UK Men's Soccer Notebook: Wildcats Ranked No. 21

Nov. 18, 2008

LEXINGTON, Ky, - The Kentucky men's soccer team wrapped up its 2008 season with a final No. 21 national ranking, the third-most goals in program history, the fifth-best goals-against average in season annals and a runner-up finish in the Conference USA Championship game.

Kentucky (12-4-5, 6-1-1 C-USA) became the only ranked team to be left out of the NCAA Tournament, when the NCAA released its 48-team NCAA field on Monday night. The Wildcats wrapped up a historic season that saw UK rewrite the record books with a potent offensive attack and typically stingy defense.

A Note from UK Head Coach Ian Collins

UK Soccer Fans,

I want to thank many people who made this year special. Our seniors have poured their heart and soul into everything and I want to thank them for their efforts and they will be missed. Each of them will be great successes in their future endeavors and we are proud of them. I want to thank the UK student population for attending our games and making the UK Soccer Complex a special place to play. Our fans have consistently turned out in large numbers and been fantastic. Everyone in our program is very appreciative of your support.

We enjoyed a good season, finishing second in the regular season of C-USA going 6-1-1 and losing to seventh-ranked Tulsa in penalty kicks in the C-USA Tournament final this past weekend. We played three games on television including our first-ever game on Fox Soccer Channel and hope to do the same next season.

We are disappointed about our exclusion from the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA Committee has a difficult job and it is often a thankless one. Even though we are extremely disappointed, we must respect their decision and begin preparations for next season. We felt the results that we earned going 3-3-2 against ranked teams, including beating NCAA tournament seeded Michigan and tying seeded Indiana on the road, as well as finishing second in the C-USA regular season to NCAA participant Tulsa and losing in the Conference Tournament final on penalty kicks to Tulsa, would have held us in good standing. We also scheduled and traveled out west to play UC Santa Barbara (NCAA Tournament national seed) and Cal Poly (NCAA Tournament participant) as well as Michigan, Indiana (away) and Cincinnati (away) and a tough conference schedule that including victories over SMU (away) and South Carolina.

We went unbeaten in our last 10 games, a school-record, which is a testament to our players and how they dug in and they responded to the challenge.

We are the only team in the latest Soccer America (No. 21), College Soccer News (No. 24) and Soccer Times Coaches poll (No. 21) not to be invited to the NCAA tournament. These polls represent what a cross section of soccer people nationwide think of our program and our results for this season.

This is the second time in three years we have experienced these emotions. Two years ago we finished 14-5-2 and were ranked in all four major polls, including finishing 13th in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll and we were not invited to the tournament. We can only use these experiences in a positive manner and to motivate us for the 2009 season. We have a great group of players returning and will be adding some outstanding players to our roster.

We look forward to seeing you out again next year at the UK Soccer Complex.

UK Head Coach Ian Collins

Kentucky Finishes Season Ranked No. 21
For the second time in the last three years, the Kentucky men's soccer team has finished its season ranked in the top-25, checking in No. 21 nationally in the latest Soccer America poll.

Kentucky checks in No. 24 in the College Soccer News Poll and No. 24 in the Soccer Times Poll. UK, which finished No. 13 in 2006, became the only team in the Soccer America poll not selected for the NCAA Tournament.

Soccer America Top-25 (2008 UK Opponents in Bold)
1. Wake Forest
2. Creighton
3. Maryland
4. Akron
5. South Florida
6. Tulsa
7. UC Irvine
8.  Michigan State
9.  St. John's
10. Loyola (Md.)
11. UCLA
12. California
13. Notre Dame
14. Indiana
14. UIC
15. Northwestern
16. Michigan
17. Dayton
18. George Mason
19. Virginia
20. UC Santa Barbara

22. UC Davis
23. Saint Louis
24. Connecticut
25. Campbell

Three Wildcats Make All-Tournament Team
After Kentucky's school-record 10 match unbeaten streak extended into the Conference USA Title game, UK placed three players on the C-USA All-Tournament team, including goalkeeper Dan Williams, forward Tim Crone and midfielder Jason Griffiths.

UK advanced to the C-USA Title game for the second time in the last three years, suffering a tie with No. 7 Tulsa, with the Golden Hurricane claiming the title on penalty kicks, 4-2. In 2006, Barry Rice and Masumi Turnbull were among the three players on the All-Tournament team.

