No. 20 Herd men’s soccer to face No. 15 Kentucky in final home match of the season

No. 20 Marshall University men’s soccer team closes out its home matches for the 2019 season as the No. 15 University of Kentucky Wildcats visits on Sunday afternoon to Hoops Family Field. Both ranked teams are battling to decide for Conference USA’s regular season champion.

The Herd enters the match with an overall record of 11-2-3 (3-1-1 C-USA). The Herd is coming off a 2-1 win over Oakland.

“We did well,” Marshall Head Coach Chris Grassie said. “Being home, I think now we can really focus, and the rest of the season is what it is. It’s great to be back. We’re expecting a huge crowd.”

The Wildcats have an overall record of 10-2-3 (3-1-1 C-USA) and are coming off a 7-1 win over Wright State and are currently on a four-match winning streak.

Both Marshall and Kentucky are in a tie for third place in the conference standings. The conference tournament is set for Nov. 13 – 17.

“Well, playing against UK is a motivator itself,” redshirt senior goalkeeper Paulo Pita said. “We know how big this game is. We’ve been traveling a lot. I feel like we have recharged our battery and we are ready for Kentucky.”

This final home match serves as the Herd’s senior day, where Pita, defender Carlos Diaz-Salcedo, midfielder Jonas Westmeyer, defender Illal Osmanu and goalkeeper Bryce Notardonato will be honored.

“For the past four years, I’ve been watching my friends who were seniors walking on the field on their last home game,” Pita said. “I honestly don’t know how to feel. It’s 100% going to be a surprise, but definitely I’m looking forward to it.”

Kentucky leads the all-time series 21-8-3 against the Herd. The Wildcats defeated Marshall twice last season.

“We’re in the right spot,” junior midfielder Pedro Dolabella said. “We achieved some of our goals and our team is focused. All we think about now is Sunday. We can barely sleep; we just want to play right away. We’re really confident.”

Dolabella said that it would be special if Marshall would defeat the Wildcats at home. The last time the Herd defeated Kentucky was when he was a freshman.

“The celebration was incredible,” Dolabella said. “There was no better feeling. Hopefully, we can get back on beating them, and we want to get those feelings back.”

First kick is set for 3 p.m. at Hoops Family Field.

Taylor Huddleston can be contacted at [email protected].