Oct. 12, 2012
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The UAB men's soccer team will begin a three-game homestand against Conference USA competition when it welcomes the Kentucky Wildcats to West Campus Field on Saturday night. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. CT.
UAB enters the contest Friday night sporting a 7-3-2 record through 12 games on the year. Most recently, the Blazers scored three goals in the last eight minutes of regulation to steal a 4-3 victory at South Carilina.
Leading the way is senior forward Kofi Gyawu, who enters the contest topping the Blazers in assists (4), points (12/4g-4a), shots (33) and shots on goal (18).
Senior defender Mladen Lemez scored two goals in the final five minutes of play to lift the Blazers past South Carolina on Wednesday night. He now leads the team in goals scored (5) and game-winning goals (2).
Junior Chase Wickham is third on the team in points and tied with freshman Freddy Ruiz for third on the squad in goals scored (3).
Junior goalkeeper Raphael Ville, who has three shutouts on the year, ranks fourth in C-USA with a 1.03 goals against average. The native of Courbevoie, France has made 38 saves, while allowing just 13 goals on the year.
UAB and Kentucky will meet for the ninth time in series history, with the previous eight games being split with each team winning four times. The Blazers ride a three-game winning streak in the series history, two of which have come on the road. Last season, the Blazers captured a 3-2 victory in Lexington, Ky.
This will be the fifth meeting between the rivals at West Campus Field. UAB has won two of the last three contests played in Birmingham.
What's On Deck
UAB will continue its three-game home stretch with a pair of games next week. The Blazers will first welcome the Tulsa Golden Hurricane on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. Following that contest, UAB will host Marshall for Senior Day on Oct. 20 at 2 p.m.
Kentucky comes into Saturday's match with a 5-6-1 overall record and a 0-1-1 mark in league play. The Wildcats winless in their last three contests (0-2-1), which includes losses to then No. 11 Indiana (4-0 on Oct. 3) and then-No. 25 SMU (2-0 on Oct. 6).
Comeback In Columbia
UAB had a miraculous comeback in order to pull out a 4-3 win at South Carolina this past Wednesday. The Blazers scored three times in the final seven-plus minutes to record a dramatic road victory.
Trailing 3-1 with just under eight minutes remaining, redshirt freshman Karl Chester began the comeback when he scored at the 82:35 mark to cut the South Carolina lead to 3-2.
Chester also set up the game-tying goal when he beat his defender and was taken down in the 18-yard box to draw a penalty kick at the 85:38 mark. Lemez converted the PK to even things at 3-3.
Lemez added the game-winning goal with only 15 ticks remaining in regulation (89:45). with a header off a throw-in, sending UAB into a wild celebration.
Blazers On Fire
UAB is riding quite a hot streak as Conference USA play intensifies.
The Blazers are red-hot entering its three-game homestand with Saturday's match vs. Kentucky, sporting a 5-1-1 record over their last seven matches, including wins at Clemson, at South Carolina and vs. then-No. 20 Washington.
Over the seven-game stretch, UAB has recorded three shutouts and has outscored the competition by a 15-7 margin.
UAB In The National Rankings
The UAB men's soccer team remained in the nation's top 25, checking in at No. 25 in the country in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) top-25 poll. The Blazers are receiving votes in both the CollegeSoccerNews.com's (No. 31) and SoccerTimes.com (No. 32) national polls.
Furthermore, UAB was ranked as the No. 2 team in the Midwest Region by the NSCAA.
The Blazers have now been ranked among the nation's top-25 teams in 17 of the last 19 seasons.
Below is a look at where the Blazers have been ranked in the national polls for each of the three weeks this season:
Week NSCAA CSN Soccer Times
Preseason 21 20 23
8/26 17 16 18
9/3 25 24 22
9/10 RV (27) 29 RV (28)
9/17 RV (26) 26 24
9/24 23 26 23
10/1 RV (34) RV (31) RV (28)
10/8 25 RV (31) RV (32)
Stepping Up In League Play
Lemez, who is tied for the league lead in goals scored in conference play, has recorded three of his five tallies in the Blazers' last three contests.
Meanwhile, Gyawu went from the team's leading scorer to the leading assist man during league play. The Lilburn, Ga. native tops C-USA with two assists in conference competition and leads UAB with four helpers on the year.
"Soccer For A Cure" Champs
With a 2-2 tie vs. Fairleigh Dickinson and a 2-0 shutout over then-No. 20 Washington, the UAB men's soccer team claimed the 2012 "Soccer For A Cure" Classic title.
With the win, the Blazers captured the tournament championship, marking the ninth time in 15 years they have won the event.
Four UAB men's soccer players garnered "Soccer For A Cure" Classic All-Tournament honors for their efforts in helping the team claim the championship.
Tough Schedule-Good Results
The Blazers have played a strong schedule this season as four of the 12 teams they have faced during the regular season have been ranked in the top-20 in the nation.
UAB has a 1-2-1 record against ranked opponents this year. The Blazers tied then-No. 3 Charlotte, 1-1, on the road (Aug. 31) and defeated then-No. 20 Washington, 2-0, at home (9/16). Losses include at No. 8 New Mexico (9/8) and vs. No. 25 SMU (9/29).
According to the most recent Massey Ratings (10/7), UAB's strength of schedule ranks 55th in the country.
UAB Soccer Best In C-USA
UAB head coach Mike Getman knows a few things about winning games in Conference USA. Since the league began back in 1995, Getman ranks as the conference's all-time winningest coach, racking up an astounding 85 C-USA victories, which is nearly 40 wins better than his closest competition (John Tart of Charlotte with 45). Entering Saturday night's contest, the Blazers' head coach owns an overall conference record of 85-48-13 (.623).
In addition, UAB is the winningest league team since the inception of C-USA (1995), with a record of 197-111-28 (.628), which leads all league squads in terms of total wins. Memphis is in second in the league with 119 overall wins over that same time frame.