No. 21 Soccer Travels to No. 3 Creighton for Major Test
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- No. 21 Kentucky - ranked second in the NCAA in goals scored - and No. 3 Creighton - ranked first in the NCAA in goals-against - face off in a colossal tilt, set for Wednesday with kickoff at 8 p.m. ET at Morrison Stadium.
The game will mark a matchup of the Wildcats, who as of Tuesday ranked No. 2 in the NCAA with 22 goals through nine games, and the Jays, who are the only team left in collegiate soccer to not allow a goal through six contests. UK's 22 goals in nine games is on pace to threaten the school record of 49 goals set in 22 games in 1995.
Kentucky (6-2-1) is coming off a two-game stretch in Columbia, S.C., where the Wildcats posted seven goals scored in a dominating performance at the 2011 Gamecock Classic. UK totaled a 2-1 overtime win over High Point on Friday night, before shellacking No. 15 Brown with a 5-1 win to win the Gamecock Classic.
The Wildcats have been paced by an explosive offense that ranks as the league leader in nearly every offensive category. UK has totaled 22 goals through nine games, ranking No. 2 in the NCAA and averaging 2.44 goals per game and 17.9 shots per contest, including a 69-33 advantage in corner kicks. Defensively, UK has battled injuries but maintains a 1.55 goals-against average.
Individually, Tyler Riggs has led the UK offensive charge with his nation-leading 20 points, including eight goals and four assists, with 19 of his 25 shots coming on target. Matt Lodge has six goals and five assists, leading the team with 48 shots. Charles Pettys leads the NCAA with his six assists, while senior C.J. Tappel has one goal and four assists, ranking No. 9 in the NCAA in assists. Josh Mulvany, despite only playing in five games, has two assists and one goal, while Josh McCrary, Sam Brooks and Steve Cabos each have a goal and an assist. Brendan Murphy and Brad Walker have added a goal each, with Jacob Kemper and Dylan Asher totaling two assists each. Jonathan Brown and Cameron Wilder round out UK's scoring with an assist each.
In between the pipes, sophomore All-Conference USA netminder Tyler Beadle has 22 saves in seven games, with a 1.42 goals-against average and one clean sheet. Backup keeper Jack Van Arsdale has a 2.00 goals-against average in two games, saving three shots.
The game will be held at gorgeous Morrison Stadium, considered the top venue in collegiate soccer. Through three home games in 2011, Creighton is averaging 4,064 fans per game, including 5,425 fans for a 3-0 win over Drexel on Sept. 4. The Jays annually rank among the NCAA leaders in attendance, checking in eighth in 2010 in total attendance. Overall at Morrison Stadium, the Jays own wins in an eye-popping 79-percent (63-13-12) of its home games since opening the facility. Through three home games, the Jays are averaging 4,064 fans per game at downtown Morrison Stadium.
Creighton (6-0-0) enters the game as arguably the hottest team in the NCAA, owning an unbeaten slate and as the only team left in college soccer to not allow a goal, presenting a massive challenge for UK's explosive offensive attack. Creighton has scored 14 goals in six games, firing 15 shots per game and owning a 31-15 advantage in corner kicks. The Jays own the perfect 0.00 goals-against average, behind starter Brian Holt's 20 saves. Offensively, Ethan Finlay leads the Jays with four goals and three assists, while Burno Castro has three goals and three assists. Jose Gomez has two goals and two assists, while Greg Jordan has two goals and one assist.
In the NCAA stats, UK is ranked second in the NCAA in total goals (22), and will face a Jays team that ranks first in fewest goals allowed (zero). Individually in the NCAA tallies, Riggs ranks first in total points (20), second in total goals (eight), ninth in total assists (four) and No. 10 in points per game (2.22). Lodge ranks No. 4 in the NCAA in total points (17), seventh in total goals (seven), third in total assists (five) and 24th in points per game (1.89). Pettys leads the nation in assists (six), while Tappel owns four assists to rank ninth in the NCAA.
UK ranks throughout the Conference USA stats, with the team checking in as the league leader in shots (161), points (75), goals (22), assists (31), assists per game (3.44) and corner kicks (69). Individually, Lodge leads the conference in shots (48), shots per game (5.33), ranking third in points (17), third in points per game (1.89), third in goals (six), fourth in goals per game (0.67), third in assists (five) and fourth in game-winning goals (two). Riggs leads the conference in points (20), ranking second in points per game (2.22), second in goals (eight), second in goals per game (0.89), fourth in assists (four), fourth in shots (25) and fourth in game-winning tallies (two).
The meeting with Creighton will mark UK's second all-time meeting with the Jays, as UK fell 4-1 in 2002.