HOOVER, Ala. -- After a thrilling 1-0 win over Memphis in the Conference USA quarterfinals, the Kentucky men’s soccer team will face top seed No. 19 SMU with a berth in the championship round on the line, with kickoff slated for 6 p.m. ET at Regions Park.
Kentucky (10-8-1) used the first career goal from senior Jacob Kemper for the 1-0 win over Memphis on Wednesday night. The Wildcats also got a six-save shutout from Jack Van Arsdale, his fifth of the year.
The Wildcats will face the Mustangs in a re-match of a 2-0 SMU win in Dallas earlier in the year. UK controlled the pace of play throughout the first 65 minutes before allowing a penalty kick goal from Tyler Engel. UK owned a 12-7 advantage in shots and a 7-4 margin in corner kicks in the game. SMU, the regular-season conference champion, earned the bye in the tournament and has traveled into Hoover, Ala., on Thursday.
UK has been led by an explosive offensive attack, averaging 1.68 goals per game and firing 13.2 shots a game. Defensively, UK has a 1.19 goals-against average. Individually, junior Tyler Riggs leads UK with seven goals and four assists, with senior Matt Lodge adding seven goals and three assists. Senior Charley Pettys has six goals and three assists, while senior Gabriel Conelian has four goals and three assists. Junior Dylan Asher has four goals, with Kemper adding a goal and a team-high five assists.
In goal, junior Van Arsdale has a 1.07 goals-against average in 17 games, saving 51 shots with five shutouts. Freshman Callum Irving has a 2.00 goals-against average in three games with seven saves and a shutout.
Over its last 14 games, UK owns a 9-4-1 record, equaling the school record with three top-25 wins and claiming the best road record (6-2) since 1995. During the 11-game stretch, UK has outscored its opponents 25-14, with a 0.98 goals-against average.
SMU (10-4-3) is coming off a 1-2 loss at Memphis to conclude the regular season. SMU has totaled 22 goals in 2012, owning a 0.89 goals-against average. Engel leads UK with eight goals and seven assists, with Andrew Morales charting three goals and four assists, with Ben Hill owning three goals and one assist. Eddie Puskarich and Leobardo Vazquez each have two goals and one assist. In goal, Jaime Ibarra has 88 saves in 17 games with a 0.89 goals-against average and six shutouts.