DALLAS (Nov. 24) -- For the first time in school history, the University of Kentucky mens soccer team will play in the second round of the NCAA Tournament
when it faces sixth-seeded Southern Methodist University. Action is set to begin at 8:30 p.m. EST at Westcott Field on the campus of SMU.
Its going to be a real battle, head coach Ian Collins said. This is a huge step for our team, and I hope we can go out there and just do our
best by playing really hard.
The Cats (11-8-2) are coming off of a thrilling shootout victory over the ninth-ranked Saint Louis Billikens in the first round. Both teams played stellar
defense, as neither was able to score in regulation or four overtimes. Senior goalkeeper Brian OLeary, out of Lexington Paul Laurence Dunbar, stopped
a career high 11 shots on the night as he earned his ninth shutout of the season and fourth in the postseason. He then stopped two Billiken penalty
kicks and kicked one of his own to help lead UK to the 4-2 triumph.
SMU (18-4-0) advanced with a 2-0 victory over IUPUI in the first round. The Mustangs own the nations top scoring offense with 76 goals on the
year (3.5 per game), while allowing only 21. They have scored 3 or more goals 10 times while outshooting their opposition by a 2-1 margin.
With the dominant offense SMU presents, the Cats will need to play superb defense to advance again, but their play in the postseason has
shown they are definitely able to do that. On the season, UK has scored only 24 goals but has given up only 23. In four postseason games, the Cats
have yet to surrender a goal.
The two teams have had five common opponents: Louisville, Vanderbilt, Western Kentucky, IUPUI and Saint Louis. SMU defeated all five, while
UK defeated U of L, WKU and IUPUI, tied Saint Louis , and lost to Vandy. This is the first meeting between the schools.