The University of Cincinnati men's soccer team will look to wrap up a second-place BIG EAST Red Division finish and a first-round bye in the upcoming BIG EAST Championship when it welcomes Syracuse on Saturday, Oct. 30, in Gettler Stadium.
The Bearcats are second in the Red Division with 15 points, leading Villanova and USF, who each sit on 14 in third place. A win against Syracuse will clinch second place for the Bearcats and a first-round bye.
Syracuse leads the all-time series, 3-2-0, against the Bearcats.
Each team has held serve on its own field with the Bearcats holding a 2-0-0 mark in Gettler Stadium.
Syracuse topped UC, 3-1, in the SU Soccer Complex in the 2009 regular season finale.
Head coach Hylton Dayes is in his 10th season at Cincinnati and 20th as a head coach. Dayes holds a 85-77-28 mark at UC and a 181-162-47 overall record.
Dayes is the second winningest coach in UC history, behind only Bob Muro, who posted a 114-111-13 mark in 12 seasons on the Bearcats sideline.
The Bearcats' 4-1-3 mark in BIG EAST play is the best start for UC since its 4-1-2 start in the 2005 campaign.
UC entered the week ranked 14th in the nation in goals-against average. The Bearcats have allowed just 11 goals through the first 16 matches of the season and hold a 0.63 GAA.
The Bearcats had a shutout streak of three matches and 383 minutes snapped at Michigan on Oct. 6. UC had not conceded a goal since the 13th minute against No. 1/1 Akron on Sept. 19.
Senior goalkeeper Matt Williams was named the BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Week on Oct. 25.
Williams is 15th in the nation in goals-against average (0.63) and 18th in save percentage (.843).
Williams posted his 16th career shutout against Xavier on Sept. 29, moving into sole possession of second place on UC's all-time shutout list. He now has 19 shutouts and trails only Jay Schneider (24) in the school record books.
Freshman defender Alex Hadley was named BIG EAST Rookie of the Week on Oct. 4 after scoring the game-winning goal against Rutgers and contributing to a pair of shutouts during the previous week.
Williams was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll on Oct. 4 after posting a pair of shutouts and making six saves in a 1-0-1 week for the Bearcats.
Junior midfielder Matt Bahner was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll on Sept. 6 after scoring both of UC's goals that week, including the game-winner against Dayton on Sept. 1.
Bahner has scored six of the Bearcats' 14 goals this season, more than doubling his career goal output (four entering 2010). He also has a team-high four assists this season for 16 points.
Senior forward Nick Weightman scored his first goal of the season when he tallied the game-winner against Georgetown on Sept. 25. He also carded the game-winner at No. 22 St. John's on Oct. 9 and added a penalty kick goal in a 1-1 draw against No. 19/19 USF on Oct. 20.
Senior midfielder Mark Konitsch has been a constant threat on the flanks for the Bearcats, posting three assists, including the helper on Weightman's game-winner against Georgetown.
Senior forward Branden Stelmak, the team's leading scorer the last two seasons, got his first goal of 2010 at No. 22 St. John's on Oct. 9.
Sophomore Shamar Shelton tallied his first goal in a UC uniform, leveling the match against Seton Hall at 1-1 on Oct. 16.
Sophomore midfielder/defender Zach Patterson carded his first career assist against No. 2/5 Louisville on Oct. 13. He chased down a clearance attempt by the Cardinals defense and sent a pass back into the box where it met the head of leading scorer Matt Bahner for his fifth goal.
True freshman midfielder Michael Millay earned his first assist on the game-winning goal against Seton Hall on Oct. 16.
The Bearcats roster features players from near and far. Ohio products hold 12 roster spots with eight hailing from the Greater Cincinnati/Dayton area. Seven Bearcats hail from outside the United States, including four from Canada, two from Jamaica, and one from Scotland.
BIG EAST Honors:
Matt Bahner was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor roll on Sept. 6 after scoring a pair of goals in a 1-0-1 week for the Bearcats.
Bahner earned a second BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll mention on Sept. 27 after tallying a goal and an assist in UC's 2-0 win against Georgetown in its BIG EAST opener.
Bahner again earned an honor roll nod on Oct. 18 after contributing to all three of Cincinnati's goals during a 1-1-0 week.
Freshman defender Alex Hadley was named BIG EAST Rookie of the Week on Oct. 4. Hadley scored the game-winner against Rutgers with a right-footed blast from the corner of the 18-yard box following a failed clearance. It was his first career goal.
Senior goalkeeper Matt Williams earned BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll mention on Oct. 4 after posting a pair of shutouts in a 1-0-1 week, lowering his goals-against average to 0.31 and extending his shutout streak to three matches and 367 minutes.
Williams was named BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Week on Oct. 25 following an 0-0-2 week for the Bearcats against No. 19/19 USF and at Villanova. Williams allowed just one goal in 220 minutes, making 14 saves with his eighth shutout of the season.
The 2010 schedule features matches against four Top 25 teams, including No. 1/1 Akron.
UC lost, 3-1, against No. 2/5 Louisville in Gettler Stadium on Oct. 13 and drew 1-1 in double overtime vs. No. 19/19 USF on Oct. 20.
The Bearcats fell, 1-0, at Akron on Sept. 19 and won at No. 22/nr St. John's on Oct. 9.
Rank and File:
Hylton Dayes has has success against ranked opponents since coming to UC in 2001, especially at home.
The Bearcats are 9-7-1 against ranked opponents at home since 2001, including knocking off No. 1 UConn, 2-0, in 2006.
Last Time Out:
Mark Konitsch scored his first goal of the season, but a late goal by DePaul produced a 1-1, double overtime draw for UC on Oct. 27 at Wish Field.
In the seventh minute, Branden Stelmak played the ball in to leading scorer Matt Bahner, who got behind the defense and sent a cross through the box, where it was tapped in by Konitsch. It was the senior's sixth career goal and first since Oct. 10, 2009, against Villanova.
Cincinnati was on the verge of its fifth conference victory of the season when a Ray De Leon shot from 35 yards out was initially saved by Matt Williams. A combination of wind and backspin pushed ball toward the goal line. Williams fell on the ball and hopped to his feet to distribute, but the linesman determined that the ball had gone in and the match was knotted at 1-1 with just over a minute to play in regulation.
The teams went scoreless in the overtime periods and the match ended in UC's third straight draw.
With a win, the Bearcats will earn a first-round bye in the BIG EAST Championship, which begins on Nov. 2 on campus sites. UC would host a quarterfinal matchup on Saturday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m.