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UK MSOC: No. 4 Kentucky Downs Mercer 3-1

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Rouse scores second game winner of season 

LEXINGTON, Ky. – After relinquishing the match’s opening goal for the fourth time in five contests, No. 4 Kentucky surged back for its fourth consecutive victory with a 3-1 win over Mercer Wednesday night at Wendell & Vickie Bell Soccer Complex. 

The Wildcats move to 4-1 overall, while the Bears end their fall slate with a 1-4 record. 

Kentucky senior Bailey Rouse connected on his second game winner of the season, flanked by additional goals from Kalil ElMedkhar and Daniel Evans. 

Mercer’s lone goal of the night came via penalty kick by Dylan Gaither in the 15th minute, spearheaded by a foul on Kentucky defender Aimé Mabika against Trevor Martineau in the Wildcats’ box. 

Kentucky responded swiftly, however, by way of a textbook give-and-go between ElMedkhar and sophomore Eythor Bjorgolfsson in the 24th minute. ElMedkhar found the outstretched leg of the 6-foot-2 forward near the Mercer 18, leading to a volley back over the head of Bjorgolfsson and into open space, which allowed ElMedkhar to finish off the combination inside the near post. 

Rouse fed off the swing in momentum just five minutes later, corralling a header high out of the sky down to the foot of ElMedkhar. The Middletown, Delaware, native quickly found forward Mason Visconti with his back to the goal, leading to a precise one-touch pass from Visconti back to Rouse for the go-ahead score. 

Following a 2-1 lead at halftime, Kentucky fortified a comfortable victory in the 73rd minute with another dazzling display of teamwork. Bjorgolfsson countered a failed Mercer attack with a one-on-one race nearly to the opposing goal line, crossing the ball on the ground at the last moment and finding Evans for the excess goal in stride. 

In total, the Cats outshot the Bears 10-7 on the night, including 7-5 on goal. Senior goalkeeper Enrique Facusse put on a strong showing in his return to the starting lineup with four saves. Kentucky’s back line of Mabika, Leon Jones, Luis Grassow and Robert Screen played 90 minutes apiece. 

Kentucky will return to the Bell one last time this fall, hosting UAB (1-5) in a non-conference matchup on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET. 

For the latest on the Kentucky men’s soccer team, follow @UKMensSoccer on TwitterFacebook and Instagram, as well as on the web at UKAthletics.com. 

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