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No. 3 UK Men’s Soccer Faces Lipscomb in Sweet 16 Saturday at The Bell

Posted at 8:00 AM, Nov 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-24 00:27:55-05
Photo by Isaac Janssen | UK Athletics

LEXINGTON, KY. – The No. 3 Kentucky men’s soccer team will host Lipscomb in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 on Saturday at The Bell.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.

Tickets for Saturday’s match are available at UKathleticstix.com.

UK students who show their UK student ID at the tent outside The Bell on match day will receive a ticket paid for by UK Athletics.

The match will be streamed live on SEC Network+/WatchESPN.

The setup
Kentucky, with a 18-1-1 won-lost-drawn record claimed Conference-USA’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament by winning the Conference Tournament. UK received a bye into the second round and defeated No. 21 Portland last Sunday.

UK is the No. 3 overall national seed, meaning The Wildcats would be in line to host each of the three rounds before the College Cup should they win those matches.

Lipscomb won a penalty shootout at Washington in the first round on Thursday, Nov. 15 and then won 1-0 in overtime at No. 14 UCF last Sunday to reach the Sweet 16.

The two sides met earlier this season on Sept. 18 in Nashville, with UK winning 3-2 in overtime on a JJ Williams winner.

The winner of the UK v Lipscomb matchup would advance to next weekend’s Elite Eight round against the victor of the No. 6 Duke v No. 11 Maryland game, which will take place at the same time on Saturday in Durham, North Carolina.

UK is in the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in Head Coach Johan Cedergren’s seven-year tenure.

The closer look at UK
UK is ranked a program-record No. 1 in the College Soccer News poll and No. 3 in the Coaches’ poll. UK is No. 5 in the RPI.

Kentucky boasts the nation’s No. 2 goals against average, .440, and the No. 5 scoring offense (2.34 per game).

UK ranks fourth nationally in total goals (47). The Wildcats have conceded nine goals to date, and kept two straight clean sheets.

The Wildcats have kept a program record 14 shutouts this season (70 percent), a total which is tied with Saint Mary’s (California) for most in the nation.

C-USA Player of the Year and Offensive MVP, JJ Williams increased his new school record of most points in a season (two for goal, one for assist) to 44 (third most in the nation).

His 18 goals rank third in the nation and are the school record. His nine game winners are the second most in Division I.

He, along with sophomore winger Kalil ElMedkhar, scored a brace last Sunday in the second round. He’s scored three goals in his NCAA Tournament career having scored in a 2016 second-round loss to Creighton.

ElMedkhar has scored 11 goals and assisted 11 times this season. He’s two assists away from tying the UK single-season record.

Goalkeeper Enrique Facusse enters the NCAA Tournament with a .44 individual goals against average, which ranks third in the nation entering the weekend. He saved 52 of 61 shots this season, 86 percent, which ranks fourth in DI.

Kentucky is 11-0 at The Bell in 2018 having scored 30 and conceded 1.

UK is 2-0 against teams they’re meeting for the second time this season, having defeated Marshall and Charlotte the second time around in the C-USA Tournament.

The opponent 
Lipscomb earned its spot in the NCAA Tournament field by winning the ASUN Conference at home.

Lipscomb goes into Saturday 10-9-1 overall.

The Bisons are unbeaten in their last five matches and 7-2-1 in their last 10.

Lipscomb is 4-1 against ranked sides this season. Its only loss came to Kentucky. The Bisons earned wins over No. 9 UCF, No. 10 Louisville, No. 24 FGCU and No. 25 Washington. Three of those came on the road.

Lipscomb striker Logan Paynter leads the way for Saturday’s visitors. The senior this season became the first player in ASUN history to be named the Player of the Year, the Scholar Athlete of the Year and the Tournament MVP

Expected Lipscomb goalkeeper Chris Zappia did not play when the Wildcats and Bisons met earlier this year. The senior is 9-0-1 in his last 10 games in net, has a 1.07 goals against average and made eight saves in each of Lipscomb’s previous two NCAA Tournament matches.

The quote
“It’ll be nice to get a rematch against Lipscomb,” UK Head Coach Johan Cedergren said. “They’re having a very good year, it’s an unbelievable turnaround that Coach (Charles) Morrow has done there. For us to get another game home at The Bell, let’s see if we can get the Big Blue Nation out again. We had over 1,800 people on Sunday, and it was just a magical experience.

“We just want to keep going. We’re excited to still be training.”

The history
The two sides have played once each of the past three years and the series is tied 1-1-1. UK won earlier this year, Lipscomb won 3-2 at The Bell last October and they drew 1-1 in 2016 in Lexington.

UK is 0-1-1 against Lipscomb at The Bell.

UK is making its ninth NCAA Tournament appearance in its history, and is 2-8-2 all-time in The Big Dance.

UK is 1-4-1 at home all-time in the NCAA Tournament.

The Wildcats lost their only other appearance in the Sweet 16 in 2000.

The logistics
All pre-purchased tickets will be available via digital delivery. Instead of receiving printed tickets, ticket purchasers will be able to access their tickets electronically through My UK Account or the UK Athletics app.

Game day ticket sales open at 5:30 p.m. ET and gates to The Bell open at 6 p.m.


For the best coverage of UK men’s soccer follow the team’s social media accounts on TwitterFacebook and Instagram in addition to on UKathletics.com.