Senior midfielder Ryan Kendall had a huge game on Sunday, netting 4 goals and 3 assists, as the 25th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats upset the 4th-ranked Louisville Cardinals, 11-10. The win moved the Wildcats up 10 spots in this week’s All Pro Presidents DII Poll.
Kendall (Cuthbertson High School), a junior transfer who also plays wide receiver for the Wildcats football team, ended his high school career as one of the all time leading scorers in North Carolina history.
Freshman midfielder Rhys Johnson opened the scoring for the Wildcats but the Cardinals quickly answered with a score from Ryan McCauley. Kentucky followed that up with goals from Jack Burke, Parker Shellhaas and Grant Gottdiner. Thompson Summers and Kevin Sims responded for Louisville to tie the game at 3 after 1 quarter.
Summers would have big day for Louisville, bagging 3 goals and picking up an assist on the day. His final goal brought the Cards within 1 with 12:30 remaining. Sam Browning’s goals with 7:22 remaining tied the game at 9.
But Kentucky would add 2 more goals before the final whistle to dash any comeback hopes for the Cards.
The Wildcats utilized their deep bench, running 3 midfield lines, working in 8 different attackmen and rotating 3 Fogo’s on the day. Kentucky’s defense was led by Gottdiner, Dominic Leonardi, Larkin Mann and Sophomore goalie Cameron McMillan, who played extremely well despite allowing 10 goals to the Cards.
Kentucky Head Coach Whit Chafin spoke about his teams progression in just its second year in the NCLL. “I think today’s game was a great win for this team and pushes us in the direction we want this program to trend in. Our officers and captains have helped change the culture of this team from our poor inaugural NCLL showing last year. We knew Louisville would be a tough game, but this team continues to gel together and work hard, leading to today’s result.”
Both teams traded goals back and forth for much of the wild 2nd half. Junior attackman Bryan McKenzie (1G, 1A) put the Cats ahead for good in the final 5 minutes of the game off a deflected shot by Kendall.
The upset win puts the Wildcats at 4-0 heading into spring break. The loss drops the Cardinals to 5-2. Both teams play in the Division II Midwest South Conference.
Kentucky returns on 4/8 to take on Xavier, who is also Louisville’s next opponent on 3/24.
Game Photos courtesy of ACRPhoto
Bryan McKenzie and Michael C. Wells contributed to this article.