UK Soccer Enters Top 25 for First Time This Season

Oct. 22, 2014

LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Kentucky men's soccer team checked into the national top 25 for the first time in three seasons this week, having extended its winning-streak to four games with two more victories last week.

The Wildcats are ranked as high as No. 19 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/Continental Tire poll. UK ranks 23rd in the Soccer America poll and 24th in the College Soccer News poll. The Wildcats are ranked 25th in the Top Drawer Soccer composite poll, which accounts for five national polls.

The Wildcats were last ranked during the first week of October in 2011. Kentucky reached a high of No. 15 in the coaches' poll that season in early September.
UK moved into first place in Conference USA with two wins last week, including a 1-0 result over then-No. 9 New Mexico on Saturday. UK is the lone unbeaten team in league play with a W3 L0 D2 record against C-USA opponents. The Wildcats are 8-3-3 on the season.

The win over ninth-ranked New Mexico was the Wildcats' third road win over a top-25 opponent this season. UK also has wins at then-No. 1 Notre Dame and at No. 21 UAB this season.

Kentucky's three top-25 wins this season ties the school record set in 2012, which was head coach Johan Cedergen's first season.

The team's six-match unbeaten streak is the fifth longest in school history.

UK boasts one of the nation's top defenses, highlighted by its 0.41 goals against average, which ranks fifth-best nationally.

The Wildcats are tied for the second-most shutouts in the country on the season (9), and their shutout percentage of 0.64 per game (14 games) ranks eighth in the NCAA.

Senior striker Justin Laird was named Disney Soccer/NSCAA Player of the Week on Tuesday after he scored two goals, including the winner against New Mexico last week. Laird was C-USA Offensive Player of the Week on Monday, while junior goalkeeper Callum Irving earned the league's Defensive Player of the Week award.

Irving leads the conference in GAA, shutouts and shutout percentage.

UK will return to action Saturday, Oct. 25 with a trip to South Carolina in a C-USA matchup colloquially referred to as the Southeastern Conference Men's Soccer Championship. The Wildcats and Gamecocks are the only two SEC schools that sponsor men's soccer.