From UK Athletics
LEXINGTON, Ky. – JJ Williams scored his first goal of the season to give Kentucky an early lead, but Xavier clawed back to level terms midway through the first half and the match finished 1-1 in a midweek matchup of ranked teams on Wednesday at The Bell.
No. 15/21[i] Kentucky and RV/No. 23 Xavier each moved to 2017 records of won 5, lost 1, drew 2.
Williams, making his first start of the 2017 season, scored his first goal of the year about 10 minutes after the game commenced.
He stepped to the penalty spot after Connor Probert was brought down along the right side of the box on a break.
Williams sent the Xavier keeper diving to his right and hit the ball into the back of the net at the other side of goal to put UK ahead 1-0 early on.
But the visitors responded 17 minutes later when Simen Hestnes found Samson Sergi free in the box. The Xavier forward did well to head across the frame and in at the right to score his fifth goal of the season.
Kentucky looked the far more dangerous side through the second half, but Xavier did enough to frustrate the hosts through 110 minutes.
Kentucky’s best chance of the two overtime periods came a few minutes into the second stanza when Noah Hutchins wove his way to a pocket of space atop the box but he fired his shot high. Despite still throwing numbers into the Xavier box, UK just lacked a bit with the final ball and couldn’t quite break the deadlock.
“Playing a ranked team it’s always important to get a result,” Kevin Barajas said. “We had a little bit of trouble in the beginning, the first few minutes, but we figured it out with some time and some coaching. Overall I think we did well and could’ve gotten the win today.”
Kentucky drew Louisville 2-2 in it’s only other match against a then-ranked team this season.
Xavier is now unbeaten in its last seven matches – a run that includes wins over then-No. 22 Boston College. Xavier also beat then-No. 9 Georgetown in Cincinnati at the weekend in their Big East opener.
Kentucky and Xavier tied for the first time in their 13-game series, which now stands at 7-5-1.
UK had won the last meeting between the sides – 1-0 in overtime in Sept. 2014 at The Bell.
UK is 3-4-1 against XU at home all-time.
The next one
Kentucky will return to Conference USA play when it hosts Florida-Atlantic on Sunday at noon.