LEXINGTON, Ky. -- After wrapping up a rugged travel schedule, the Kentucky men’s soccer team returns to action for a three-game homestand, looking to remain unbeaten at home, hosting Marshall in the Conference USA home lidlifter, set for 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday at the UK Soccer Complex.
Kentucky (7-5-1, 0-2-0 C-USA) is coming off a two-game trip through the Sunshine State that wrapped up a brutal travel slate for the Wildcats. Over a 15-day span, UK traveled over 9,700 miles, including trips to California, South Carolina, Nebraska and Florida, with UK facing No. 3 Creighton, No. 10 UCF, No. 13 Cal and No. 15 Brown, in addition to FIU, Stanford and High Point away from Lexington.
UK opened the week at UCF on Wednesday with UK leading scorer, sophomore forward Tyler Riggs collecting his ninth goal of the year early in the contest, before a 70-minute rain delay halted play. Upon resumption, UCF netted the equalizer, with both teams battling through a scoreless second half. UCF took advantage in overtime, posting the 2-1 golden-goal win.
On Sunday, UK and FIU battled through a scoreless regulation, before FIU struck for the goal with 33 seconds remaining in overtime on a corner kick and a melee in the box that saw UK’s keeper Tyler Beadle taken to the ground and UK defender Pedro Andreoni saddled with a black eye during the scrum.
The game will feature a bevy of promotional activities, including the annual UK Soccer Chili Cook Off, with UK head coaches judging the contest. UK softball head coach Rachel Lawson, who led her team to a historic season in 2011 that included hosting the first NCAA Super Regional in program history, UK baseball head coach Gary Henderson and UK volleyball head coach Craig Skinner will be on hand to judge the cook off. Fans can also enjoy inflatable games, special UK soccer T-shirts giveaways and postgame autographs.
Marshall (5-4-0, 2-0-0 C-USA) enters the game as one of the hottest teams in the league, owning five consecutive wins, including a 2-0 start to conference play. Marshall owns wins over Michigan State, Oakland, Winthrop, FIU and Memphis during the streak. As a team, Marshall has averaged 1.44 goals per game and 12.1 shots, with opponents taking a 52-36 advantage in corners. Individually, Tom Jackson leads the Herd with seven goals and one assist, while Anthony Virgara has added two goals. Michael Hayes, Jahvon Allison and Matt Risher lead the team with two assists each. In goal, veteran Daniel Withrow has a sparkling 0.76 goals-against average, saving 47 shots in nine contests.
Pacing the Wildcats
The Wildcats have been paced by a prolific offensive attack through their first 13 games, netting 27 goals, posting two goals scored per game and 16.4 shots per contest. In 19 games last year, UK netted 18 total goals. In the latest NCAA stats, UK ranks second in the nation in goals scored, with its offense ranked as the 24th-best offense in the country.
UK has been led offensively by Riggs, who has nine goals and four assists, while junior Matt Lodge owns seven goals and seven assists, leading UK with 58 total shots. Midfielder Charles Pettys has a team-best seven assists and one goal, while senior Josh Mulvany has charted two goals and two assists. Senior C.J. Tappel has also added four assists and one goal, while senior Sam Brooks owns two goals and one assist. In goal, sophomore Tyler Beadle has collected a 1.58 goals-against average in 11 starts, with 32 saves, while Jack Van Arsdale owns three saves in two games and a 2.00 goals-against average.
Series and Last Time vs. the Herd
UK leads the overall series with Marshall, 14-6-3, having won three of the last four meetings. Last season, UK posted a 2-1 win in overtime, getting a golden goal 51 seconds into overtime from Brooks, who received the ball from then-UK freshman Craig Heard. UK also got a goal from Riggs early in the game, erasing Marshall’s lone tally of the game which came on a UK own goal. Marshall owned a 13-11 advantage in shots and a 5-1 mark in corner kicks, with Beadle saving four shots in the contest. UK got three shots from Riggs and Brooks each. Withrow saved one shot in the game for the Herd, who had a season-high 1,147 fans at the game.
UK in the NCAA Stats
UK ranks throughout the NCAA stats, checking in as the No. 2 goal-scoring team in the nation, just behind Maryland’s 29 goals. As a scoring offense, UK ranks 24th overall. Riggs ranks No. 5 in points, Lodge No. 7, while Pettys and Lodge lead the nation with seven assists. Riggs’ five goals ranks fifth overall in the NCAA.
UK in C-USA Stats
The Wildcats lead the league in nearly every offensive category, pacing C-USA in shots (213), points (88), goals (26) and assists (36). Individually, Lodge leads the league in shots (58), ranking second in shots per game (4.46), third in points (21), fourth in goals (seven), first in assists (seven) and fifth in game-winning goals (two). Riggs ranks third in shots (31), second in points (22), second in goals (nine), seventh in assists (four) and fifth in game-winning tallies (two), while Pettys ranks tied for the league lead in assists (seven).
* Annual Chili Cook Off: featuring UK celebrity judges head coaches Gary Henderson (baseball), Rachel Lawson (softball) and Craig Skinner (volleyball)
* Postgame Autographs
* Special UK Soccer T-Shirts and Prizes
* Inflatable Games (weather permitting)
* Wear Blue! Be Loud! #WeAreUK
UK Career/Season Records Update
Matt Lodge, Jr. F
Points: 46 (eighth)
Goals: 17 (eighth)
Assists: 12 (12th)
Game-winning goals: 6 (T-seventh)
Shots: 133 (T-fifth)
Shots: 58 (T-third)
Assists: 7 (T-sixth)
Goals: 7 (15th)
Points: 21 (ninth)
Tyler Riggs, So. F
Goals: 14 (T-ninth)
Goals: 9 (T-seventh)
Points: 22 (eighth)