Men's Soccer Hosts No. 23 UCF Wednesday
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- In the midst of a crucial stretch of league action, the Kentucky men’s soccer team returns home, hosting No. 23 Central Florida, with kickoff Wednesday night slated for 7 p.m. ET at the UK Soccer Complex.
Kentucky (4-6-1, 1-1 Conference USA) is coming off a stretch of games where it played six of the last seven contests away from Lexington. UK returns home for a four-game stretch at the UK Soccer Complex, hosting conference foes UCF, Memphis and FIU during the stretch, also welcoming national power Indiana.
The game will be covered extensively on UKathletics.com, including live stats and an interactive live blog. Eric Lindsey, UK’s director of new media, will be on hand for the live blog from the UK Soccer Complex pressbox, which will start around kickoff.
On Sunday, UK faced its third ranked opponent of the year, traveling for a tilt at UAB. The Blazers got a goal late in the second half to take the lead, adding an insurance goal in the 87th minute. UK sophomore Matt Lodge got UK back in the game with a goal just 12 seconds after UAB’s second goal, but the Blazers were able to hold off the furious UK rally. In the conference opener last Wednesday, UK fell behind Marshall, courtesy of an own goal in the second half, before freshman Tyler Riggs evened up the game to force overtime. Junior-college transfer Sam Brooks netted the golden goal 51 seconds into overtime for the win.
The Wildcats have been led offensively by Riggs, who has three goals in his first 11 collegiate games. Brooks, Lodge and freshman Ellis Vienne each have two goals, with Brooks and Lodge adding an assist each. Redshirt sophomore Jordan Rose has a goal and an assist, while senior Drew Midkiff, who is out indefinitely due to injury, leads the team with two assists.
In goal for UK, freshman Tyler Beadle has totaled a 1.31 goals-against average in his first 11 games, allowing 15 goals and saving 36 shots, with three shutouts.
Kentucky has been playing with an extremely young and injury depleted team, as 63 percent of the minutes played by the Wildcats this season are from players in their first seasons at Kentucky. In addition, only six players have played in all 11 games this season. By comparison UK’s opponent last opponent, UAB, had 13 total players who had played in each game of its season. Of UK’s 18-man travel roster to UAB last week, only two players had played 15 or more career games, a decline from a year ago when UK had 11 players on its roster with 15 or more career outings. Also on the trip to UAB, the Wildcats were without 11 players due to injury, card accumulation or NCAA eligibility, 33 percent of their 2011 roster.
UK leads the series with UCF 5-1-1, posting five consecutive wins in the series. UK’s last loss to the Golden Knights came in 2005, a 2-1 result on the road. During the five-game winning streak in the series, UK has outscored UCF 10-5. The Wildcats have never lost to UCF at home in the series, owning a 2-0-1 record in Lexington against UCF, including a 1-1 tie in 2003.
In the last meeting between the two teams UK rode some late-game heroics to a 2-1 win at UCF in 2009, a game UK had to win to remain in contention for the league tournament. UK got the first goal of the game in the 73rd minute from Mark Lavery, with assists to Taylor White and Tim Crone. UCF countered with a goal in the 81st minute from Nik Robson, sending the contest to overtime on a hot night in Orlando. UK then got the golden goal from All-America defender Barry Rice with just 44 seconds remaining in the first overtime period, to get the win.
Central Florida (8-2-0, 4-0-0 C-USA) is currently riding a five-game winning streak and remains unbeaten in conference play. The Golden Knights largest win of the year came against No. 5 SMU, a 2-1 result at UCF. During its five-game winning streak, UCF posted wins at Army, Marshall and against SMU, FIU and Memphis. As a team, UCF has averaged 2.3 goals per game and 13.9 shots per game.
Individually, Robson leads the team with 21 points in 10 games, totaling a staggering seven goals and seven assists, including connecting on 3-of-3 penalty-kick attempts. Spencer Scott leads the team with five assists, ranking second on the club with 11 points, courtesy of three goals. Cameron Cooksey has four goals and one assist, while Yaron Bacher owns four assists and one goal. Warren Creavalle has added two goals and three assists. In goal, Shawn Doyle has allowed only six goals in 10 games, posting a 0.59 goals-against average with 27 saves and five shutouts.