by Michael Hadley
The IUPUI Men's Soccer team managed a 2-2 draw at No. 21 Kentucky to wrap up their stint in the University of Kentucky Tournament.
For the second year in a row, a ranked opponent failed to intimidate the Jaguars as they managed a draw on their opponents home field. Last year, IUPUI played Butler to a 0-0 tie, the Bulldog's first non-victory of the season. This time it was an SEC power, Kentucky, that didn't have enough to overcome 'David' from Indianapolis.
Despite the favorable finish, things didn't start the way IUPUI had hoped. Kentucky relentlessly attacked, spending nearly the entire first half hour in the Jaguar half. In the 16th minute, UK opened up the scoring when Matt Lodge took a half volley shot from ten yards out and beat Jaguar keeper Tyler Keever.
Exactly one minute after the Wildcat's ninth shot, the tide of the match turned. Kentucky had been imposing their will, but IUPUI managed to score against the run of play in the 30th minute when Perez Agaba played a ball to fellow forward Matt Guy who beat Kentucky's Jack Van Arsdale to the far post from the 16 yard box.
The two teams went into the locker room tied 1-1, but the momentum was in the Jaguar's favor. Out of the break, Perez Agaba managed to convert a penalty kick - booting the ball just under the crossbar and out of the reach of Van Arsdale - to put the visitors ahead in the 48th minute. The goal was Agaba's first of the season as the Ugandan forward is working his way back to full fitness.
From there, it was a waiting game for Keever and the rest of the Jaguar defense. They managed to deflect, block, and wish balls away from the net, even relying on the posts and crossbar a couple times. But Kentucky didn't receive a ranking of 21 for nothing, and they had just enough left in the tank to pull even. Jonathon Brown played a through ball to Tyler Riggs who was able to beat Keever in the 85th minute.
The teams finished the full 90 minutes at two goals a piece, but Mother Nature had something to say about overtime. Much like the college football games that had been stormed-out on Saturday, the weather was not going to permit IUPUI and Kentucky to battle it out in two overtime periods.
The draw moves IUPUI to 1-2-1, and 0-1-1 in September. The Jags won't see their home pitch in competition until the calendar flips to October. Things won't be any easier in their next match, as IUPUI takes on No. 1 Louisville at Cardinal Park Soccer and Track Stadium on September 9. The Cardinals most recently defeated No. 24 Wake Forest 2-0.
IUPUI 1 1 - 2
Kentucky 1 1 - 2