Editors Note: With the NCLL Fallball season underway and the NFL keeping me on my couch all weekend, we managed to get a hold of Mike Wells again this fall to capture as much Midwest/Deep South Conference action as possible. Mike not only takes great photos but keeps notes on all the action. Here’s his latest report.
Kentucky fans were out in large numbers to cheer on the Wildcats, as they took the field to take on Xavier. Despite winning the initial face-off, the Wildcats started off slow, and struggled to find a rhythm. Xavier was having the same issue. Missed passes, unnecessary turnovers and a lack of focus kept the scoreboard locked at 0-0.
Ryan Shahidehpour would break the silence and get Kentucky on the board with a 1-0 lead. There multiple mistakes being made by both teams following Shahidehpour’s goal.
Kentucky would go a man down for :30 seconds, allowing the Musketeers would take full advantage of that mistake. #6 Jack would respond by bringing the score to 1-1. The Xavier players were pumped! #7 Mitch of Xavier would steal the ball on the next Kentucky possession and just simply run over three Wildcats as he made his way down the field. Kentucky would have to call a timeout in order to refocus and gain their composure.
Kentucky would regain possession with the score still locked at 1-1. The ball would hit the post and bounce back into play on the Wildcats’ next shot. The Musketeers would then be called for a penalty, giving Kentucky the 1 man advantage for :30. Chaz would take advantage of the penalty and put Kentucky up 2-1.
The next few minutes of play would be solid play by both teams. Great stops by Cam McMillan in the Wildcats goal, and an Xavier defense that was communicating very nicely to stop the Wildcats. However, #22 Joey of Xavier would get one by Cam and even the score at 2-2. It was at this time that the Kentucky offense made adjustments, realizing that the Xavier team in front of them was not going to let them pass easily.
On the next Kentucky possession, the Xavier Goalie, #00 Derek would make a great stop, stepping right in front of the ball, but the ball landed on the ground in front of him and six players battled for possesion just outside of the crease. Thomas Murphy of Kentucky would gain possession and quickly send it past Derek, bringing the score to 3-2 in favor of the Wildcats. With :20 left until the half, Thomas would find himself with the ball behind the Xavier goal. Thomas got Derek to come out of the crease and try to force him to turn the ball over. Thomas would run right past him, towards the center of the field, and fire a no-look shot behind him and sink it in the back of the goal to bring the score to 4-2 in favor of Kentucky as the clock expired for the half.
Whatever adjustments Xavier made at the half, they were not enough to make a difference. The Wildcats would come out and score 4 unanswered goals against the Musketeers in the second half. Ben, Noah, Brice, and Lenny would each add a goal for the Wildcats, who led 8-2 late in the game. Jenkins of the Musketeers would add 2 more goals to the scoreboard (after some sweet passes from #7 Mitch), but it would not be enough to overcome the second half that was all Wildcats. An impressive last 7:00 minutes by Xavier on defense to keep the score at 8-4, but that would be the final score as the clock expired.