Men's Soccer Opens C-USA Play at Marshall on Wednesday
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- In the midst of a rugged stretch of the year where six of seven games will be played away from home, the Kentucky men’s soccer team opens up Conference USA play on Wednesday, traveling to face the Marshall Thundering Herd, with kickoff at Sam Hood Field set for 7 p.m. ET.
Kentucky (3-5-1, 0-0 C-USA) will face the Thundering Herd, a team that finished second in the standings a year ago, advancing to the C-USA Tournament. The Wildcats have played four of its last five matches away from the UK Soccer Complex and following the league lidlifter at Marshall, will continue its road swing at UAB on Saturday.
The Wildcats have played a tough non-conference schedule, facing several stout opponents, including No. 6 Louisville, No. 6 UConn, Loyola Marymount, Michigan, Evansville and Iona. UK has played five overtime games on the year, including a stretch of three consecutive extra-time contests before Wednesday’s game vs. UL.
On Wednesday, UK suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of sixth-ranked Louisville in front of 2,107 fans, the sixth-largest crowd in program annals.
UK has been led offensively by freshmen Tyler Riggs and Ellis Vienne, who pace the Wildcats with two goals each. Sophomores Matt Lodge and Jordan Rose have added a goal and an assist, while senior Drew Midkiff leads the team with two assists. Junior college transfer Sam Brooks has added a goal and an assist, while Cameron Wilder, David Harrison and Brendan Murphy have each tallied an assist. Midkiff, a native of Cincinnati, leads the team with 15 shots taken on the year.
In goal, freshman Tyler Beadle has posted a 1.27 goals-against average in nine games, allowing 12 goals and saving 29 shots. A native of Douglasville, Ga., Beadle has totaled three shutouts in his first nine collegiate contests.
Marshall (7-2-2, 2-1 C-USA) is off to a great start to the season under 16th-year head coach Bob Gray, who recently won his 400th career game. Marshall has posted wins over Oakland, Radford, VMI, Wright State, Memphis, Shawnee State and FIU. The Thundering Herd has tied games with Xavier and Liberty, suffering losses at East Tennessee State and against UCF. As a team, Marshall has a 0.69 goals-against average in 11 games, totaling 19 goals and 16.3 shots per game.
The Thundering Herd has been led offensively by Tom Jackson, who owns three goals and three assists. Jordan Hilgefort has a team-best four goal, while Sammy Boateng owns three assists and one goal. In goal, Daniel Withrow has posted a 0.69 goals-against average in 11 games, allowing only eight goals and charting five clean sheets.
The Wildcats lead the all-time series with Marshall, 13-6-3, winning two of the last three meetings. Last year, Marshall rode a golden goal from Dustin Dawes in double overtime for a 1-0 win over then-ranked No. 22 Kentucky. UK owned a 13-5 advantage in shots and a 4-1 lead in corner kicks during the 2009 meeting.