Highlights at bottom
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Behind a career-high seven save performance from sophomore All-Conference USA keeper Callum Irving, the Kentucky men’s soccer team stretched its scoreless streak to 414 minutes with its fourth consecutive shutout, posting a 0-0 draw with No. 19 Furman, on a gorgeous Friday night at the Wendell & Vickie Bell Soccer Complex.
A native of Vancouver, British Columbia, Irving made his career-high equaling seventh save in the 110th minute. Faced with a Furman breakaway in the closing seconds of the second overtime, Irving made a game-saving stop at a chest-high strike from Furman, keeping the clean sheet.
The shutout was the fifth of the season for Irving, and the 12th of his career, which tied him with Greg Raber for the fifth-most in program history.
Kentucky (4-2-1) has stretched its unbeaten streak to four games, including wins over ETSU, No. 1 Notre Dame and Xavier. UK has not allowed a goal in 414 consecutive minutes, dating back to a goal allowed on Sept. 5 to No. 17 Indiana.
“Furman is a very good team, very organized with a couple of special players going forward so I think it’s a great result against a very good team,” UK head coach Johan Cedergren said. “We knew going in that we had to stay close to their forwards to make sure we were careful when guys like Bobby Edet and Lewis Hawke and Evan De Ycaza got on the ball. For a team that is as young as our team is right now to stay that sharp and switched on tactically for 90 minutes plus 20 was very good.
“I’m sure they are going to say they should have won the game, but I’m sure that Justin (Laird) has a chance that was inches off the far post. I think also Stefan (Stojkovic) has a shot that the goalkeeper made a really good save on. I thought we had the better chances, but it was definitely an ebb-and-flow game.”
A preseason All-Conference USA selection, Irving shined in net, with his seven saves. Furman (4-1-1) keeper Sven Lissek made three saves to keep the shutout, including a great save off a bending ball from a streaking Jordan Wilson as time expired in regulation.
The Wildcats finished with 13 total shots in the game, with Wilson, Stefan Stojkovic and Napo Matsoso each firing three shots, with Wilson firing forcing a pair of saves. UK also got shots from Justin Laird, Bryan Celis, Ryan Creel and Kristoffer Tollefsen.
UK’s best chance of the match came with 10 seconds remaining in the first overtime period on a set-piece.
The referee booked a litany of players on both teams for extracurricular activities that ensued after Furman’s Brendan Richardson committed a professional foul on Stojkovic – who was breaking toward goal for a last-ditch scoring chance.
Irving took the ensuing free kick from 10 yards inside the midfield stripe short to a waiting Charlie Reymann on the right flank. He whipped in a cross that found Andrew McKelvey inside the box, but the freshman’s header went agonizingly wide.
The second overtime period was very open with both teams chasing the win, but the best chance fell for Furman just before time expired with Irving coming up big.
Kentucky will return to action on Tuesday, hosting No. 10 Louisville at 7 p.m. ET at The Bell. The game will be broadcast live on SEC Network+, with Neil Price calling the action.
Admission for all fans will be one penny each with no change accepted. The rivalry match has been designated as an “Abe Out.” The first 500 fans in attendance will receive a UK Soccer-themed shirt, which includes Abraham Lincoln’s likeness.
– GO CATS –
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