On a bitterly cold night, the No. 1 seeded soccer team, Kentucky, was red hot and remains the only undefeated Division 1 team remaining in the NCAA College Cup. Now it will host a Sweet 16 game after Sunday’s 4-0 win over South Florida.
Coach Johan Cedergren’s team continues to be rich in goals of their own up front while limiting teams to very few opportunities and goals as goalkeeper Casper Mols (11-0-4) prevented all balls from passing him to save his to achieve seventh clean slate of the year.
The Wildcats (15-0-5, 5-0-3 Sun Belt) stay home as the frontrunners and will now host the Sweet 16 at the Wendell & Vickie Bell Soccer Complex Pittsburgh Sunday night at 6:00 p.m. EST. This is Kentucky Soccer’s third straight trip to the Sweet 16.
A very lucky Cendergren knows that college cup shutouts are hard to come by and reiterated that opinion after the game.
“Really proud to sit here. Pleased with the performance: 4-0 in the second round of the NCAA tournament, that’s a really good result, especially to be able to keep a clean sheet. Excited to be going for another week.”
The Wildcats averaged 3.46 goals per game and their attack on the Bulls came from every direction as four different players found the net with goals from Martin Soereide, Casper Grening, Clay Holstad and Max Miller.
Kentucky scored their first goal in the 27th minute from Martin Soereide sophomore after an assist from Ben Damge and Enzo Mauriz. It was Soereide’s second goal of the season.
Next, Grening scored after an assist from Holstad and the 10th goal of the season for the second player and a 2–0 lead in the first half.
Gutman, who leads the nation in assists, added to that number, finding Holstad, a five-year-old from Birmingham, Alabama, and his first goal of the year and fifth of his career in the 74th minute.
Finishing touches on the goal came from hometown freshman Miller, who fired a shot on goal from assists by Gutmann and Robert Screen, and the Bryan Station High School native scored his second goal of the year.
Kentucky now meets Pittsburgh on an eight-game winning streak and has not given up a goal in three games. South Carolina was the last team to score in a 2-1 Wildcat win on November 6. It broke a five-game streak in which Britain had not conceded a goal since a 3–3 draw with West Virginia on October 15.
Next up is Pittsburgh (10-4-5, 3-2-3 ACC), a team also playing in Sweet 16 for the third straight season. The Panthers’ biggest threat is Valentin Noel, who scored twice in Pitt’s 3-0 win over Akron. He is second in Pitt program history with 33 career goals, and his 79 career points also rank second in program history.
Temperatures should be better this Sunday with an expected high in the 50’s during the day and a 30 per cent chance of showers at present. Coming out and supporting the team bodes well for BBN.
Cedergren said he’s always grateful when the crowd comes out, especially at home games.
“The last thing I want to say is a huge thank you to Big Blue Nation. They came into force again. I know the conditions were brutal but we’re always happy to host them.”
A win would send the Wildcats into the Elite 8 against the winners from Portland and Washington State.