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UK Men's Soccer: Previewing The Defensemen/Goalkeepers

Senior Craig Pykett is one of UK's defensive leaders.

Senior Craig Pykett is one of UK's defensive leaders.

Aug. 15, 2003

UKAthletics.com concludes its three day preview of the 2003 men's soccer team with an in-depth look at the UK defense and goalkeepers.

Defensemen

The UK defense will probably be the most experienced group on the entire team as three of the teams' five seniors are defensemen, including Chris Austin, Craig Pykett and Steven McLay.

Austin has started in 38 of 53 games in his career at UK and should be the leader of the Wildcats' defensive unit.

"Chris has really progressed well since he came to UK," Collins said. "I expect him to do well this season."

Pykett, a Fox Point, Wis., native, began his career at Kentucky as a walk-on and has since become one of the most consistent, reliable players on the roster.

McLay comes to UK after spending his first three collegiate seasons at Virginia Intermont College. The Bristol, England native was a first-team all-Appalachian Athletic Conference selection in 2000. Coach Collins and his staff already have high expectations of McLay.

"Steven should be one of our leaders and I expect him to vie for individual honors," Collins said.

Other defensemen who should compete for significant playing time include sophomores Brandon Stewart, Tom Senecal and Adam Walker, as well as freshman Paul Begue. Stewart started in 18 contests as a freshman, missing one game due to injury. Senecal and Walker improved tremendously in the spring and Coach Collins expects big things from them in the upcoming season.

Goalkeepers

Several Cats will have the opportunity to replace all-American candidate Greg Raber in goal this season. The front-runner to replace Raber is sophomore Andy Gruenebaum. Gruenebaum started the final seven contests last season after Raber suffered a season ending injury against archrival Indiana. The Overland Park, Kan., native showed a lot of poise and maturity in goal, picking up three wins and recording 27 saves as a freshman playing against tough Mid-American Conference competition.

However, Gruenebaum will be strongly challenged for the starting goalie spot by UK transfer, Jarret Christie. Christie, a junior from Vancouver, British Columbia, played his first two collegiate seasons at McGill University in Montreal. In 2002, he was named first-team CIS Quebec Conference All-Star and he held the league's lowest goals against average (0.67) for the season. "Jarret brings us immediate experience in the goal," Collins said. "I expect him to compete hard for the starting spot."

First-year goalkeepers, Warren Lipka, Chad Prickett and redshirt freshman Brannan Sapp will also have the opportunity to compete for the starting goalkeeper position.

 

 

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