Tigers Clash With Kentucky Wildcats On Saturday
Oct. 8, 2009
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -
The Memphis Tigers will face-off with Conference USA foe Kentucky on Sat., Oct. 10 at 7 p.m., at Mike Rose Soccer Complex in Memphis. The Tigers enter Saturday's fixture with the Wildcats with a record of 4-2-2 (1-1-0 C-USA). Kentucky is coming off three consecutive tough decisions including a 1-0 loss off of an 86th minute goal by Tulsa on Wed., Oct. 7. Kentucky's record currently stands at 7-4-0 (0-3-0 C-USA). The Wildcats have been ranked as high as No. 13 this season.
"Traditionally it has been a good match between the two teams," said Memphis head coach Richie Grant. "I think we have always played good football against Kentucky. I think their coach (Ian Collins) does a great job. Our team knows the importance of the home games and trying to get maximum points at home. That is the challenge that is in front of us."
Memphis has been led this season by forward Parker Duncan, a sophomore from Johnson City, Tenn. Duncan currently leads Memphis with four goals and three assists on the season. Along with Duncan, the Tigers have gotten a lot of help from a group of talented freshman led by J.J. Greer, a forward from Cordova, Tenn., who leads the team in assists with five. Greer is joined on the attacking end by newcomer Jon Wright, who has netted three goals for Memphis in 2009. Memphis has also been helped out by the improvement of freshman Justin Watson at his outside midfielder position. The Myrtle Beach, S.C., native, has two goals for the Tigers so far this season.
In the center of the park, Memphis is led by senior Brian Farrell who has been vital in starting the Memphis attack from his central midfield position. The Dunboyne, Ireland, native has thrived in his new position since moving from forward prior to the start of the regular season. Farrell has netted one goal this season (against UCF).
Defensively, Memphis will welcome back centerback Rory O'Connor this weekend after the Dublin, Ireland, native, was forced to sit out last week's contest at SMU due to a red card he received against UCF. O'Connor will rejoin captain Rick Alleman as the anchors of the Memphis defense. Tiger fans can most likely expect to see the return of Thomas Shannon to his right fullback position this weekend. The Broken Arrow, Okla., native has been out since the Vermont game with knee and ankle problems.
In goal, Memphis continues to be led by Michael Goodlett, a senior from Bolton, Miss. The Tiger netminder has a 1.30 goals against average, while allowing 11 goals and accumulating 23 saves. Goodlett is ranked third all-time among Memphis goalkeepers in goals against average over his career.
Saturday is the second opportunity for Richie Grant to reach the 100 win mark. The Memphis boss has produced five 10-win seasons over his 11-year career at the helm of the University of Memphis men's soccer program. During his tenure, Grant has also twice been awarded with the C-USA Coach of the Year honor and led the Tigers to the 2004 C-USA Tournament Championship, as well as the 2004 NCAA Tournament. Grant has the second-most wins of the three Memphis men's soccer coaches in the program's history and is 11 wins away from surpassing Chris Bartels as the program's winningest coach.
Kentucky has been led thus far by freshman forward Matt Lodge, a native of Rossington, England. Lodge has four goals and one assist and was awarded as the conference's Offensive Player of the Week for the week ending on Sept. 13. Offensively, the Wildcats have gotten boosts from several players including senior midfielder Jase Griffiths, who has two goals and one assist on the year, and senior forward Marcos dos Santos who has one goal and two assists.
Defensively, the Wildcats have perhaps two of the stronger defensive players in Conference USA. Barry Rice, a senior defender from Parma, Ohio, has been honored as the conference's Defensive Player of the Year for the past two seasons. So far this year, he has helped lead the Wildcats to three shutouts and a goals against average of 0.89. Rice is joined in back by goalkeeper Dan Williams, who has given up 10 goals this season. Williams finished the 2008 season with a 0.81 goals against average, which was good enough for third-best in the conference.
Kentucky enters Saturday's match after losing tough matches to then No. 9 Indiana, 3-0 and current No. 25 UAB, 2-0. To begin the week, the Wildcats fell for a third-straight time to Tulsa, 1-0.
The series between Kentucky and Memphis is even at three wins, three losses and one tie. The two programs played to a scoreless draw last November, helping the Tigers solidify the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament. Kentucky went on to the conference tournament where they lost to Tulsa on penalty kicks in the Championship Match.
Saturday's match will be free to the public wishing to attend the game at Mike Rose Soccer Complex.