Gruenebaum Named MVP of National Championship Game
LEXINGTON Ė Kentucky menís soccer goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum was named the MVP of the Premier Development League national championship game after leading the Des Moines Menace past the El Paso Patriots to win the league championship.
A dramatic match that saw several good stops by both goalkeepers also saw an intense finish in the tiebreaker.
El Paso's Rodrigo Morin had his shot from the spot stopped by Gruenebaum in the second round to give Des Moines the advantage.
Des Moines' Cody Kother stepped up in the fifth round with the score level and sent his potential winner off the crossbar, banging down on the wrong side of the goalline, sending the tiebreaker into sudden death tied 4-4 after five rounds.
Both sides saw their sixth round shots find net but Daniel Casteneda's shot in the seventh was not far enough to the left for a diving Gruenebaum, who made the critical stop. Luke Frieberg knocked home the winner to give the Menace, in their 12th season, their first championship.
Gruenebaum is no stranger to making huge saves in the penalty kick format. In the 2003 NCAA Tournament, he made the biggest save of his Wildcat career to propel Kentucky past Cincinnati into the tournamentís second round. UK head coach Ian Collins described that save as the best he has ever seen.
Along with his Wildcat teammates, Gruenebaum reports to the Kentucky campus this week to begin preparations for the 2005 season, that opens at home against Louisville on Sept. 2. The Wildcats will host Oakland in an exhibition game on Aug. 27.