Eric DeFreitas, Tulsa
Austin Neil, Tulsa
Ashley McInnes, Tulsa
Joe Salem, Tulsa
Dan Williams, Kentucky
Tim Crone, Kentucky
Jason Griffiths, Kentucky

Yaron Bacher, UCF
Kevan George, UCF
Blake Brettschneider, South Carolina
Jimmy Maurer, South Carolina

Final Season Record Update
Team Notes
- UK's 10-match unbeaten streak is a new school record, eclipsing the previous record of seven games, set in 1997, 1998 and 2004.
- UK's 41 goals scored ranks third-most all-time.
- Finished with 123 points in 2008, the fourth-most in UK season history.
- 41 assists in 2008 rank fourth in UK annals.
- Fired 284 shots in 2008, the third-most in program history.
- 109 corner kicks in 2008 check in tied for eight-most.
- 12 wins rank tied for the fifth-most in UK history.
- Four ties check in second all-time.
- Finished with a 0.80 goals-against average, the fifth-best total in UK history and the second-best average of any season total saw over 2,000 minutes logged.
- Eight shutouts in 2008 rank tied for the sixth-most shutouts in UK history.
- In a 6-0 win over Central Arkansas, UK totaled the sixth-most points (18), the fourth-most goals (6), the third-most goals in a half (4), the fifth-most assists (6) and the third-most assists in a half (5).

Individual Notes
- Michael Strong totaled a team-high nine goals and one assists - a total of 19 points.
- Strong finished with 47 career points, good for seventh-best all-time.
- Strong has 20 career goals, the sixth-most in program history.
- Stong has four career game-winning goals rank ninth-best.
- Strong's nine goals in 2008 rank tied for seventh-most in UK single-season history.
- Strong totaled five points against UCA, becoming the ninth player to total five points in a contest.
- After scoring in just 18 seconds at UAB, Strong's goal became the quickest goal scored in UK history.
- Masumi Turnbull finished his career with 17 assists, the third-most in program history.
- Turnbull's game-winning goal in the second overtime against FIU marked the 23rd all-time overtime goal.
- Dan Williams finished with 59 saves on the year and a 0.81 goals-against average, the 36th-best total in the NCAA.
- Williams now has 167 career saves, the fifth-most in program annals.
- Williams' 59 saves in 2008 rank tied for 10th-most all-time in UK single-season history.
- Williams' 0.81 goals-against average checks in tied with Andy Gruenebaum (2004) for the fourth-best total all-time.
- Williams has 14 career shutouts, fourth-best.
- Williams' seven shutouts in 2008 rank tied for fifth-most in season history.
- Williams' has a 1.16 career goals-against average, the fourth-best total in UK history.
- Tim Crone became the 16th player in UK soccer history to total three game winning goals in a season.
- Chad Hagerty led UK with six assists, becoming the eighth player in school history to total six assists in a season.
- Hagerty Became the 31st player in UK history to total two assists in a game.
- Taylor White had five points against UCA, becoming the ninth player in UK history to total five points in a contest.
- Stephen Beiro had the 22nd all-time overtime goal in UK history.
- Barry Rice has six career game-winning goals, the sixth-best total in UK history.

UK in the NCAA Stats
Kentucky finished the season ranked 22nd nationally in scoring offense, averaging 1.95 goals per game. UK's 0.81 goals-against average checked in 31st, claiming the 27th-best win-loss percentage in collegiate soccer.

Individually, Michael Strong ranked 92nd in points per game and 56th in goals per game. Dan Williams, the third-team All-Conference USA keeper, totaled the 36th-best goals-against average.

That's a Barry Rice Header Won
Junior defender Barry Rice became the first player in conference history to win C-USA Defensive Player of the Year in consecutive seasons, leading UK to a 0.80 goals-against average.

Rice, a native of Parma, Ohio, was been a fixture in the UK backline in 2008, using his physicality and athleticism to help anchor a stingy Wildcat defense. With Rice, a preseason All-American and member of the Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy Watch List, one of the better defenders in collegiate soccer, members of the UK staff were seeking for a better way to publicize Rice's impact on a game. And thus, the "Barry Rice Header Won Stat" was born, a stat in which Rice won 189-of-218 contested header attempts on the year, a staggering 87-percent clip.

Rice's most impressive game came in the regular-season finale against Memphis, when the defender won an amazing 32-of-36 contested header attempts, putting on an aeriel show that saw him win nearly every ball that came his way.

On the year, Rice finished with two goals and one assists, both goals serving as game winners. In his career Rice - who had seven goals in 2007 - has six game-winning goals.

Barry Rice Headers Won Game-by-Game
Central Arkansas 10-10
Detroit   7-7
UC Santa Barbara 6-6
Cal Poly  3-3
Cincinnati  12-12
Michigan  6-6
Alabama A&M  6-7
UNC-Asheville  13-14
Marshall  5-7
Xavier   7-8
Tulsa   2-2
South Carolina  5-8
UAB   9-10
UCF   11-12
FIU   11-15
Indiana   7-8
SMU   9-9
Memphis   32-36
Marshall  7-11
UCF    11-13
Tulsa   10-13
Total   189-for-218 87-Percent Won

UK Dominates C-USA Weekly Awards
Part of the historic season for UK in 2008 included a domination of the Conference USA weekly player of the week awards, as the Wildcats claimed a league-high six honors.

Goalkeeper Dan Williams won two C-USA Defensive Player of the Week honors, while Michael Strong, C.J. Tappel, Chad Hagerty and Tim Crone each earned C-USA Offensive Player of the Week accolades.