The No. 3 Kentucky men’s soccer team won its fourth-straight game to finish its non-conference regular-season schedule unbeaten at 8-0-1. The Wildcats defeated Evansville 4-0 on Tuesday at The Bell, moving into a tie for the most clean sheets in the nation with 11.
Tanner Hummel, JJ Williams, Nicolai Fremstad and Clay Holstad scored the goals as The Cats improved to 13-1-1 overall.
“Our team is finding a little form,” Hummel, a senior who scored his first-career goal in his 67th appearance in a UK shirt, said. “That’s 14 goals in the last four games. That’s a huge accomplishment for our team. We still have room to get better, but we’re going in the right direction. We just have to keep doing what we’re doing, do the simple things right, play for one another and be selfless.
With their 13th win of the year, the Wildcats broke the Head Coach Johan Cedergren-era record for most wins in a season. UK has two all-important games – both in Conference USA – remaining on the regular-season fixture list.
Senior captain Tanner Hummel scored the opening goal 28 minutes in, converting a penalty for his first-career finish. Co-captain JJ Williams won the penalty when he was brought down in the box in a foul that earned a yellow card.
“Usually Aimé Mabika takes the penalties, but Tanner hadn’t scored a goal since he’s been here – all four years,” UK Associate Head Coach Chase Wileman said. “I think the guys did a really good thing – and I think it says a lot about our team that they let him take the penalty kick. It was nothing from the coaching staff, it was all from our selfless team. And Tanner had a goal and an assist so it was a good day for him.”
Williams headed in Kentucky’s second goal in the 52nd minute, redirecting a Hummel cross from the right flank across the face of goal with precision. He scored for the team-leading 13th time this year.
Nicolai Fremstad scored Kentucky’s third right after the hour mark, running onto the end of a Jason Reyes through ball. The freshman – whose parents made the trip to watch Wednesday’s game all the way from Norway – finished for the second time this year.
Freshman Clay Holstad scored his second goal in as many matches a minute before the final whistle. Brock Lindow started the move with a through ball to Marcel Meinzer, who cut it back for the freshman to finish on an open goal.
Kentucky improved to 9-0-0 at The Bell this season.
Junior forward JJ Williams has a team-leading 13 goals including one from each of the last four. His thirteen goals on the season are double the total he scored in his first two seasons combined.
Williams has scored the second most goals in a single season in the UK record book. He’s three goals behind school record holder Greg Kotzbauer.
Williams’ 19 career goals rank ninth on the UK all-time list. Williams has additionally assisted five times to tally 29 points.
Kentucky has kept 11 clean sheets this season, tied with St. Mary’s for the most in the country.
Goalkeeper Enrique Facusse, who entered the week with the No. 7 save percentage in the nation, made another two saves to improve his overall total to 42 of 49 shots stopped (86 percent).
Facusse’s 11 shutouts this year are tied with Callum Irving’s 2014 season for second most by a Wildcat keeper in a single campaign. Chris West set the UK record with 12 in 1995.
“Overall it was a really good performance from Quique all the way up,” Wileman said. “These midweek games can be tough, but I think we showed a lot of maturity. Maybe we weren’t at our best, but we were still able to get a win, get a shuout, get four goals and put in an overall really good performance.”
Kentucky leads Evansville in the overall series 7-4. The Wildcats have won four in a row against the Purple Aces.
Kentucky entered Wednesday having won three games in a row by a combined 10-1 margin.
Cedergren named an unchanged side from the starting 11 that went on to defeat New Mexico 6-1 last Sunday.
For the latest on the Kentucky men’s soccer team, follow @UKMensSoccer on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, as well as on the web at UKathletics.com.
‑ GO CATS –
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