Men's Soccer Opens Postseason Play vs. Memphis

Nov. 6, 2012

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LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The Kentucky men’s soccer team will return to action with the opener of the Conference USA Tournament, traveling to Hoover, Ala., as the No. 5 seed, facing No. 4 seed Memphis on Wednesday at 6 p.m. ET at Regions Park.

Kentucky (9-8-1, 4-3-1 C-USA) has advanced to the C-USA Tournament for the seventh time in its eight years as a member, with UAB serving as the host, with the tourney to be played at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala. Regions Park is the home of the 2011 and 2012 NCAA College Cup and is annually the site of the Southeastern Conference baseball tournament as the long-time home of the Double-A Birmingham Barons.

The winner of the UK-Memphis game will advance to face No. 1 seed SMU. UK suffered a 2-0 loss at the Mustangs in 2012, despite a 12-7 advantage in shots, a 7-4 advantage in corner kicks and forcing SMU into five saves.

UK has appeared in the C-USA Tournament in each season since joining the league in 2004, missing only the 2011 campaign. UK owns a 4-4-2 all-time record in its six previous C-USA Tournament appearances, with its best finish as the runner-up coming in 2006 and 2008. In its last appearance, UK suffered a first-round loss to Tulsa in 2010 in Memphis, with UK’s last C-USA Tournament berth hosted by UAB coming in 2007, when UK fell to Marshall in the first round.

Kentucky is coming off a two-game week to end the regular-season, as the Wildcats suffered a pair of one-goal losses at the UK Soccer Complex. On Wednesday, despite recording 23 shots, UK suffered a 1-0 loss to UCF, with UK firing its most shots in a loss since 2000. On Sunday, UK needed to beat South Carolina to clinch a bye in the C-USA Tournament and suffered a narrow 1-0 loss, with the Gamecocks capitalizing on a penalty kick and escaping with the win despite UK owning a 10-0 advantage in corners.

The Wildcats have been paced by an offensive unit that has scored 1.72 goals per game, averaging 13.5 shots a contest and owning a 112-84 advantage in corner kicks. Defensively, UK has charted a 1.26 goals-against average, with five shutouts.

Individually, junior forward Tyler Riggs leads the club with seven goals and four assists. Senior Matt Lodge has seven goals and two assists, while senior Charley Pettys has six goals and three assists. Senior Gabriel Conelian has netted four goals with three assists, with junior Dylan Asher owning four goals. Freshman midfielder Bryan Celis has a goal and three assists, while senior defender Jacob Kemper paces the squad with five assists. Defender Steven Perinovic and Dustin Scibilia have each added a goal. Freshman Kristoffer Tollefsen has two assists, with Caleb Richardson, Jacob Scearce and Dylan Murphy each contributing an assist.

In goal, junior Jack Van Arsdale has had a tremendous season with a 1.14 goals-against average, with 45 saves and four shutouts. With his 1.14 goals-against average Van Arsdale currently owns the 11th-best single-season mark in school history. Freshman Callum Irving has started three games with a shutout and a 2.00 goals-against average.

Memphis (8-6-3, 4-2-2 C-USA) has been paced by an offensive attack that has 30 goals in 17 games. The Tigers have a 95-61 advantage in corner kicks and a 232-157 mark in shots. Defensively, Memphis has a 1.31 goals-against average. The Tigers are coming off a 2-1 win over No. 15 SMU to conclude the regular season and clinch a berth in the C-USA Tournament.

The Tigers have been led offensively by Mark Sherrod, who has 12 goals and four assists, owning three game-winning goals. Liam Collins has two goals and seven assists, while Chandler Gagno has four goals and one assist. Benjamin Cionsanski has four goals, while Lewis Ellis has added three goals and two assists. Jordan Johnson has charted a goal and four assists. In goal, Conor Hurley has started 14 games, with a 1.41 goals-against average. Cody Uzcategui has played in four games with a 0.87 goals-against average.

UK leads the all-time series, 5-4-2, including a 1-0 in its only meeting at a neutral site. In the last meeting between the two teams on Sept. 30 in Lexington, the two teams played to a 2-2 draw. Mark Sherrod netted his fifth goal of the year on an assist from Liam Collins in the 17th minute. UK responded with a Tyler Riggs goal in the 64th minute to even up the game, with Jacob Kemper and Charley Pettys assisting on the tally. Pettys assisted with Riggs and Bryan Celis to give UK the lead in the 66th minute, his fourth goal of the year. Memphis then tied up the game in the 78th minute on Benjamin Ciosanski. Memphis owned an 18-13 advantage in shots in the game and a 7-3 mark in corner kicks. UK appeared to win the game as the final seconds clicked down in the second overtime, with Riggs putting in a goal as the horn sounded but the goal was called off for offsides.

UK ranks No. 41 in the NCAA in scoring offense and No. 39 in total goals. In the C-USA stats, UK ranks fifth in shots, third in points, second in goals and fourth in goals-against average. In just C-USA games, UK ranks second in the circuit in goals-against average. Individually, Matt Lodge ranks third in shots, seventh in shots per game and eighth in goals. Tyler Riggs ranks eighth in points and eighth in goals, with Jacob Kemper ranking sixth in assists.

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 197 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 (1.26)

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.

The Wildcats currently check in with the No. 26 RPI in the nation, in rankings released on Monday afternoon. That puts UK third-best in the league, behind No. 18 Tulsa and No. 22 SMU. UK will face No. 56 Memphis on Wednesday, with the winner facing SMU. The Wildcats went 3-4 against top-30 RPI teams in 2012, owning wins over ranked foes (at No. 18 Louisville, No. 25 UAB and No. 23 Tulsa). Before a pair of one-goal losses last week, the Wildcats had soared to No. 14 in the NCAA RPI, their highest ranking in the modern-era (2003-present) of the program.

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.