LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Needing league wins to advance to the Conference USA Tournament for the seventh consecutive season, the Kentucky men's soccer team travels to Memphis for a crucial match, facing the Tigers on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET at the Mike Rose Soccer Stadium.
Kentucky (8-8-1, 1-4-0 C-USA) enters the match with Memphis battling for one of the top six spots in the league, which would earn an invite to the 2011 C-USA Tournament, hosted by Tulsa, beginning Nov. 9. With three points in league play, UK sits three points shy of advancing into the top six in the league. UK has three league matches remaining, traveling to Memphis and South Carolina (4-1-0) and hosting SMU (3-1-1) on Senior Day.
Fans can follow along with the game through an interactive live blog, available on UKathletics.com, in addition to live stats.
The Wildcats are coming off a 2-0 loss at No. 10 Indiana, as the Hoosiers capitalized on a second half rally with two goals, erasing UK's furious first half offensive rally that saw the Wildcats own an 8-1 margin in corner kicks. The Wildcats played without three of their best players in the loss at Indiana, as leading scorers Tyler Riggs and Matt Lodge sat out due to injury, with UK missing their combined 17 goals and 15 assists. UK was also without 2010 freshman All-America honoree, defender Dylan Asher, who also sat out due to injury.
In UK's last conference game, the Wildcats erupted for a 3-1 shellacking of league rival Tulsa, getting two goals from Charles Pettys and a school-record three-assist performance from Lodge, with Josh Mulvany adding his third goal of the year. UK was kept from a clean sheet after a Tulsa penalty-kick was awarded in the 88th minute.
The Wildcats have been led offensively by Riggs and Lodge, with Riggs owning 10 goals and five assists and Lodge contributing seven goals and 10 assists. Pettys has added three goals and seven assists, while Mulvany has three goals and four assists. Senior C.J. Tappel, a native of Lexington, Ky., owns one goal and four assists, while Brendan Murphy and Sam Brooks each have two goals and one assist. In goal, sophomore All-Conference USA keeper Tyler Beadle has allowed 25 goals in 15 games with a 1.64 goals against average, with 40 saves and one shutout.
Memphis (8-4-1, 2-3-0 C-USA) owns two league wins, a 3-0 result over Tulsa and a 3-0 win over FIU, with losses to South Carolina (2-3), Marshall (0-3) and UAB (0-1). The Tigers have totaled 26 goals through 13 games, averaging two goals per contest and 15 shots per game. Memphis has a 64-40 advantage in corner kicks and a 79-47 margin in shots on goal.
The Tigers have been led by one of the more prolific scorers in the nation, sophomore forward Mark Sherrod, who owns a team-leading 14 goals on the year. Sherrod was honored as the consensus national player of the week on Oct. 16 after recording back-to-back hat tricks in wins over Nebraska-Omaha and Tulsa. Liam Collins has charted a team-leading nine assists and one goal, while Parker Duncan and Will Linder have each added two goals and three assists. Lewis Ellis has tallied one goal and five assists. In goal, netminder Conor Hurley has a 1.04 goals against average with 33 saves and five shutouts in 13 games.
In the meeting between UK and Memphis in 2010, the two teams battled to a 1-1 double-overtime draw. With UK trailing in the 69th frame, Pettys notched his first career goal to even up the game. The Tigers netted a goal in the third minute of the game for the early margin, before Pettys got UK on the board with the game-tying goal. UK owned a commanding 22-11 advantage in shots, with Memphis keeper Jordan Leedle making six game-changing saves.
UK leads the all-time series with Memphis, 5-3-2, with its last loss to the Tigers coming in 2007 in Memphis, a 3-1 setback on a rainy night at the Mike Rose Soccer Stadium.