UK men’s soccer kicks off season on Friday




By Arpan Dixit

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After an NCAA tournament appearance last season, UK men’s soccer is looking to get off to a hot start as it opens the season at home against Valparaiso at 7:30 p.m.


2014 record: 10-6-4

Goals scored/attempts: 25-221

Goals against/shots: 16-234

Average shots per game: 11.1

Assists: 26

Penalties: 39 (Y), 1 (R)

Preview: The Cats are the favorite in this matchup. UK has been getting attention in the preseason polls but is unranked heading into the first game of the season even though three UK players were named on the preseason All-Conference team. Finishing second in C-USA and making the NCAA Tournament in 2014 was a monumental step for the program and the team is looking to surpass the success found in 2014. The Cats went 1-1 in the preseason with a loss to Wake Forest and a win against Lipscomb. The potential is there for a big season, but first they must take care of business against the Crusaders.

Player to watch: Callum Irving

Irving, a senior goalkeeper and co-captain, was named to the Hermann watch list for this season. He posted a shutout against Lipscomb in one of the Cats two preseason exhibition match-ups but allowed three goals against Wake Forest. The Golden Glove winner had 10 shutout games last season. Irving had an average of 0.77 goals scored against him last year. He is widely considered one of the best goalkeepers in the country and is hoping for a strong start to the season against the Crusaders.


2014 record: 8-5-6

Goals scored/attempts: 23-238

Goals against/shots: 17-185

Average shots per game: 12.5

Assists: 15

Penalties: 17 (Y), 0 (R)

Preview: The Crusaders are coming off of an 8-5-6 season last year with the majority of the wins coming on the road. Valparaiso had a 42 percent shot on goal percentage and averaged 12 shots a game in 2014. Expect the Crusaders to attack early and often in order to get a jump on the Cats. Valparaiso likes to shoot the ball and attack opposing defenses. They had 238 shot attempts last year compared to opponents 185. The UK defense has to communicate and not make any mistakes in order to keep the attacking Crusaders out of the back of the net. Valparaiso is ranked 6th in the Horizon League and are hoping to get off to a good start in 2015 by defeating the Cats on Friday at the Bell.

Player to watch: Jordan Aidoud

Aidoud scored four of the 23 goals for Valparaiso last season and had four assists. Nearly 50 percent of his shots were on goal in 2014, the highest percentage on the team. Aidoud is a leader on this Crusaders team and the guy they turn to late in the game to make a big play. Four penalty kicks were taken for the Crusaders last season with Aidoud taking three of them. He led the Crusaders in goals, assists and points last season with 12. He is considered one of the best players in the Horizon League and is capable of impacting the game every night.