No. 23 Soccer Faces No. 7 Tulsa for C-USA Championship Sunday
Nov. 15, 2008
DALLAS -- For the second time in the last three years, the No. 23 Kentucky men’s soccer team has advanced to the Conference USA Championship game, facing No. 7 Tulsa – the regular-season champion – on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET at SMU’s Westcott Field. The game will be televised LIVE on CBS College Sports.
Kentucky (12-4-4) is riding a new school-record nine-game unbeaten streak, with its last loss coming on Oct. 8 at Tulsa. The loss to Tulsa is UK’s lone blemish in C-USA action, with Tulsa running up a 7-0-1 league mark to secure the regular-season title. The Golden Hurricane is riding a school-record 13-game unbeaten streak, the longest in Tulsa school annals and its 15-3-2 record marks a new school-record for wins. UK last appeared in the C-USA Title game in 2006, falling to SMU.
The Wildcats posted a semifinal win over UCF on Friday night, a 1-0 result that saw UK dominate all 90 minutes of play, posting a 26-5 shot margin and a 14-3 corner kick margin. UK got a header goal from All-America defender Barry Rice in the 66th minute for the difference, off a cross from Jason Griffiths and Chad Hagerty. In the quarterfinal win on Wednesday over Marshall, UK got two goals from senior forward Michael Strong and goals from Tyler Burns and C.J. Tappel.
UK has been led offensively by Strong, who ranks tops on the team with 19 points – nine goals and one assist, despite battling injuries and logging 694 minutes with just eight starts. C-USA Newcomer of the Year Marco dos Santos – a native of Sao Paulo, Brazil – has totaled 13 points, with four goals and five assists. Junior Tim Crone has added five goals and two assists, while Griffiths has totaled four goals and three assists. Hagerty, a junior from Louisville, Ky., ranks as the club leader with six assists, with Sam Vernalls checking in with five dimes.
In goal, UK keeper Dan Williams – a three-year starter – has continued to dominate, posting a 0.81 goals-against average, saving 56 shots and totaling seven shutouts, the fifth-best total in UK season history. Williams, a third-team All-Conference USA selection in 2008, has 14 career shutouts, good for fourth-best in UK career annals. Rice, the 2007 and 2008 C-USA Defensive Player of the Year, has been a force on the backline all season, winning a total of 179-of-205 contested header attempts, an 87-percent clip. Rice became the first player in C-USA history to win the honor in two consecutive seasons.
Entering the conference tournament UK ranked 21st nationally in scoring offensive, averaging over two goals per game. With 40 goals on the year, UK has netted the fourth-most goals in single-season history. UK and Tulsa rank 1-2 in nearly every category in the conference, with UK checking in second in shots (273), second in points (121), second in goals (40), second in goals per game (2.00), second in assists (41), second in assists per game (2.05), third in goals allowed (17) and third in goals-against average (0.80).
Tulsa (15-3-2, 7-0-1 C-USA) has been led by 2008 C-USA Offensive Player of the Year Ashley Mcinnes, who has five goals and seven assists on the year. Austin Neil (10 goals, 4 assists), Jeovahnni Sandez (3 goals, 4 assists), Eric Defreitas (4 goals, 1 assist) and Jose Prada (5 goals, 5 assists) lead the scoring charge for the Golden Hurricane. In goal, first-team All-Conference USA keeper Tyrel Lacey has posted a 0.58 goals-against average, but has been stricken by injury in the tournament, with backup Andy Aguilar (1.23 GAA, 2 GA) toiling the majority of the two tourney games.
In the last meeting between the two teams – UK’s last loss – Tulsa used a penalty-kick goal and an own goal to defeat the Wildcats 2-1. Tulsa leads the all-time series 4-2, posting two consecutive wins in the series. UK totaled three straight wins from 2005-06, posting a 3-0 and 1-0 result in Tulsa in 2006 and a 2-1 win at the UK Soccer Complex in 2005.
The Wildcats have never claimed the C-USA Championship, having been an affiliate member since the 2005 season. UK owns three Mid American Conference Tournament titles.
Game Televised Live and Available Online
Conference USA and CBS College Sports Network have announced that the C-USA Men's Soccer Championship final between Kentucky and Tulsa, on Sunday at 2 p.m. CT in Dallas will be available live and on-demand around the world via Internet video streaming as part of a special online event.
Current annual subscribers to Kentucky All-Access will receive the broadcast for FREE as part of their annual package. Those subscribers can just log in with their Kentucky All-Access account and begin watching the game. All others can access the live video stream for a one-time payment of $7.95. Please note that monthly subscribers will have to purchase the pay-per-view.
The game also will be broadcast nationally on CBS College Sports Network.
The broadcast will be just one of nearly 100 events to be offered on a pay-per-view basis by CBS College Sports Network this fall. Those include 40 college and high school football games, as well as soccer and volleyball action. For a complete listing of available pay-per-views, visit www.cbssports.com/ppvonline.