Editors Note: We sent Michael Wells, a local photographer in the Kentucky area to cover this past weekends Midwest Conference Championship . Mike returned with all of the info and some great photos. Enjoy
Game 1: Louisville vs UT-Chattanooga
#9 Brooks got Louisville off to a great start. Not only by winning the opening faceoff, but also putting Louisville on the board first. It would be short-lived, as #31 would score just moments later for the Mocs, locking the score at 1-1. In what looked like it would be a close first half from the first few minutes, would turn out to be a dominating half by the Cardinals. Although #5 Williams in at goalie for UTC would put on quite a display, stopping numerous shots, the poor Mocs defense and polls would allow the Cards to score 6 unanswered goals, and head into halftime with a demanding 7-1 lead. #5 Porter would be responsible for three of those six goals scored.
Louisville goalie, #00 TJ would come off the field to start the second half, and the Mocs wasted no time taking advantage of the new goalie. The Mocs scored on the first shot of the second half to make the score 7-2 in favor of Louisville. They would score again on their next possession to make it 7-3. #5 Porter of Louisville would add his fourth goal of the game to make the score 8-3 in favor of the Cards. #29 would add two straight goals for the Mocs, bringing the score to 8-5 after three quarters, and giving the Mocs some hope at victory. The Mocs outscored the Cards 4-1 in the third quarter, as the Cards struggled on both offense and defense. #5 Williams in at goalie for the Mocs seemed to be a brick wall, stopping at least ten shots in the third quarter alone.
Louisville poll #1 McFall left the game with an injury to start the fourth quarter. His season would officially end early in the day. The Cards would regroup during the injury timeout, and #14 Summers would break the silence and make the score 9-5 Cards. Before that, Louisville had gone over 15:00 without a goal. #5 Williams would continue to have an impressive day at goalie, but without any solid communication or help, Louisville would get another one by Williams to make the score 10-5. The Mocs would score two goals to finish out the second half, but it was three goals shy of what they needed to send the game to overtime. Louisville advanced to the 2019 Midwest South/Deep South Conference Championship game with a 10-7 win over UTC.
Game 2: Kentucky vs UT-Chattanooga
#22 got the Wildcats on the board first. Kentucky was up 1-0 early. #16 would add another one to make it 2-0 in favor of the Wildcats. The UTC defense was getting very upset. They started to play more aggressive. #6 became an instant sponge! Shots were hitting him in the legs, the stomach, the helmet, but he was doing everything he could to help his goalie. #5 Williams, again was putting on an amazing show at goalie. You could have made a highlight film with all the stops he was making, but his defense simply couldn’t create turnovers and clear the ball to the other side of the field. After numerous stops, #68 McKay would find the net to end the first quarter, and Kentucky would be up 3-0 after one.
#23 for Kentucky would score on a one-handed shot to start the second quarter. It would be followed by a goal by #16 as the Mocs defense simply fell apart. It was as if they gave it their all the first quarter, and were now simply drained. The Mocs would finally get on the board. #10 would find #29 on a nice pass, allowing the Mocs to make the score 5-1 in favor of Kentucky.
#5 Williams would continue to put on a show in the second quarter; stopping a behind the back shot from Kentucky’s #68 McKay, and also taking a solid shot to the face, but not letting the ball cross the line.
With the score being 7-2 at the half in favor of the Wildcats, Kentucky sent in #48 at goalie. He would stop all but one shot the entire second half. Goals would be scored by #68 McKay, #16, #37, #66, #17, #3 and #41 as the Cats simply dominated the Mocs in the second half, with multiple players playing different positions. We even saw one of their goalies (#10) in at attack in the third quarter. The Cats would defeat the Mocs 15-3, and play Louisville for the 2019 Midwest South/Deep South Conference Championship.
Game 3: 2019 Midwest South/Deep South Conference Championship (Louisville vs Kentucky)
#30 Murphy would get Kentucky on the board first. Great defense and creating turnovers would lead to another Cats goal, very quickly after that. Just minutes in the Cards found themselves trailing 2-0. Louisville was able to regroup and create a strong offensive possession. #21 in at goalie for Kentucky made some great saves, but not one by #19 Mayer of Louisville. Mayer kept the Cards alive, bringing the score to 2-1 in favor of the Cats.
Louisville would then gift wrap a goal for the Cats. Five seconds into a penalty, the Cats scored to make it 3-1 Kentucky. Kentucky would add two more. One was by #16, as we took a behind the back pass from #30. #68 McKay would add the other, receiving a great pass from #22. The Cards had their best goalie in, but #35 Long was unable to stop the Kentucky dominance. Louisville couldn’t win a face-off, and their polls and defense as a whole were completely silent. No communication was being done defensively other than by #35 Long directing from the goal.
#21 at goalie for Kentucky was not pleased with a call made by the referee. While he was arguing with the ref about who should have possession of the ball, he failed to realize that not only did Louisville have the ball, but play had resumed. #14 Summers was able to catch him off guard and score for the Cards, bringing the score to 5-2 in favor of Kentucky. That would be the score at halftime. With #19 Mayer and #14 Summers recording the only goals for Louisville, it was as if Kentucky had found a way to simply shut down Louisville’s #5 Porter.
Two minutes into the third, #68 McKay make the score 6-2 in favor of Kentucky. At that point, the Louisville hope was gone. The Cards were playing as if they didn’t care. With over twenty-five minutes to play, the Cards were done. #30 Murphy took advantage of this and put another one in the net, making it 7-2.
#17 called a timeout from the sidelines for Kentucky. He then said, “Whoops, I can’t do that.” That alerted the referee, who blew the whistle and called illegal procedure on Kentucky. But, not even that could lift the Cards. The Cards would turn the ball over, and the Louisville defense would let #68 McKay score yet again! #16 would add another goal to end the third quarter, making the score 9-2 in favor of Kentucky. #10 came in at goalie for Louisville, as Louisville had gone over fifteen minutes without a goal.
The Cards took advantage of this goalie change, scoring on the first shot of the third quarter, but the momentum didn’t shift at all. #68 McKay found #3 for the goal with eleven minutes to play, making it 10-3 Kentucky. Finally, after being completely denied and shut down the entire game, #5 Porter was able to get himself onto the stats sheet for Louisville, scoring a goal with just over seven minutes to play. This would bring the score to 10-4 in favor of the Cats, and the Cats would use their dominating force and ball control to simply play with the Cards the last seven minutes, running the clock and making 10-4 the final score.
Kentucky would easily defeat Louisville by the score of 10-4 to claim the 2019 Midwest South/Deep South Conference Championship. This coming just three weeks after Louisville upset Kentucky by the score of 8-7, claiming a higher ranking than the Wildcats. However, rankings mean nothing when it comes to playoffs, and the Kentucky Wildcats are Elite Eight bound, claiming back-to-back Championships.