 on the year. Last year, Rice won nearly 200 contested header attempts, an 87-percent clip.

UIC (0-2-1) threatened in the seventh minute, firing a shot that Williams clears, setting up a Flames corner kick.

Kentucky had a good chance in the 28th minute as White picked up a misfired shot from Josh Albers, firing a low-lining shot that forced a save.

The Wildcats had a great chance in the 30th minute, as C.J. Tappel pushed the defense down the near sideline, but UIC cleared the UK threat.

Lodge had a chance in the 48th minute, beating his defender and finding an open shot from about 35 yards out. The freshman fired a hard-hit shot that found the keepers stomach.

Kentucky returns to action in the final day of the UL Invitational Sunday, facing SIU-Edwardsville at 2 p.m. ET at Cardinal Park.