Marshall men’s soccer team falls to Kentucky in conference opener

The Marshall University men’s soccer team lost its C-USA opener Saturday 1-0 to the University of Kentucky at Hoops Family Field.
With the loss, which is the second consecutive for the team, Marshall fell to 4-3 on the season.
“It was like a good 12-round boxing match,” Marshall head coach Bob Gray said.  “They threw their punches, we threw ours.  But I was proud of our boys. We played hard today, and I’m sure Kentucky probably feels lucky that they grinded out the win.”
The game began with both teams having multiple opportunities to score.
Kentucky junior midfielder Napo Matsoso fired a shot off of a corner kick that just missed the net seven minutes into the game.
Fifteen minutes into the game, Marshall senior defender Nick Edginton sent a corner kick into the box that was deflected by junior midfielder Rudy Erwin but was saved by Wildcats goalkeeper Callum Irving.
Matt Freeman, Marshall senior defender, said as the first half progressed, the wind picked up, making some of the deeper kicks difficult to handle while also compromising scoring opportunities.
In the second half, the Herd and the Wildcats had its best opportunities to score.
Marshall junior forward Daniel Jodah sent a corner kick into the box and Edginton headed it past Irving for what would have been the first goal of the game in the 59th minute. However, due to a foul in the box by a Marshall player, the goal was disallowed.
Kentucky capitalized with 11 minutes to play in the match, as Matsoso curved a floating shot past Marshall senior goaltender Bijon Gloston to give Kentucky the 1-0 lead. The goal was Matsoso’s second of the season, and it was enough to seal the win for the visiting Wildcats.
“I think we can build from this performance,” Gray said. “We’ll move on. We’ve put this one behind us. We have a lot of good things to build upon as far as that’s concerned.”
Marshall returns to the road for a matchup with Radford University 6 p.m. Tuesday in Radford, Virginia before it begins an extended run of conference games, starting with a trip to Miami, Florida to face Florida International University Saturday.
Freeman said the team’s approach and preparation for the stretch of conference games will be the same as for any other game.
“It’s just like the nonconference games,” Freeman said. “We want to build the momentum and keep the confidence that we do have. Even though we dropped a game here, we still think we’re a better team. And we still think that we have the keys and the key players to go and win these types of games.”
Marshall’s next home game is scheduled for Oct. 2 against the University of South Carolina.
Alec Hildebeidel can be contacted at [email protected]