Soccer Opens 2011 Preseason

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LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Coming off a third-place finish in Conference USA a year ago, the Kentucky men's soccer team opened its 2011 season with the first day of preseason on Wednesday, consisting of training at the UK Soccer Complex and the Nutter Fieldhouse.

The Wildcats reported to campus on Tuesday for a day filled with meetings, physicals and paperwork. On Wednesday, they stepped onto the pitch for the first time in 2011, beginning with a conditioning test in the morning and followed by training in the late morning and in the evening.

"The beep test went very good," UK head coach Ian Collins said. "A lot of guys stayed in the summer and worked really hard. It is a fitness test, just one measure, one gauge on how guys are going to do and where they are at. Real impressed with the work load everyone did in the summer and it showed this morning."

The first morning training session was used as a scrimmage, while the team will focus on finishing in the second training session of the opening day of practice.

"It was great. It is great to get back out here," Collins said about the morning training session. "We have been talking about it for a while and now it is finally here. Everyone got out, everyone got after it. The energy level was high and good enthusiasm. I thought some really good pieces of play. But just like everyone else we have so much to work on. We have about 15 or 16 days before our first game, so we have a lot of work to do but it is great to be back out here. Everyone is real excited."

UK is coming off a third-place finish in the league in 2010, a year that saw C-USA place four teams in to the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats battled injuries throughout the beginning of the year but rebounded to post a 4-2-2 record in league play, to secure a postseason berth in the C-USA Tournament.

In 2010, UK was led by Dylan Asher, Tyler Beadle, Tyler Riggs and Matt Lodge, who each earned C-USA All-Conference accolades, with Asher earning a freshman All-America honor while anchoring the UK backline. Riggs led UK with five goals in his first collegiate season, while Lodge paced UK in scoring with four goals and three assists. UK defender Sam Brooks added three goals and an assist, including two game-winning tallies.

Kentucky opens its 2011 season on Aug. 26 with the season opener against Dayton at 7:30 p.m. ET at the UK Soccer Complex.