Kentucky Men’s Soccer Begins 2016 at Marquette

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MILWAUKEE – The Kentucky men’s soccer team will begin the 2016 at Big East foe Marquette on Friday beginning at 8:05 p.m. ET. 

The match will be streamed live by Marquette.

The Setup
Kentucky enters 2016 returning 9 of 11 starters from a team that won the Conference USA regular-season, in addition to reaching the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row and third year of head coach Johan Cedergren’s four seasons in charge.

Kentucky went 12-5-2 (7-0-1 C-USA) last season. The Wildcats earned a 0-0 draw with SIU-E in the preseason opener and lost 3-0 to Northern Kentucky in the preseason finale last Sunday.

The Wildcats lost two 2015 regular starters: All-America goalkeeper Callum Irving and Kristoffer Tollefsen to graduation.

Marquette went 5-10-2 (1-7-1 Big East) in 2015.

Kentucky’s preseason expectations
Kentucky was selected as the conference coaches’ preseason favorite to win the league men’s soccer title in 2016. Wildcat senior midfielder Napo Matsoso was voted the Preseason Offensive Player of the Year.

Senior defender Jordan Wilson was also named to the NSCAA’s preseason watch list for the Mac Hermann award – the top individual honor in college soccer.

Matsoso is rated as one of the top seniors in the nation this season as he has proven to be an elite attacking player in his three previous seasons at UK. A season ago he earned All-Conference USA first-team honors for the second consecutive year. 

Matsoso started 15 games in midfield, leading the team with 14 points on four goals, three of which were game-winners, and six assists. 

He is joined on the annual preseason squad by teammates Stefan Stojkovic, and Wilson, who anchored a Wildcat back line that boasted a shutout percentage of 0.53 (11th, NCAA) and a team goals-against average of 0.66 (9th, NCAA) in 2015.

The precedent
Kentucky and Marquette have never played each other before. 

Kentucky is 14-10-1 all-time in regular-season openers, including a 2-1 win over Valparaiso in the opener a year ago.

Kentucky is 2-2 in season openers under Johan Cedergren.

Kentucky last won its first true road match of a season in 2012 at Louisville.

The best coverage of UK men's soccer is available via UKMensSoccer handles on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.