Oct. 23, 2013
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LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Sophomore goalkeeper Callum Irving saved a career-high seven shots - including six in the second half - to lead Kentucky to a scoreless tie with Tulsa, on a cold Wednesday night at the UK Soccer Complex.
Kentucky (4-7-2, 1-2-2 Conference USA) played the high-octane Golden Hurricane to a scoreless draw in a conference tilt on Wednesday night, with Irving providing the heroics in goal. UK got a seven-save performance from Irving, a native of Vancouver, British Columbia, eclipsing his previous career best by one save. The Wildcats are now unbeaten in their last three games with Tulsa, losing just once in the last five tilts with the Golden Hurricane.
"I'm just doing what I can to help the team," Irving said. "Today I had to make a few saves and I was happy that I was able to contribute to the draw and our success today. Personally I am just, every game, trying to help the team. For me to be able to make some crucial saves to keep our team in it makes me feel like I am really contributing."
The shutout for the Wildcats marked their fourth of the year, with Irving sparking UK's clean sheets in each contest. Irving now has five shutouts in his 11-game, two-year career. In his nine games in 2013, Irving has a 0.94 goals-against average, allowing nine goals and saving 26 shots.
"That was one of the toughest opponents we have played," Irving said. "Up front, they have a lot of good attacking players. We stayed focused the whole time. Everyone was talking and communicating, which is a big upgrade from the beginning of the season. Communication was really good today."
Tulsa (7-5-2, 2-3-1 C-USA) suffered its first tie of the year in league action, with the Wildcats holding the Golden Hurricane scoreless for the first time since a 1-0 loss to No. 20 New Mexico. Tulsa had only been shut out twice in 2013, including a season-opening loss at No. 6 Creighton on Aug. 30. TU entered the tilt with UK ranking first in the league in shots, second in points and second in goals, netting 25 goals in its first 13 games of the year.
"Whenever we play Tulsa it is a good game," UK preseason All-America center back Steven Perinovic said. "They are real dynamic in the attack. It is about sorting out, talking and communicating everywhere around the field. Today we did a pretty good job at that. Cally had a good game; he had a career high in saves. Our defense was real cohesive tonight. Everyone worked real hard and that is all you can ask for."
The defensive performance for the Wildcats was spearheaded by Irving in goal, with UK's backline of Perinovic, Jordan Wilson, Alex Bumpus and Isak Krogstad helping the Wildcats to the shutout. Perinovic won 9-of-11 contested header attempts in the game and has now won 80-percent (106-for-133) on the year.
UK started three midfielders, including Brad Doliner, Napo Matsoso and Bryan Celis, with forwards Tyler Riggs, Ryan Creel and Jacob Scearce combining for four shots. UK's iron-man crew did not make a sub over the final 65 minutes, consisting of the second half and two overtime periods. Bumpus, Perinovic, Wilson, Matsoso, Kogstad and Doliner each worked the full 110 minutes.
Tulsa finished with a 17-10 advantage in shots and an 11-2 advantage in corner kicks, with UK winning the battle for shots in 10 of 13 games in 2013.
Kentucky will return to action on Saturday, hosting Florida International at 7 p.m. ET at the UK Soccer Complex.
GAME NOTES: Freshmen Matt Quick and Sam Miller were UK's first subs of the game ... The all-time series with Tulsa is tied, 6-6-2, including a 2-2-1 mark in games played in Lexington ... UK is currently unbeaten vs. Tulsa in its last three meetings and in four of the last five meetings ... Sophomore Callum Irving notched his fourth shutout of the year to lower his goals-against average to 0.94 ... Irving now has five shutouts in his 11-start UK career ... Senior center back Steven Perinovic won 9-of-11 contested header attempts and has now won 106-of-133 contested header attempts in 2013 (80-percent) ... UK was outshot for just the third time in 13 games in 2013 ... UK is now 3-2-2 at the UK Soccer Complex in 2013 and are unbeaten in its last three home tilts.