Men's Soccer Concludes Regular Season with South Carolina

Nov. 3, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- With a bye in the Conference USA men's soccer tournament on the line, the Kentucky men's soccer team will host South Carolina in the regular-season finale, with kickoff on Sunday slated for 1 p.m. ET at the UK Soccer Complex.

Kentucky (9-7-1, 4-2-1 C-USA) will conclude its regular season on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET with the Gamecocks. UK is coming off a hard-luck 1-0 loss to Central Florida on Wednesday night, with the Wildcats owning 23 shots in the game. UK's 23-shot setback was its first loss when shooting 20 or more times since 2000.

The game will be televised live by the UK/IMG Network, available on Fox Sports South regionally and on CWkyt-TV locally. Dave Baker (play-by-play) and former UK standout J.D. Stephenson (color) will call the game. A native of Tulsa, Okla., Stephenson ranks second in UK history with 79 starts and tied for 12th with four game-winning goals from 1999-02.

The Wildcats have been paced by an explosive offensive unit in 2012, netting 31 goals in 17 games, firing 13.2 shots per game and owning a 102-84 advantage in corner kicks. Defensively, UK boasts a 1.27 goals-against average.

Kentucky has been led offensively by junior forward Tyler Riggs, who has seven goals and four assists, firing 35 shots. Senior Matt Lodge has seven goals and two assists, adding three game-winning goals and a club-best 54 shots. Senior Charley Pettys has six goals and three assists, with senior Gabriel Conelian owning four goals and three assists. Junior Dylan Asher has four goals with freshman midfielder Bryan Celis adding a goal and three assists. Senior defender Jacob Kemper leads the team with five assists, while junior Steven Perinovic has a goal and freshman Dustin Scibilia adding a goal.

In between the pipes, junior goalkeeper Jack Van Arsdale has a 1.15 goals-against average in 15 games, saving 43 shots with four shutouts. Freshman Callum Irving has started three games with a 2.00 goals-against average, saving seven shots with one shutout.

South Carolina (4-11-2, 1-5-1 C-USA) enters the game on a six-game losing streak, with the Gamecocks falling out of contention for the C-USA Tournament. South Carolina has netted 19 goals in 17 games, owning 12.3 shots a game with opponents holding a 123-84 advantage in corner kicks. Defensively, South Carolina - a team that spent multiple weeks ranked in the polls early in the year - has a 1.87 goals-against average with four shutouts.

The Gamecocks own wins over College of Charleston, No. 2 New Mexico, Clemson and UCF. The Gamecocks has losses to No. 15 St. John's, Florida Gulf Coast, No. 5 Charlotte, Tulsa, SMU, No. 25 UAB, Marshall, Wofford, Memphis, No. 9 Coastal Carolina and No. 13 Wake Forest. USC has ties with No. 25 Northwestern and FIU.

Individually, South Carolina has been led in scoring by Bradlee Baladez, who has three goals and three assists. Braeden Troyer has three goals and one assist, with Jeffrey Torda adding two goals and three assists. Hunter Wyer owns two goals and two assists, with Snoopy Davidson charting two goals and one assist. Ryan Arambula has one goal and two assists with Trent Rieflin adding two assists.

In goal, Alex Long has played in 15 games with a 1.84 goals-against average, saving 48 shots with four shutouts. Robert Beebe has played in three games with a 2.00 goals-against average, saving seven shots with five goals allowed.

The all-time series with South Carolina and Kentucky is tied 4-4-2, including a 3-1-0 all-time record in games played in Lexington. Last year, UK and South Carolina battled to a 2-2 draw with USC needing to win to claim the regular-season title outright. With the tie, USC and UAB shared the title. UK played the game with 10 men after senior C.J. Tappel was awarded a red card in the 65th minute. Tappel scored in the 22nd minute to open the game, with Tyler Riggs hooking up with Dylan Asher on a go-ahead goal in the 75th minute. Mike Mangotic scored both goals for USC, with his tally in the 83rd minute evening up the game. South Carolina finished with a staggering 19-0 advantage in corner kicks in the game, outshooting UK 18-15. In the last meeting in Lexington in 2010, UK posted a 2-1 win, getting goals from Brad Walker and Brendan Murphy in the win, with Murphy's game-winning goal coming off a corner kick in the 87th minute. In 2009, Kentucky posted a 1-0 win in Columbia, getting a shutout from Dan Williams and a game-winning goal from Matt Lodge in the sixth minute.

UK will honor six seniors before the game, including Gabriel Conelian, Matt Lodge, Jacob Kemper, Charley Pettys, Byron Vega and Cameron Wilder. The group of seniors includes co-captains Lodge and Wilder, with Conelian, Kemper and Pettys consistent member of the starting lineup. Conelian, who suffered a season-ending injury 30 minutes into the season opener, has emerged as a goal-scoring weapon in 2012, with four goals and three assists, including a two-goal game at IPFW. Lodge will exit Kentucky among the top goal scorers, assist men and point scorers in program history and Kemper has excelled in a transition to outside back in coach Johan Cedergren's new attacking system. Pettys, in his third year at UK, has been a consistent goal-scoring option and attacking midfielder, boasting a perfect 3-for-3 on his penalty kick attempts. Vega, a versatile defender and midfielder, has been a leader in the program for the last four years, playing in 22 career games.

