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Andy Gruenebaum 2005 Player Journal

Gruenebaum
Senior goaltender Andy Gruenebaum will be keeping a player journal for ukathletics.com during the course of the 2005 season. Andy is from Overland Park, Kan., and was named as a preseason first team All-American this season. The entries appear below - the most recent will be at the top.


August: 30
September: 8 | 16 | 20 | 28
October: 5 | 10 | 26

October 26, 2005

Although the weather has not treated us well, the game had to go on this past Friday night. We were at home against Memphis, and the fans were treated to a doubleheader with our game preceeded by Senior night for the womans team. Congrats to the womans team for qualifying for the SEC's by the way. Anyway, although we outplayed Memphis, we found ourselves losing another heartbreaker with thirty seconds left in the first overtime.

The next day, we practiced hard to fix the errors from the night before. Coach stressed that it wasn't our work rate, but our choices that were letting us down. We needed to pressure the ball better, deny serves, and block shots more consistently. Also, the biggest factor coach stressed was our ability to dominate both boxes.

Sunday proved to be a must win for our squad, and after working out some issues, the team came out with the best half of soccer of the season. We knew however, that UAB was a very dangerous team with a lot of offensive weapons. Leading 2-0 at half, the mood in the locker room stayed upbeat and we wanted to put them away early in the second half. We came away with a 4-1 victory, but the real story was the conspiracy with Thomas Senecal and Brandon Stewart. Stilts took down one of their guys very late in the game inside our box, giving them the lone goal on the penalty kick. However, this allowed Dog to earn the game winner in the stat book. Consipiracy? I think so...

See you next week


October 10, 2005

Although the team is excited about playing at home finally, we are at a loss for words after the SMU game on Sunday. Never in my life have I experienced a loss like that one. After an unbelievable effort in the win against Tulsa, the team had to find a way to duplicate it on Sunday against SMU.

We took the lead very early against SMU and took the game into halftime up 1-0. However, Riles got a red card ten minutes into the second half, and they converted on a free kick a little bit after that. We had a good chance to win the game with twenty seconds left with a free kick in their half, but ended up losing the game with three seconds left on the clock. It was the most heartbreaking game I have ever been a part of because we needed that game. Although the game was at a minimum disappointing, we still are after a conference USA championship, and an NCAA birth. Hopefully this experience can only make us stronger.


October 5, 2005

This past weekend the team traveled all the way to Miami to play against FIU on Friday night. We knew that FIU would be a tough game, but we had a very good game plan going in and I feel like everyone could by into it. Although we were peppered with shots (35 against), we once again were in a position to win the game up 1-0 with under twenty minutes to go. However, unfortunately we had a penalty called against us and had to salvage a 1-1 tie.

After the FIU game, we boarded a bus and drove four hours through the night on our way to Orlando. Most of the team were asleep, but those that werent watched Blue Streak and had a few laughs.

The Central Florida game would prove to be one to learn from because once again we had a 1-0 lead with under twenty to go, and we gave up two goals within a five minute span. Looking ahead to next week, practice will prove to be demanding and we have to prepare to win both games against Tulsa and SMU, not just play them.

See you next week!


September 28, 2005

Our first game over the weekend was against the team that ended our season last year in the Mid-American Conference Tournament semifinals, Western Michigan.

Although we took the game to them for the majority of the match, there was no real killer instinct in the way we played. Needless to say, it was a very disappointing 0-0 tie. Although this was not the result we needed, we had another chance to put it right against Ohio State, ranked 11th in the nation, on Sunday.

We came out against Ohio State on our heels, but overall, we competed hard and held a 1-0 advantage for much of the game. Although the game ended in another tie (1-1), we seemed to have turned the corner as a team as we competed harder than any game this season, The atmosphere at the game was great, it had a post-season vibe to it. Although we seemed to turn the corner as a team, it is extremely important for us to maintain a level of consistency going into conference play this upcoming weekend.

On a lighter note, in practice Monday morning, Ben Langwith seemed to have forgotten to wash his clothes fully. From his waist down, he was covered in suds and the soap was lathered up all over his body. It made for a pretty good laugh. We have a very interesting team to say the most.


September 20, 2005

Coming off a very tough west coast trip, we were looking to rebound big in a mid-week game against Georgetown College. Although the team came out flat, we were able to finally break through on the scoreboard around thirty minutes in. Masumi Turnbull, with his first collegiate touch, drilled a free kick in the upper left corner of the goal. Congrats to “Mass” on his first collegiate goal. However, his second touch at the collegiate level was not as golden because he missed a chance from the penalty spot minutes later with a wicked one-mile-an-hour dribbler right at the goalie. The second half consisted of a lot more quality scoring chances from our end as we scored three second half goals for a final score of 4-0. We are now 3-0 at home, and we have not conceded a goal at home yet -- Knock On Wood! Also congratulations to Bingy Lara on his first collegiate game as well as Thomas Senecal and Michael Strong on their first goals of the season.

After the Georgetown game, we were looking to build upon a good second half against the against a good Michigan team on the road. Although we battled hard the entire game, we had three ejections in a one minute span as Coach Collins, Coach Wilkerson and Alex McDonald were ejected leaving us two coaches down and with ten men. We battled for forty minutes with a man down leaving regulation with a 0-0 tie. In overtime unfortunately, we came away with the short end of the stick as we gave up a goal late in the first overtime.

The game was a heartbreaker to lose, but it should also fuel us for the upcoming week against Western Michigan and a very good Ohio State team.

