LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Behind the first career goals from veterans Gabriel Conelian and Steven Perinovic and the third goal of the year from senior Charley Pettys, the Kentucky men’s soccer team posted a dominating 3-1 win over East Tennessee State, on a pleasant Wednesday night at the UK Soccer Complex.
Kentucky (3-4-0) won its second consecutive game after besting No. 18 Louisville on the road last Friday, 1-0. The Wildcats had their offense come to life in the win over ETSU, getting the first career goals from Conelian and Perinovic, with Pettys adding a goal on a penalty in the 83rd minute. The goal was the third of the year for Pettys, who also assisted on Perinovic’s goal on a gorgeous cross into the box on a free kick.
UK also got a second consecutive lockdown performance from junior goalkeeper Jack Van Arsdale, who saved three shots with the lone goal allowed coming on a penalty kick. On the year, Van Arsdale has allowed five goals in five games, with a 1.10 goals-against average and 18 saves. The native of Richmond, Va., is coming off the UofL win, where he was named Conference USA Defensive Player of the Week and a member of the College Soccer News National Team of the Week.
The win for the Wildcats came against a stout ETSU club that had been tested before, as the Bucs sprang an upset over No. 17 UAB earlier in the year and tied a program record with four consecutive non-conference wins.
The Wildcats started the scoring late in the first half with Riggs feeding Conelian from the top of the 18-yard box where Conelian throttled a shot to the far post out of the reach of ETSU goalkeeper, Ryan Coulter.
At the start of the second, ETSU notched its first and ultimately only tally of the game when the Buccaneers were awarded a penalty kick. ETSU junior forward David Geno stepped up and found nylon for his fifth goal of the season.
With the score notted at one, the Kentucky offense was awarded a corner opportunity. From the far side of the 18-yard box, Pettys lofted a well-struck ball to a leaping Perniovic, who headed the ball diagonally to the far post putting the Wildcats up 2-1 in the 74th minute.
In the 83rd minute, Perinovic forced a penalty kick chance for the Wildcats. Pettys took the kick and beat Coulter with a hard-hit shot into the back of the net. The goal was the third of the year for Pettys and the seventh of his three-year UK career.
ETSU (4-3-0) got a save from Coulter in between the pipes, with the Bucs owning an 8-7 advantage in shots and a 6-5 mark in corner kicks.
GAME NOTES: Gabriel Conelian and Steven Perinovic each netted their first career goals … Tyler Riggs notched his second assist of the year, giving him 18 goals and seven assists in his career (43 points) … With 43 career points, Riggs ranks ninth in UK career history … Charley Pettys netted his third goal of the year and the seventh of his career … Pettys now has 23 points in his three-year UK career … Pettys completed his second penalty kick opportunity of the year … UK met ETSU for the first time in program history and is now 2-4 in 2012 against first-time opponents.