Soccer Tunes Up in Exhibition at Oakland
ROCHESTER, Mich. – The Kentucky soccer team continued preparations for the 2006 season on Saturday when it played a three-period exhibition against Oakland.
The Wildcats have been in training for a week before Saturday’s exhibition, which included three scoreless 35-minute periods. The team has one more week of practice before the season opener against Florida Atlantic on Aug. 25 in the UK Invitational.
The defense, which this year must replace all-conference players Brandon Stewart and Thomas Senecal as well as all-conference goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum, played well in allowing just three shots on goal on the afternoon.
Freshman keeper Dan Williams earned the start in goal and made one spectacular save in the 31st minute, before the rebound was fired on goal and senior Nathan Li cleared the shot off the line.
Oakland’s only other chance came in the 50th minute, but sophomore keeper Matt Troop got a hand on a cracked shot from 25 yards to deflect it over the crossbar.
Offensively, UK played without senior striker Riley O’Neill, who is expected to produce great things this season. In his place, freshman Mark Halma got the nod, one of four freshmen to start along with Williams, defender Barry Rice and midfielder Jase Griffiths. Both Halma and Rice were high school All-Americans last year.
Despite missing O’Neill, Kentucky created a number of dangerous chances but could not find the back of the net. In the eighth minute, junior Michael D’Agostino’s cross was just out of the reach of a streaking Masumi Turnbull, who would have had a great look on goal.
In the second period, junior Michael Strong had the top chance of the game. He beat a defender on the right flank, forcing the keeper off his line. Strong got past him as well, but was on a tough angle and sent a shot wide.
Sophomore Patrick Conyea sent a header over the crossbar in the 89th minute off a Karl Waasdrop cross, marking UK’s final true scoring threat.
For the game, Kentucky won seven corners and were often pushing forward en route to eight offsides calls.