By: Kyle Isaacs
The Xavier men’s soccer team revisited history by defeating last year’s first round NCAA Tournament foe the University of Kentucky 2-1 on Saturday night.
In the process of beating the Wildcats and securing their second straight home victory, the Musketeers improved to 2-3 on the season.
The win also marked Xavier’s first victory over the Wildcats in Cincinnati in six attempts. The Musketeers got off to a fast start in Saturday’s rematch of the 2012 NCAA Tournament’s first round, netting a goal in the third minute of action.
Senior midfielder Matt Walker finished in front of the net following the assist by sophomore forward Calum Latham.
The Wildcats responded with a late first-half goal in the 41st minute off of an errant bounce by the Xavier defense, notching the score at 1-1 minutes before halftime.
Both teams struggled to find the net in the second half, but the Musketeers were able to break through in the 68th minute to tally the final goal of the game. Senior forward Gino De Paoli ripped a shot past the Kentucky goalkeeper following a scrum in front of the net.
The Musketeers were able to keep the Wildcats off the scoreboard for the remainder of the game, benefitting from senior goalkeeper Eric Osswald’s three saves of the night.
Head coach Andy Fleming was pleased with the team’s two previous games, noting that the victories over Kentucky and UC-Irvine were “two very big national wins” that will boost the Musketeers’ RPI.
“We made a statement at home,” Fleming said. “Key people stepped up and we are starting to find out who we are (as a team),” Fleming said.
The men continued their home stand last night with a 1-1 draw against Cedarville University.
The Musketeers return to action on Saturday when they visit Missouri State University.