Soccer Continues Title Hunt at No. 5 SMU Saturday
DALLAS -- After posting a dramatic, comeback win over two-time defending conference champion No. 17 Tulsa on Wednesday, the Kentucky men's soccer team continues its hunt for the Conference USA regular-season championship, facing league frontrunner, No. 5 SMU, with kickoff at Westcott Field slated for 8 p.m. ET on Saturday.
Kentucky (6-6-4, 3-1-2 C-USA) finds itself squarely in the hunt for the C-USA regular-season title, sitting just five points shy of league-leader SMU with two games to play. UK sits in third place currently with 11 points, with SMU owning 15 points and UCF (4-0-2) totaling 14 points. All three teams have two games remaining in league action, with UK facing SMU before hosting South Carolina (3-2-1, 10 points) on Nov. 7 on senior day. UCF hosts UAB (2-3-0, 6 points) on Friday night at 5:30 p.m. ET, before finishing the regular season at Tulsa. SMU will host the Wildcats before traveling to Miami to face FIU (1-5-0, 3 points).
The Wildcats are coming off a thrilling win at Tulsa on Wednesday, falling behind by a goal in the second half, before using a furious rally in the second half to claim the high-valued win on the road at the high-powered Golden Hurricane. UK got a game-tying goal from freshman Tyler Riggs and sophomore Matt Lodge, a 2009 freshman All-American, lifted UK to the win with a game-winning, free-kick goal.
SMU (13-1-0, 5-1-0 C-USA) is one of the top teams in the nation, ranking No. 2 in the latest NCAA RPI, entering the week. The Mustangs have suffered only one loss on the year, falling at UCF, a team UK tied 1-1. SMU owns wins over Seattle, Creighton, UAB, Jacksonville, South Carolina, Marshall, Tulsa and Memphis on the year. As a team, SMU has averaged 2.50 goals scored per game and a total of 15.8 shots per game.
Juan Castillo leads the Mustangs with nine goals and three assists on the year, with Arthur Ivo totaling seven goals and four assists. Josue Soto has four goals and a team-best six assists. Robbie Derschang has five goals and two assists and Zach Barnes has four goals. In goal, senior captain Craig Hill has allowed 16 goals in 14 games, charting a 1.13 goals-against average with 47 saves and two shutouts.
Riggs, a native of Louisville, Ky., owns a team-leading five goals in 16 games and 11 starts. Lodge owns 10 points on the year, with four goals and two assists, while junior college transfer Sam Brooks has totaled three goals and one assist. Sophomore Jordan Rose has a team-best three assists, adding one game-winning goal. Freshman Ellis Vienne has added two goals in 12 games and 11 starts, while Charles Pettys, a transfer from UC Santa Barbara, has totaled one goal and one assist. Senior Drew Midkiff has added two assists and junior defender Brad Walker, a 6-foot-4 native of Sydney, Australia, has totaled a career-best two assists.
In goal, freshman Tyler Beadle has had a dynamic season in between the pipes, totaling a 1.11 goals-against average in his first 16 collegiate games. Beadle, a native of Douglasville, Ga., has totaled 58 saves, charting four shutouts.
The win over Tulsa on Wednesday was UK's first since the 2006 season, as UK had not posted a win over the Golden Hurricane in five consecutive meetings. UK has owned the series with SMU recently, charting three consecutive wins over SMU. UK opened the series with the Mustangs losing five consecutive meetings, before a breakthrough win in Lexington in 2007, as UK rode two goals from Tim Crone in a 2-1 comeback win over then No. 1 ranked SMU.
Fans can follow the game through live stats and a live interactive blog on UKathletics.com.