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BEARCATS WRAP UP NON-CONFERENCE SLATE AT OAKLAND:
The No. 14 University of Cincinnati men's soccer team will hit the road for its final non-conference match of the season, taking on Oakland on Oct. 11 at the OU Soccer Field. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. as the Bearcats look to extract a little revenge on a Golden Grizzlies team that handed them a 2-1 setback at Gettler Stadium one season ago.
The Bearcats are 8-3-2 overall and lead the BIG EAST Red Division with a 5-2-1 mark. UC is riding a school-record seven-match unbeaten streak after playing to a 0-0 draw against preseason Red Division favorite USF on Saturday night at Gettler Stadium.
UC is ranked No. 14 in the Soccer America national poll. The Bearcats are also recognized in the NSCAA (No. 24), College Soccer News (No. 24), and Soccer Times (receiving votes) polls.
UC has outscored its opponents, 16-4, during its seven-match unbeaten streak and has outshot its foes, 138-70.
After scoring just five goals in its first six matches, UC has more than tripled that total (16) in its last seven.
Goalkeeper Mike Vessells posted his fifth shutout of the season against USF and took sole possession of third place on UC's all-time list with his 13th career clean sheet. He has lowered his goals against average to 1.02 on the season by posting a 0.43 GAA over the last seven matches.
Omar Cummings has recorded a point in six of his last eight matches after scoring the game-tying goal and assisting on the game-winner against St. John's on Sept. 30.
Kenny Anaba scored the game-winner, his third of the season, against St. John's. He has scored five goals and added four assists for 14 points this season.
13 different Bearcats have recorded points for UC this season.
UC was picked to finish third in the Red Division in the BIG EAST preseason coaches poll.
Cummings was named the Preseason BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year as well as preseason All-BIG EAST and College Soccer News Preseason All-American.
The UC 2006 recruiting class was ranked No. 38 nationally by College Soccer News.
Head coach Hylton Dayes is in his sixth season at the helm of the Bearcats, holding a 53-40-17 mark. He will be looking for his 150th career victory against Oakland.
SCOUTING THE GRIZZLIES:
The Oakland Golden Grizzlies have been hot lately, winning three of its last four after a slow start to the season. OU topped Michigan State, 2-1, at home on Oct. 4 and evened its Mid-Continent Conference record at 2-2 with a road victory against IUPUI. After losing five straight early in the year, the Grizzlies have gone 4-3 over their last seven matches.
The Grizzlies are led by freshman Stefan St. Louis, who has scored four goals and leads the squad in shots. Nick Nelson and Jim Denk have scored a pair of goals apiece and Nelson is tied with Adam Kliebert for the team leader with two assists. Goalkeeper Steve Clark has seen the bulk of the minutes for OU, posting a 1.49 goals against average and 42 saves in 11 matches.
Head coach Gary Parsons has been at Oakland for 25 seasons, and remarkably, has led the Golden Grizzlies to winning campaigns in each. He holds an impressive 332-115-52 overall mark and has taken OU to 15 NCAA Tournaments. He holds a 3-1-1 record against the Bearcats.
UC-OAKLAND SERIES HISTORY:
The Bearcats and Grizzlies have met five times since 2000, with OU holding a 3-1-1 edge. Last season, Oakland came into Gettler Stadium and knocked off the No. 18 Bearcats, 2-1. In UC's only trip to Rochester, the Grizzlies handed UC a 1-0 setback in 2004.
BEARCATS IN THE POLLS:
The Bearcats make an appearance in all four national polls this week. UC is ranked in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) poll for the first time this season at No. 24. UC bumped up a spot in the College Soccer News and Soccer America polls this week, moving from 25th to 24th and from 15th to 14th, respectively. UC is receiving votes in the Soccer Times poll as well.
DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS:
Despite the prolific offensive output the Bearcats have showed over the last few weeks, it has been the defense that has helped UC to its seven-match unbeaten streak. During the streak, the Bearcats have allowed just four goals and have posted three shutouts. The center backs, Amir Ikner and Brad Simpson, have played well, marking some of the most dangerous offensive players in the BIG EAST and the nation. Flanking the pair, Lionel Jackson and freshman Judson McKinney have started every match this season and the group has gelled as the year has progressed. The defense has allowed just seven goals in eight BIG EAST matches.
DAYES LOOKING FOR MILESTONE:
Head coach Hylton Dayes is in search of his 150th career victory. The 18th-year mentor holds a current record of 149-125-37. Earlier this season, Dayes earned his 50th win at UC with a 3-1 victory against Cleveland State on Sept. 20.
CUMMINGS AND GOINGS:
Omar Cummings has done nothing to hurt his preseason hype. The Preseason BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year and College Soccer News All-American leads the BIG EAST with nine assists and has recorded a point in six of his last eight matches. After posting a goal and four assists in helping UC to a pair of conference wins two weeks ago, Cummings was named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll and earned a spot on the College Soccer News National Team of the Week for the week ending on Oct. 1. In just over a season and a half, Cummings has already made his mark in the UC record books. He is tied for fifth in school history with 16 career assists and is just outside the top 10 with 40 career points in 31 matches.
VESSELLS MOVES UP THE CHART:
Senior goalkeeper Mike Vessells continues his ascent up the career shutouts list at UC. With five clean sheets this season, Vessells now has 13 career shutouts, which puts him alone in third place on the career list. He has lowered his goals against average to 1.02 by posting a 0.43 GAA over the last seven matches. Taking away the 6-0 loss against No. 2 SMU earlier this season, Vessells' goals against average would be 0.58, which would lead the BIG EAST by over 0.10.
ANABA HEATING UP AGAIN:
It was about this time last season that Kenny Anaba began to score almost at will. As a sophomore in 2005, Anaba scored nine goals, including a stretch in which he tallied a marker in four straight and eight of 10 matches. This season, the junior forward started slow, but has again picked up the pace. He has scored in four of his last six and has recorded a point in five of seven. In his last seven matches, Anaba has posted four goals and added four assists for 12 points.
HELPING ONE ANOTHER OUT:
The Bearcats currently lead the BIG EAST in assists with 26 helpers. Omar Cummings leads the team and the BIG EAST with nine, while Kenny Anaba has recorded four and Lionel Jackson three. Nine different Bearcats have assisted on goals this season and seven have recorded more than one assist.
CLOSING IN ON 300:
The Bearcats have won 298 matches in 33-plus years of soccer. UC is 298-278-57 since 1973, the first season that the university fielded a varsity team.
GETTLER STADIUM DOMINANCE:
The Bearcats are 6-0-1 when playing in the friendly confines of Gettler Stadium this season. UC has outscored its opponents, 16-3, in those six contests.
The Bearcats return home for their final regular-season contest at Gettler Stadium. UC will take on Rutgers at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 14, with six Bearcats seniors being recognized in a pre-game Senior Day ceremony.