Kentucky entered the week ranked No. 27 in the NCAA in scoring offense and No. 32 in goals scored. UK currently ranks third in the league in points (87), second in goals scored (31) and fourth in goals-against average (1.27). Individually Matt Lodge ranks fourth in shots, ninth in points, eighth in goals and third in game-winning goals. Tyler Riggs ranks eighth in points, eighth n goals, while Jacob Kemper ranks sixth in assists. Jack Van Arsdale has the third-best goals-against average with his 0.97 goals-against average in C-USA games ranking second-best.

Kentucky senior midfielder Matt Lodge and junior forward Tyler Riggs have carved out a pair of the most explosive careers in program history, ranking among the tops in the UK record books. In addition to ranking among the leaders in the categories below, Lodge is the record holder with 191 career shots. UK junior keeper Jack Van Arsdale has also began to inch up the career record books for goals-against average.

    1. Greg Kotzbauer, 1991-93 (34g, 5a) - 73
    2. Riley O'Neill, 2003-06 (28g, 16a) - 72
    3. Jamal Shteiwi, 2001-04 (23g, 25a) - 71
    4. Toby McComas, 1993-96 (29g, 11a) - 69
    5. Brian Duasman, 1992-95 (23g, 22a) - 68  
    6. Matt Lodge, 2008-present (24g, 17a) - 65
    7. Tyler Riggs, 2009-present (23g, 9a) - 55

            1. Greg Kotzbauer, 1991-93 (34)
            2. Toby McComas, 1993-96 (29)
            3. Riley O'Neill, 2003-06 (28)
            4. Matt Lodge, 2008-present (24)
            5. Tyler Riggs, 2009-present (23)

            1. Jamal Shteiwi, 2001-04 (25)
            2. Brian Dausman, 1992-95 (22)
            3. Masumi Turnbull, 2005-08 (17)
                Matt Lodge, 2008-present (17)
            1. Riley O'Neill, 2003-06 (12)
            2. Toby McComas, 1993-96 (11)
            3. Jamal Shtewi, 2001-04 (9)
                Matt Lodge, 2008-present (9)
            5. Greg Kotzbauer, 1991-93 (8)
            6. Barry Rice, 2006-09 (7)
                Tim Crone, 2007-09 (7)
            8. Lee Baker, 1996-99 (6)
                Tyler Riggs, 2009-present (6)
            1. Greg Raber, 2001-02 (0.85)
            2. Andy Gruenebaum, 2002-05 (0.97)
            3. Dan Williams, 2006-09 (1.06)
            4. Chris West, 1994-98 (1.15)
            5. Brad Samelko, 2000-02 (1.19)
            6. Brian O'Leary, 1997-00 (1.24)
            7. Jack Van Arsdale, 2011-present (1.28)

Kentucky's 2012 season has already been a historic one, as the Wildcats have won the second-most road wins in program history, sporting a 6-2 record on the road. UK leads the conference in road wins, with its six wins away from the UK Soccer Complex the most since UK was 7-2 on the road in 1995. The Wildcats entered the win at Tulsa on Saturday night tied for the second-most road wins in the NCAA.

Kentucky's win at Tulsa on Saturday night came against a Golden Hurricane squad with a No. 16 RPI, pushing the Wildcats from a No. 18 RPI to a No. 14 as of Tuesday afternoon. The Wildcats also rank No. 13 in the strength of schedule in the latest Massey rankings. UK's No. 14 RPI is its highest in the modern-era history of the program (2003-present).   

Kentucky first-year head coach Johan Cedergren took over as the third coach in program history in December. UK opened up the season on the road at a Dayton, a wild 4-3 loss with all goals scored in the second half. The rugged schedule to open didn't stop there, as UK traveled to Columbia, S.C., to face No. 25 Northwestern (L, 1-2 ot) and No. 15 St. Johns (L, 0-1). After securing the first win in the Cedergren era in a 2-0 result vs. St. Joes on Sept. 2, UK again faced a stiff test in No. 4 Charlotte (L, 0-1). That left Kentucky with a 1-4 record to open up and the challenge of traveling to face No. 18 Louisville on the road, in front of 5,583 fans. UK responded with a 1-0 win and has sense changed its season around, boasting an 8-3-1 record since the 1-4 start, with a program-record three top-25 wins on the road. UK's stretch vaulted the Wildcats into the No. 14 RPI in the NCAA entering the UCF game on Wednesday.

Kentucky junior defender Steven Perinovic and senior midfielder Matt Lodge were honored after helping lead UK to a 2-0 win at No. 23 Tulsa on Saturday night. Perinovic, an anchor for the UK backline at center back, was named Conference USA Defensive Player of the Week for the first time in his career and to the College Soccer News National Team of the Week. Lodge, a native of Rossington, England, was named to the Top Drawer Soccer National Team of the Week after his game-winning goal at the Golden Hurricane, the ninth of his four-year career.

Kentucky has played a program record eight games against top-25 opponents in 2012 and with three wins has tied the school record for wins over top-25 foes. UK has wins at No. 18 Louisville, No. 25 UAB and No. 23 Tulsa, owning a 3-5 record against top-25 teams in 2012.