The bus ride home, although a bit sour, was interesting as it was full of life-changing advice from the coaching staff as we discussed the finer points of dating.

Since we didn’t have a Friday night game, the team showed its support for the women’s soccer team in their game against Marshall. Their were fans tail-gaiting and the student section was making it as uncomfortable as possible, without crossing the line, for the opposing team to perform. It made for a fun atmosphere. Congrats to the woman’s team for remaining unbeaten at this point in the season.

See you next week.


September 16, 2005

Our west coast trip is finally over as we came away from Oregon St. on somewhat of a sour note. Our first game against Gonzaga was a blur. The team came out real flat and perhaps too confident. As a result, we lost by a 3-1 count. After our performance, we that we had something to prove to not only the nation, but to ourselves most importantly. The good news is we had another chance to put it right on Saturday against Oregon State.

The team came out with as much energy as I have seen all year. We put ourselves in a good position by getting an early goal around fifteen minutes in as Brandon Stewart scored off a header on a corner kick. However, we would soon encounter a three hour storm delay that included lightning and hail.

As a side note, I have never seen college kids so giddy about hail and so anxious to put the hail in their mouths. I must say to freshman Ben Langwith, “Do not eat the yellow hail!” After the stoppage, we resumed the game on a very wet field.

Unfortunately, for the second game in a row, we gave up a goal at the end of the first half. OSU scored again as a shot was deflected by one of my defenders to the other corner of the goal (the guilty party name shall remain anonymous Thomas “Stilts” Senecal). After Riley O’Neill scored off a header to equalize (Congrats Riles on yet another goal), “Stilts” again tried to make things interesting by hand balling the ball in the box, knowing full well that I love trying to save penalty kicks. Luckily for the team, I did save the penalty, and we were able to come away with a tie, but the mood was somewhat dim considering we gave up five goals over the weekend.

It is also unfortunate that these things happened to “Stilts” for a couple of reasons. First, he played really well, in the second game especially. And second, I can no longer make fun of Nathan Marks for his contributions for the other team anymore as he also had an assist.

See you next week.


September 8, 2005

After much anticipation, many great things happened over the first weekend of the college soccer season. The Louisville game needed no hype as we set an attendance record of 3,227 fans. As for the game, "Stilts" (Thomas Senecal), "Dog" (Brandon Stewart) and myself have gone our playing careers without losing to Louisville. I hope all Kentucky players from here on out can say the same.

The game was as intense as advertised and there were opportunities each way. However, we had the better of the game possession wise, and Riles scored the lone goal as we came away with our first shutout of the season. The atmosphere was as crazy as its ever been and it there was no doubt in my mind that we would make it worthwile for the 3,000 plus in attendance. It was great to see Riley O'Neill take the field again and make an immediate impact. Congrats on the first goal Riles.

The very next night saw us take on a very good Alabama A & M team. Although we were very tired from the previous nights match, we new that an unfortunate result would take away all the positives from the night before. Nathan Marks, who I said would never score a collegiate goal in his life, tallied the game winner early in the game. (Even a blind squirrel finds a nut right?) Anyway, we came away with a very important 1-0 victory giving ourselves a second straight shutout.

Finally, this weekend will be another very important test to our teams character. We fly out to Oregon Thursday for two difficult matches against Oregon St. and Gonzaga. Both teams will present challenges, but a good result in both games is vital for our season. Although we have not previously had success on the west coast, I am extremely confident in our abilities as a team, and am sure we will take care of business.

Talk to you next week.


August 30, 2005

The new season is finally upon us (my last one) and this year has a new feeling. Perhaps it is because of all the new faces arriving on the squad.

This years squad welcomes numerous talented freshman as well as a few transfers. The bottom line is however, and the rest of the seniors can confirm this, they make me feel old. However, it is apparent that these new faces will prove to be the future of UK soccer.

After all the introductions, it was already time for our first pre-season game vs. Michigan State. We have never beaten the Spartans and in fact, we lose to them in the preseason every year by two goals exactly. However, this year was different as Stilts (Thomas Senecal) put home a knockdown goal to put us up by one.

We seemed to be heading to our first victory over the Spartans until three minutes to go when they tied the score. However, most of our young players were in the game and it proved to be a valuable lesson for them. Never before have I seen so many freshman thrown into any game, but that just proves how deep our squad will be this year.

Directly after the Michigan State game we departed for Kentucky Lake for our inaugural pre-season training at the lake. The first night of training it rained hard and training was delayed, but after a tough session the team was able to host a camp for a mentally challenged soccer team which put everything in perspective. Although the rest of the week was intense with training, one of our last days was spent on the lake, boating, jet-skiing, and cliff diving. It was one of the better team building trips of my five years here.

Our final preseason game was this past weekend against Oakland University. We prepared for it as if it were a regular season game, with our main goal being on improving from the past weekend against Michigan State The game was scoreless, but we looked more dangerous offensively, and were solid as ever defensively. Dog (Brandon Stewart), Stilts, and Nathan Li proved they are the best defensive group in the nation putting me to sleep with only a few saves to handle. Our reserves played an extra thirty minutes following the full 90 and were victorious with a 2-0 result. Congrats to Rob Victor, scoring his first collegiate goal, with many more to come. Matt Baum completed a beautiful sequence as well to score a good goal.

Finally, congrats to Dog for being named a player to watch in the Conference. This year looks as promising as ever and with myself, Stilts, Dog, and the rest of the team. The seniors want to go out making history.

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