Mabika & Williams Sweep C-USA Players of the Week
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky Men’s Soccer best friends Aimé Mabika and JJ Williams swept the Conference USA Players of the Week awards on Monday.
They each played key roles in Kentucky’s 1-0 result over a Columbia side that returned nine starters from a squad that reached the 2017 NCAA Tournament Second Round last Friday.
Williams scored the winner, while Mabika returned to fitness to start in the center of a defense that kept a clean sheet.
The Mabika file
The 6-6, 215-pounder made his 2018 debut and made an immediate impact in the heart of the Kentucky defense, helping lead a back line that shut out a an experienced and accomplished Columbia team.
The UK defense limited Columbia to just four shots with only two of them requiring the slightest of goalkeeper intervention.
Mabika won 74 percent of the 19 challenges he made against Columbia. The center back won five of the six aerial challenges he made, and two of the three tackles he attempted.
He made 10 interceptions. He also showed of his exceptional skill on the ball completing all 18 of his non-attacking passes, doing so without any turnovers in his own half.
As a bonus, he proved to be a weapon for UK’s attacking buildup from the back, completing 60 percent of his attacking passes.
The Williams file
The junior co-captain scored the 1-0 game winner in the 58th minute against a Columbia side that returned nine starters from the team that last year made the 2017 NCAA Tournament Second Round.
Williams got onto the end of a ball that was crossed just beyond the reach of an onrushing Wildcat plus three Columbia defenders, eventually reaching the far post. There, the Montgomery, Alabama native hit it with his right foot on the half volley and into the roof of the net.
Williams scored his first goal of the 2018 season, and now has a team-best seven career goals.
Williams troubled the Columbia defense all night, firing six shots over 90 minutes, three of them on goal.
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