The Ohio State men’s soccer team took on No. 3 Kentucky Tuesday night, tasked with the challenge of facing a second consecutive top 10 team on their home pitch, and the prospects of doing so with a new look starting lineup born out of necessity.
Kentucky (11-1-1, 4-1-0 CUSA) proceeded to defeat Ohio State (1-11-2, 0-4-1 Big Ten) by the final score of 3–0.
Sophomore forward Joshua Jackson-Ketchup got the start on Tuesday, as he generally does, however, this time was different. Jackson-Ketchup received his first career start on defense at the right fullback position after junior defender Osman Fofanah was handed a red card in the last game against Michigan State.
Jackson-Ketchup was lined up to the far right of redshirt junior goalkeeper Parker Siegfried on Ohio State’s four-man back line.
“It’s just different because you’ve got to be aware, both offensively and defensively, of your positioning. You’ve got to communicate more than you do on the offensive side and that’s just more important,” Jackson-Ketchup said. “Organization is the key thing and coming into the week I was preparing to play fullback all week, you know getting used to the position, getting used to receiving the ball right close to the line and having a guy on my back at all times.”
Jackson-Ketchup did have experience as a defender and just had to get back into the mindset.
“I played it when I was younger and I’ve had some experience but I had to refresh my brain, let my body get used to it and I had to step up to the job because that’s what coach needed and I had to step up and do what I had to do,” Jackson-Ketchup said.
Junior midfielder Jack Holland was also inserted into the starting lineup to fill in Jackson-Ketchup’s usual position on the wing.
The Wildcats opened the scoring 12 minutes in when sophomore midfielder Kalil Elmedkhar found the bottom right corner off an assist from senior midfielder Sam Stockton.
Five minutes later, Kentucky struck again as freshman forward Jason Reyes blasted a shot from outside of 20 yards and snuck it in the upper right 90.
The Buckeyes held on for the final 28 minutes of the first half, and nearly found a goal off an opportunity in the 35th minute on a frantic scrum in front of the net.
Freshman forward Devyn Etling had the initial header saved by Kentucky sophomore goalkeeper Enrique Facusse, and then neither team could gain control of the ball as Ohio State junior defender CC Uche’s second shot was blocked by a Kentucky defender, before Facusse was able to jump on top of it.
“I thought we started the game really slow. Our first 20-25 minutes was not good. We gave them way too much respect. We looked slow to second balls, we read things really slow, it was after we spotted them two goals when we decided to play with commitment on both sides of the ball, both defensively and offensively,” Maisonneuve said. “We stepped it up and I thought we did fine the last 20 minutes, and then obviously coming out of here, the red card just changed everything, but it’s disappointing that we start games like that, we’ve got to find solutions to that.”
The second half got underway with an Ohio State player being given a red card for the second consecutive match. This time it was Holland in the 49th minute, forcing the Buckeyes to play a man down for the final 41 minutes.
The Wildcats took advantage almost immediately. Two minutes after the red card was shown to Holland, junior forward JJ Williams made it 3-0.
The highlight of the match for Ohio State came in the 71st minute. Elmedkhar broke free and went in alone on goal, but Siegfried stayed home and made a great save. Jackson-Ketchup then blocked the follow up shot before sophomore defender Jacob Goyen subsequently deflected away the third and final shot.
The Buckeyes will be back in action on Friday on the road at Maryland. The team will welcome back Fofanah after his one game absence, but will be without Holland for the match.