Albers, Rice and Williams Highlight Soccer's Win on Senior Day Sunday
Nov. 8, 2009
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The Kentucky men’s soccer team got goals from All-American defender Barry Rice and junior Josh Albers and the seventh shutout of the year for goalkeeper Dan Williams, as UK cruised to a 2-0 win over non-conference foe High Point in the regular-season finale, on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon in front of 790 fans at the UK Soccer Complex.
Kentucky (13-5-0) notched its fifth consecutive win, the third-longest winning streak in the history of the program. By virtue of UK’s win over SMU Wednesday afternoon, the Wildcats clinched the four-seed in the 2009 Conference USA Tournament, hosted by No. 14 Tulsa. UK will face the Golden Hurricane at 8:30 p.m. ET Friday at the Hurricane Soccer and Track Complex.
Rice and Albers each got goals, with Albers first career goal serving as the game winner in the 29th minute. Rice, a first-team preseason All-America defender, got his second goal of the year, the 12th goal his career and the 31st point of his career with the goal. Williams, a four-year starter in goal, charted his seventh shutout of the season and the 21st clean sheet of his career, just one shutout shy of the UK career record, held by Brian O’Leary and 2008 MLS Cup Champion Andy Gruenebaum.
A senior and native of Parma, Ohio, Rice got UK’s second goal in the 70th minute, as senior Chad Hagerty lofted a cross towards the far corner of the box, with Rice leaping to deliver a hard-hit and perfectly-placed header into the far corner of the net for the 2-0 UK lead. The assist marked Hagerty’s first of the season and the eighth of his career.
Albers, a native of Cincinnati, got the Wildcats on the scoreboard first in the 29th frame, as he took Matt Lodge’s rebounded shot and put it back into the net with a low, hard-hit shot into the net at the near post. The goal was Albers’ first of the year and the assist marked the second of the year for Lodge, who leads UK with six goals and two assists in his freshman campaign.
Williams, a native of Fairfax Station, Va., saved five shots in the game, facing nine total High Point efforts, while Panthers keeper Michael Chesler saved eight UK shots, while facing 21 UK attempts. UK finished with 10 shots on goals and 10 corner kicks.
The UK wins snaps a three-match unbeaten streak for High Point (9-6-2), a team that finished second in the challenging Big South Conference to Coastal Carolina.
Rice and senior Marco dos Santos led UK with four shots each, with all four of Rice’s attempts coming on goal. Albers and senior George Davis IV each had three shots, while Lodge, Taylor White and Josh McCrary each added multiple shots.
UK played 17 players in the game Sunday, but was without senior defender Tim Muessig, junior midfielder Tyler Burns, freshman defender Chris Jumalon and several other players who sat out in an effort to rest before the conference tournament opener Friday. The game snaps a 38-game consecutive starting streak for Muessig, a native of Lexington who had started and played in all 38 games of his UK career. Muessig, a 2009 ESPN The Magazine first-team Academic All-District selection, sat out Sunday while nursing a minor injury.
Rice won 7-of-8 contested header attempts in the game, bringing his season total (stat kept in 16-of-UK’s 18 games) up to 119-of-144 contested header attempts won in 2009, good for an 83-percent clip. Last year Rice, the only two-time C-USA Defensive Player of the Year in league history, won 189-of-218 contested header attempts, an 87-percent mark.