NO. 15 UC OPENS BIG EAST TOURNAMENT AGAINST PROVIDENCE:
The No. 15 University of Cincinnati men's soccer team will host Providence on Saturday, Oct. 28, in the BIG EAST Tournament Quarterfinals. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Gettler Stadium. The Bearcats, by way of their regular-season Red Division Championship, earned a first-round bye in the conference tournament. Providence eliminated Louisville with a 2-0 first-round home win on Wednesday afternoon.
The Bearcats won the BIG EAST Red Division with a 11-4-2 overall record and 7-3-1 mark in conference play. UC has won nine of its last 11 matches (9-1-1) after a 2-1 double-overtime win at Villanova on Oct. 21.
UC has outscored its opponents, 20-6, during its last 11 matches and has outshot its foes, 203-102 during that span.
After scoring just five goals in its first six matches, UC has quadrupled that total (20) in its last 11.
Goalkeeper Mike Vessells posted his seventh shutout of the season against DePaul and moved into a tie for second place on UC's all-time list with his 15th career clean sheet. He has lowered his goals against average to 0.89 on the season by posting a 0.44 GAA over the last 11 matches.
Omar Cummings has recorded a point in seven of his last 12 matches. He is second in the BIG EAST with nine assists, including eight in conference play and has tallied six goals.
Kenny Anaba scored the game-winner, his fifth of the season, against Villanova. He has scored a team-leading seven goals and added five assists for 19 points this season.
13 different Bearcats have recorded points for UC this season.
UC secured the 300th win in program history against DePaul on Oct. 18. The Bearcats are 301-279-57 in 33-plus years of soccer.
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 2006 UC 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 57-41-17 mark. He picked up his 150th career victory against Oakland.
SCOUTING THE FRIARS:
Providence, the No. 4 seed out of the Blue Division, knocked off Red Division No. 5 seed Louisville, 2-0, on Wednesday, Oct. 25, setting up a rematch of last season's BIG EAST Tournament first-round match against the Bearcats. PC is 12-5-0 overall and finished the conference slate with a 7-4-0 mark.
Freshman Jonathan Medcalf leads the Friars with six goals and 12 points. Alex Bury (5G, 2A) and Tomothy Ritter (4G, 4A) have matched Medcalf with 12 points apiece for the team lead. Seven Friars have scored at least twice this season, while eight have posted at least a pair of assists. Goalkeeper Chris Kanopka holds a 0.87 goals against average and has posted six shutouts this season.
Head coach Chaka Daley is in his seventh season at his alma mater. He has turned the program around after an 0-17-0 season in 2004, reaching the NCAA Tournament in 2005.
UC-PROVIDENCE SERIES HISTORY:
UC and Providence have met just twice on the soccer field, both at Gettler Stadium in 2005, with PC holding a 1-0-1 record. The Bearcats and Friars played to a 1-1 draw on Sept. 18 of last season. Sam Miller scored early in the match, but the Friarsequalized 10 minutes into the second half. The two sides met again on Nov. 2 in the first round of the BIG EAST Tournament, with Providence earning a controversial 2-1 win. Just moments after UC's Kenny Anaba was pulled down from behind in the penalty box with no foul given, PC scored to go ahead 1-0. Just two minutes later, a questionable penalty kick was awarded to theFriars, which Eoin Lynch converted to give Providence a 2-0 lead. Miller drew the Bearcats to within a goal when he converted a PK in the 49th minute, but despite a 14-3 shot advantage, the Bearcats were unable to post the equalizer, bowing out of their first BIG EAST Tournament.
BEARCATS IN THE POLLS:
UC is ranked in all four national polls for the first time this season. The Bearcats are No. 14 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) poll, No. 18 in the Soccer America poll, No. 21 in the College Soccer News poll and No. 25 in the Soccer Times poll. The No. 15 ranking is the highest NSCAA ranking in school history.
DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS:
Despite the offensive firepower on the Bearcats roster, it has been the defense that helped UC win nine of its last 11 matches. During the streak, the Bearcats have allowed just six goals and posted five shutouts. Goalkeeper Mike Vessells has solidified the backline, carrying a 0.89 goals against average and a 0.70 mark in conference matches. The defense has allowed just eight goals in 11 BIG EAST matches and posted shutouts against four league foes.
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 is second in the BIG EAST with nine assists and has recorded a point in seven of his last 12 matches. After posting a goal and four assists in helping UC to a pair of conference wins during the week of Sept. 24, 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 42 career points in 36 matches.
VESSELLS MOVES UP THE CHART:
Senior goalkeeper Mike Vessells continues his ascent up the career shutouts list at UC. With seven clean sheets this season, Vessells now has 15 career shutouts, which is tied for second on the career list. He has lowered his goals against average to 0.89 by posting a 0.44 GAA over the last 10 matches. Taking away the 6-0 loss against No. 2 SMU earlier this season, Vessells' goals against average would be 0.59, which would lead the BIG EAST by over 0.10.
ANABA HEATING UP AGAIN:
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 six of his last 10 and has recorded a point in eight of 11. In his last 11 matches, Anaba has posted six goals and added five assists for 17 points.
HELPING ONE ANOTHER OUT:
The Bearcats lead the BIG EAST with 31 assists. Omar Cummings is second in the conference with nine, while Kenny Anaba has recorded five and Lionel Jackson, Brad Simpson and Mike Dwyer have added three apiece. Ten different Bearcats have assisted on goals this season and eight have recorded more than one assist.
The winner will move on to the BIG EAST Semifinals, which will be held on Friday, Nov. 3 at Yurcak Field on the campus of Rutgers University. The winner will take on either Connecticut, No. 2 seed in the Red Division, or St. John's, the Red Division No. 3 seed.