Sept. 28, 2013
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The Kentucky men’s soccer team will open its 2013 Conference USA season with No. 14 UAB, with kickoff on Sunday slated for 1 p.m. ET at the UK Soccer Complex.
Kentucky (2-4-0) is coming off a grueling three-game road swing, suffering losses at Xavier (1-2), Dartmouth (1-3) and South Florida (0-2). UK traveled to the Gamecock Classic last weekend to face Dartmouth and USF in Columbia, S.C., its fourth consecutive year traveling to the South Carolina tournament.
The Wildcats have netted seven goals in their first six games, surrendering eight goals. UK has an 89-44 advantage in shots, a 37-15 advantage in shots on goal and a 37-15 mark in corner kicks. Individually, UK has been led by sophomore Isak Krogstad, who has three goals and two assists, with senior Brad Doliner and freshmen Kaelon Fox and Charlie Reymann each sporting a goal and an assist. Freshman Napo Matsoso has a goal, while freshman Sam Miller has two assists and sophomores Jacob Scearce and Bryan Celis each have added an assist. In goal, sophomore Callum Irving has a 1.00 goals-against average and two saves in his three starts. Senior Jack Van Arsdale owns a 1.67 goals-against average in his three starts, with four saves.
UAB (5-1-1, 0-0-1 C-USA) is coming off a 2-0 win over Belmont on Wednesday in Birmingham, Ala., also posting a 4-0 win over Mercer last Saturday. UAB also has wins over No. 24 VCU (4-0), High Point (5-1) and No. 8 Indiana (2-1), just suffering a 1-0 loss to East Tennessee State. The Blazers have netted a staggering 17 goals in seven games, surrendering just three goals with a 0.41 goals-against average. UAB ranks as the league leader in save percentage, scoring offense, shutouts, goals-against average, goals and assists. UAB ranks No. 8 in the NCAA in scoring offense, No. 6 in goals-against average and No. 9 in total goals.
Individually for UAB, Freddy Ruiz has five goals on nine shots, with Dieg Navarrete owning four goals and one assist. Patrick Huang has two goals and two assists, with Rami Dajani owning two goals and one assist. Ian Svantesson has a goal and an assist, with Ian Michalak sporting a goal. In goal, Raphael Ville has a 0.43 goals-against average in seven games, with three shutouts and 16 saves in seven games.
UK leads the all-time series with UAB, 5-4-1, posting a 2-2 overall record in games played in Lexington. With a win in 2012, UK snapped a three-game losing streak to the Blazers.
Last year, UK posted a thrilling win over No. 25 UAB in the last meeting between the two teams in 2012 in Birmingham. The Wildcats were trailing in the second half before getting a goal from Charley Pettys to even the contest at 1-1. After UK had a player sent off, Matt Lodge connected on a penalty kick in the 84th minute in a wild, physical game that saw a Tyler Riggs goal called back for offside. UK’s matchup with UAB marked its seventh ranked opponent in the first 13 games of the year.
UK Head Coach Johan Cedergren
On UAB and long-time head coach Mike Getman ...
"When I was at Cincinnati, UAB was definitely a powerhouse. They are a team that is always in there. They are a team that always competes against the top. And coach Getman, who I played against when he was already the coach at UAB, really knows how to win and how to put a team together. I am excited to host them on Sunday. We were able to get a result down there last year and we are hoping to do the same this year."
On the challenges of facing UAB ...
"It is a program that has been successful for a very, very long time. It is a staff that has been together for a very long time. They clearly have things that they do really well that leads them to success. It is a very big team traditionally that is very good on set pieces. The last couple of years they have started to emphasize playing more, so now they can get ball down on the ground and play, as well as hurt you on set pieces. For us last year, we tried to prepare the guys for the battle. (Assistant) Coach (Erik) Imler always says there is no faster player on the field then the ball. That goes for Sunday as well. We will have a bunch of freshmen and when you look across the field at the lineup they are probably going to be the bigger team. But it does not matter so much in soccer. It is more about your mentality, your work rate and about how you can use the ball. I am expecting a very, very tough game, like all conference games are. But we have a couple of things that we are going to work on this week and hopefully we can get a result."
On preparing for the league's top offensive unit ...
"We have let eight goals in over the first six games, on just 15 shots (on goal), so I have to start with that when I talk about defense. But I think defensively we are very good. We have two good goalkeepers who are really fighting each other to see who is going to start. We have a great back four. Again, there are three freshmen in the back four, which is part of the reason why we have let eight goals in but defensively I think we are really sound. That was one of the focuses of the preseason was that we were going to work really hard to make sure we don't let in any easy goals. So far, six games into it, I would say we have absolutely not let any easy goals in. Maybe there have been some situations where someone switched off on a marking assignment. Or there has been some kind of deflection like there was this weekend. But we haven't given up a lot of easy goals. So I think we are sound defensively and then it is just a matter of if we can keep a clean sheet going into halftime and we can use the ball and not shy away from the physical nature of college soccer, then I think we are going to be okay."
UK Soccer Complex Game Day
Due to the ongoing construction of the $7.7 million renovations to the UK Soccer Complex, University of Kentucky soccer fans will experience some slight modifications to the game day experience during the 2013 season.
All fans will be admitted into all games for the 2013 season for free for the duration of the season. Fans will also be allowed to re-enter the complex after initial entrance.
Seating will be all general admission for the season and seating will all be located behind the team benches on the grassy area opposite the construction site. Fans will be invited to bring their own chairs and blankets to enjoy the action. There will also be seating located behind the goals on each side of the facility, similar to years past.
Construction will be ongoing for most of the season, and the grandstand side of the facility will be shut down for the entirety of the season. Only credentialed members of the UK staff will be allowed over to that side of the complex.
All fans will be entering and exiting the facility using the existing student entrance located between the game field and the practice field. The existing entrance main gate will be shut down and fans will not be able to enter the facility through those gates, as they will be closed during the construction process.
Fans will be able to park in one of three locations for the season. The first-arriving fans will receive access to the gravel lot located directly across the main gate. Once that lot is filled, fans will be directed to park in the lot that borders the practice field off of College Way. In addition, similar to softball parking in 2013, there will be parking on the west side of College Way in the grassy area between the soccer/softball complex and Commonwealth Stadium. When there are no further available spots, fans will park in select lots of Commonwealth Stadium, which is in walking distance of the UK Soccer Complex. Parking lots will open three hours prior to game time. Handicapped parking will remain as seasons past, as they will be able to park near the main gate in the paved lot.