Aug. 25, 2012
Interactive Live Blog from Dayton
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The Kentucky men’s soccer team will open up its 2012 season and the Johan Cedergren era on Sunday, traveling to face Dayton, with kickoff slated for 5 p.m. ET.
The Wildcats will open up the 2012 season with the Flyers on Sunday, with UK completing its one exhibition game of the year last Friday in a 2-2 tie with Northern Kentucky in front of 1,206 fans in Highland Heights. UK netted goals in the exhibition game from freshman forward Caleb Richardson and junior defender Steven Perinovic.
Kentucky will be facing the Flyers in the season lidlifter for the second consecutive season. In 2011, UK posted a 2-0 win in the opening game of the season, getting goals from Matt Lodge and Tyler Riggs. It was the first time regular-season meeting between the teams, who met annually in exhibition tune ups.
UK returns several of its top players from a 9-9-2 season in 2011, including top scorers Lodge, Riggs and Charley Pettys. UK also welcomes back preseason All-Conference USA defender Dylan Asher on the backline.
The Wildcats are locked in a position battle for the starting goalkeeper position, as junior Jack Van Arsdale returns after starting three games in 2011. UK also welcomes standout newcomer Callum Irving and Dary DeWalt. Irving got the starting nod in the NKU scrimmage, with Van Arsdale working a clean second half for the tie.
Lodge and Riggs return from historic 2011 offensive seasons, as the duo helped UK set a new team single-season record for assists. Lodge totaled seven goals and 10 assists during a 62-shot season and now owns 17 goals and 15 assists in his three-year career. Riggs shined as the UK leading scorer, totaling 11 goals and five assists on 41 shots, including two game-winning tallies. In his two-year career, Riggs has tallied 16 goals and five assists.
A native of Richardson, Texas, Asher will help anchor the defensive unit in his third year. In 2010, Asher became the second UK player in program history to earn freshman All-America honors, joining teammate Lodge, who was honored in 2009. Asher has played in 32 games with 30 starts in his first two seasons, notching three assists in 2011.
In the exhibition vs. NKU, UK played several newcomers, including Richardson, Bryan Celis, Isak Krogstad, Dylan Murphy, Dustin Scibilia, Jacob Speed and Kristoffer Tollefsen, who added an assist.
Cedergren is in his first year at the helm after a highly successful run as the top assistant at Dartmouth, with the Big Green advancing to five consecutive NCAA Tournaments. He is the third head coach in UK soccer history, dating back to Sam Wooten in 1991. UK head coaches are 1-1 in their debuts with the Wildcats. UK has won four consecutive season lidlifters, with its last loss coming in 2007.
Following the contest at Dayton, UK will hit the road for the Gamecock Classic, hosted by South Carolina in Columbia, S.C. The Wildcats will take on Northwestern on Aug. 31 and St. John’s on Sept. 2, before returning for the home lidlifter vs. Saint Joseph’s on Sept. 7 at the UK Soccer Complex.