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2001 Soccer: Season Review
New Coach, New Team Put Together Solid Season

2001 Cincinnati Menís Soccer Awards

Shane Curran
All-Ohio, second team
Brandon Dobbs
All-Ohio, second team; Collegesoccernews.com and Soccer America National Teams of the Week, Oct. 31
John Liersemann
C-USA All-Freshman Team
Sacha Nathu
C-USA Defensive Player of the Week, Oct. 1
Wiremu Patrick
C-USA Freshman Team

The Hylton Dayes era at the University of Cincinnati concluded its first season with a mark of 7-8-4, 5-4-1 in Conference USA and the programís seventh consecutive trip to the C-USA tournament. The year was also characterized by a youth movement as 12 players, including six freshman, started their first career match at UC.

The first season under Dayes got off to a rocky start with the Bearcats posting a 1-4-2 record in the first seven matches of the season, with conference losses to Charlotte and South Florida included in the span. From there, UC turned the corner in its season, recording a 6-4-1 slate over the last 11 matches. On the strength of a 5-2-1 conference record over that stretch, Cincinnati was able to secure itís seventh straight trip to the C-USA tournament of which only six teams qualified.

A Youth Movement at UC
It was a year of youth at Cincinnati in 2001, as 12 newcomers dotted the Bearcats roster. Two of the youngest members of the team, freshmen Josh Gardner and Wiremu Patrick, were two of only three Cincinnati players to start all 19 matches. In addition, three of the Bearcats top five scorers this year were freshmen. The trio of Gardner, John Liersemann and Patrick combined to score 12 of the Bearcatsí 29 goals and tally 11 of the teamís 26 assists. In all, the 10 players in their first season at UC combined for 21 goals and 21 assists.

Bearcats Face Stiff Non-League Competition
Three NCAA Tournament teams dotted the Bearcats non-conference schedule, including eventual national champion North Carolina. Cincinnati held itís own with all three opponents, scoring a home victory against Kentucky as the highlight. UC knocked off the Wildcats, 1-0, when the eventual Mid-American Conference Champions were ranked No. 27. In a tournament hosted by Saint Louis early in the season, UC faced No. 4 North Carolina and No. 10 Rutgers. Both top ten teams recorded 2-1 victories over the Bearcats, with Rutgers winning on a goal in the last 15 minutes, despite being outshot by UC, 18-5.

Another C-USA Appearance
After starting the C-USA portion of the schedule 1-3-1, the Bearcats turned up their play in the second half of the conference season. Cincinnati posted a 4-1 record in the final five league matches to secure the No. 5 seed in the C-USA tournament, the schoolís seventh consecutive appearance. Highlighting the run was the Bearcats biggest win of the year, an emotional come-from-behind, 3-2, upset of No. 12 UAB. The Blazers had the momentum in the first 30 minutes of the match, jumping ahead 1-0 with a chance for more when UC lost sophomore Jeremiah Gallegos after his second yellow card of the match. The battle went back and forth with UAB regaining the lead, 2-1, and then Cincinnati tying the score on a Scott Lyons goal. Sophomore Brandon Dobbs played the part of hero, notching his first collegiate goal, the match-winner with 2:43 remaining, sealing the UC upset. Cincinnatiís biggest offensive output of the year came against TCU, when the Bearcats posted a 6-0 home win. Patrick converted two penalty kicks into goals and added an assist to lead the offense. The Bearcats were also able to overcome a tough East Carolina team to secure their spot in the C-USA Tournament with a late-season road victory. Lyonsí goal six minutes into overtime gave UC their fifth conference victory of the season and a 2-1 win.

Season Ends in Heartbreaking Fashion
The Bearcats were paired in the first round of the C-USA Tournament with fourth-seeded Charlotte. UC was able to overcome deficits of 1-0 and 2-1 to even the match at 2-2 on a Liersemann marker with four minutes remaining. After two scoreless overtime periods, the Bearcats and 49ers were forced to a shootout to settle the score. With the score tied 7-7 in the shootout, UCís Sacha Nathu saved a 49er attempt, but Brad Woodsí shot sailed wide right. Charlotte was able to convert their next attempt and Shane Curranís shot was blocked to end the match and the Bearcats season.

A Real Family Affair
The second brother duo to start a match at UC in the last two years, sophomores Brandon and Justin Dobbs made a big impact for the Bearcats in 2001, but none more so than in the upset of No. 12 UAB. Justin Dobbs fed Scott Lyons for the match tying goal against the Blazers, recording the first point of his collegiate career. Brother Brandon made the most of a rare scoring opportunity from his defender position, netting the first score of his collegiate career in dramatic fashion, recording the match winner. For the season, the brothers started a combined 36 matches, recording two goals and an assist after Justin tallied his first career marker in the C-USA tournament against Charlotte.

A Shooting Advantage?
One of the characteristics of the 2001 edition of the Bearcats was their ability to outshoot their opponents. Unfortunately for UC, that didnít always translate into victories. In matches in which the Bearcats outshot their opponents, they posted a 3-4-3 record. In matches in which UC was outshot by itís opponents, the Bearcats recorded a 3-4 slate, with a 1-0-1 mark in matches where shots were even. For the season, UC outshot itís opponents 226-206.

Dobbs Leads Award Winners
Throughout the season and into the post-season, five members of the Bearcat squad received honors and awards. Brandon Dobbs led the way, with a spot on the All-Ohio second team and two weekly awards. Following his heroics in the win over UAB, Dobbs was named to the Collegesoccernews.com and Soccer America National Teams of the Week. Senior Shane Curran joined Dobbs on the All-Ohio squad.
In C-USA, three Bearcats were honored for their play. Following UCís win over Kentucky, sophomore goalkeeper Sacha Nathu was honored as the C-USA Defensive Player of the Week after posting a shutout in his first start of the season. At the conclusion of the season, freshmen John Liersemann and Wiremu Patrick were named the the C-USA All-Freshman Team.

 

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