UK Soccer Trio of Captains Earn All-Region Honors

Dec. 12, 2008

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- After leading the No. 21 Kentucky men’s soccer team to the Conference USA title game and ranking among the national leaders in scoring offense and goals-against average, UK’s trio of junior captains – defender Barry Rice, midfielder Jason Griffiths and goalkeeper Dan Williams – have been tabbed All-Midwest Region, the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and adidas announced.

UK’s captain triumvirate helped lead the Wildcats to a magical season, cumulating in a runner-up finish in the C-USA championship, falling on penalty kicks to seventh-ranked Tulsa. The Wildcats finished the season ranked 17th in the NCAA in scoring offense and 31st nationally in goals-against average. Kentucky (12-4-5, 6-1-1 C-USA) finished the season setting the school-record for the longest unbeaten streak in program history, running up a 10-game mark. In addition, the Wildcats scored the third-most goals (41) all time and posted the fifth-best goals-against average (0.80) in school annals.

UK last had three players honored on the NSCAA All-Region team in 1999, when Lee Baker, Giovanni Fernandes and Ilkka Jantti were named NSCAA All-Mideast.

Rice, an All-America selection by in 2008, became the first player in conference history to win C-USA Defensive Player of the Year honors in consecutive seasons. A native of Parma, Ohio, Rice anchored a stingy Wildcat defense in 2008, while winning 189-of-218 contested header attempts, a staggering 87-percent clip. On the year, Rice totaled two goals and an assist, bringing his career totals to 10 goals and seven assists – including six career game-winning goals, the sixth-most in UK history. Rice, who earned NSCAA All-Midwest region honors in 2007, becomes the first UK player to earn all-region accolades in consecutive years since All-American Jamal Shteiwi was selected in 2003-04.

Griffiths, a first-team All-Conference USA selection in the midfield for coach Ian Collins’ 2008 club, was selected to the second team, the first all-region honor of his career. A junior and native of Bracknell, England, Griffiths solidified himself as one of the top midfielders in the collegiate game, totaling four goals and three assists, with each of his four goals coming on penalty kicks. In his career, Griffiths has netted 6-of-6 penalty kicks, while adding nine goals and nine assists.

Williams, a three-year starter in goal, posted an impressive 0.81 goals-against average, saving 59 shots and posting seven shutouts in 2008. A native of Fairfax Station, Va., Williams logged 1995 minutes, allowing only 18 goals, with two coming on penalty kicks and two coming on own goals. In his career, Williams has logged over 5000 minutes, posting 14 shutouts and a 1.16 goals-against average. Williams, whose goals-against average total ranked 36th in the NCAA in 2008, firmly implanted his name among the laundry list of highly-skilled goalkeepers at Kentucky, posting the fourth-best career goals-against average, the fifth-most career saves (167) and the fourth-most career shutouts (14) in UK history.

The Wildcats finished their season with a 4-2 penalty-kick defeat in the C-USA Championship game, falling to Tulsa at SMU’s Westcott Field after a 110-minute 1-1 draw. UK, ranked in the top 25 by three of the four major polls, was the only team ranked in the top 25 not to make the NCAA field of 48.

2008 NSCAA/adidas
NCAA Division I Men
All-Midwest Region

First Team   
Pos. Name Year School Hometown
K Steve Clark Sr. Oakland Mason, Mich.
D Chris Clements Sr. Tulsa Allen, Texas
D Ian Daniel Sr. Oakland Troy, Mich.
D Barry Rice Jr. Kentucky Parma, Ohio
D Chris Schuler Jr. Creighton Aurora, Ill.
M Andrei Gotsmanov Sr. Creighton Eagan, Minn.
M Piotr Nowak Sr. Oakland Sterling Heights, Mich.
M Joe Salem Jr. Tulsa Akron, Ohio
F Two-Boys Gumede Jr. UAB Durban, South Africa
F Ashley McInnes So. Tulsa Katy, Texas
F Garrett Webb Jr. Drake Prairie Village, Kan.
Second Team   
Pos. Name Year School Hometown
K Tyrel Lacey Sr. Tulsa Jenks, Okla.
D Grant Campbell Jr. Bradley Peoria, Ill.
D Seth Sinovic Sr. Creighton Leawood, Kan.
D Chris Taylor So. Tulsa Edmond, Okla.
M Jonah D. Andrade Sr. Western Illinois Miami, Fla.
M Jason Griffiths Jr. Kentucky Bracknell, England
M Bryan Perez Jr. UMKC Miami, Fla.
M Kevin Shrout Jr. Drake Lee's Summit, Mo.
F Brian Harris Sr. UMKC Edwardsville, Ill.
F Austin Neil Fr. Tulsa Broken Arrow, Okla.
F Jeff Thayer Jr. Creighton Omaha, Neb.
Third Team   
Pos. Name Year School Hometown
K Dan Williams Jr. Kentucky Fairfax Station, Va.
D Michael Coburn Sr. Memphis Dundalk, Ireland
D Julien Edwards Jr. Drake Ottawa, Ontario
D Nikola Katic Sr. Western Illinois Makarska, Croatia
M Luke Gorczyca Jr. Drake Overland Park, Kan.
M Jeff Harwell Sr. SMU Dallas, Texas
M Robby Lynch So. Evansville Carmel, Ind.
M Martin Sandell Sr. Oakland Oslo, Norway
F Mike Luttrull So. Evansville Indianapolis, Ind.
F Brad Peters Sr. Eastern Illinois St Charles, Mo.
F Stefan St. Louis Jr. Oakland Port of Spain, Trinidad