No. 22/14 Xavier Ready For NCAA First Round Match Against Kentucky
Nov. 14, 2012
22/14 Xavier (13-2-5, 6-1-2 Atlantic 10) vs. Kentucky (10-8-2, 3-4-1 Conference USA) Thursday, Nov. 15 | 7 p.m. ET Lexington, Ky. | UK Soccer Complex Tournament Central: Bracket | Program | Match Notes Live Stats: Gametracker Live Video: GoXavier.com All-Access In-Game Tweets: @XavierGameDay
CINCINNATI - The No. 22/14 Xavier men's soccer team returns to the NCAA Men's Soccer Championship for the third-straight season and will be in search of the program's first tournament on Thursday at Kentucky.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. from the UK Soccer Complex. A live video stream is available free on GoXavier.com.
The Musketeers (13-2-5, 6-1-2) earned their first at-large bid to the 48-team tournament on Monday after a record-breaking season. Xavier is led by senior Luke Spencer who leads the Atlantic 10 in goals (13) and points (33).
Tickets are $7 for adults, $5 for youth (ages 2-18) and $3 for senior citizens (ages 65+). Children under two will be admitted free of charge. There are no group sales for this match.
Tickets can be purchased in advance through the UK Ticket Office by calling 1-800-928-2287 or visiting the office located in Joe Craft Center ok UK's campus. Game day ticket sales will be begin at 6 p.m. on Thursday and are cash only.
Xavier Musketeers Xavier is in the NCAA Tournament for the third-straight season after earning the program's first at-large bid. The Musketeers are one of 17 teams to play in the last three NCAA Men's Soccer Championships. Xavier is ranked 22nd in this week's NSCAA poll and 14th in the Soccer America poll. The Musketeers have been ranked in NSCAA and Soccer America Top 25 polls for the entire 13 weeks this season. Xavier's 13 wins are a new program best, breaking the old record of 12 set by the 2011 and 1994 teams. The Musketeers dropped out of the top two spots in the NSCAA Mid-Atlantic Region Poll for the first time since last year. The streak snapped a total of 12 weeks and included six weeks as the region's top team. Xavier has the nation's seventh-best scoring offense and 41st best defensive unit. Statistical Leaders: Luke Spencer (13g, 7a), Matt Walker (10g, 9a), Gino De Paoli (6g, 9a), Will Walker (7g, 5a) and Adar Cohen (8a). Justin Marshall (0.88 gaa) has the majority of minutes in net.
Kentucky Wildcats Kentucky also earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Championship after finishing the season with a 10-8-2 overall record. This is the Wildcats' fifth appearance and first since 2003 in the NCAA Championship. The Wildcats were eliminated in the semifinal of the Conference USA Championship by then No. 19 SMU who won on penalty kicks, 4-1. Kentucky defeated Memphis in the quarterfinal and had a 4-3-1 conference record. Kentucky has played a grueling schedule this year that has included nine ranked teams and wins over Louisville, UAB and Tulsa. Statistical Leaders: Tyler Riggs (7g, 4a), Matt Lodge (7g, 3a), Charles Pettys (6g, 3a), Dylan Asher (4g) and Jacob Kemper (1g, 5a). Jack Van Arsdale (1.11 gaa) is UK's mainstay goalkeeper.
Atlantic 10 Championship Recap Third-seed Xavier was unable to repeat as the three-time Atlantic 10 Champions after a 1-0 defeat to eventual champion Saint Louis in the semifinals. The Musketeers prevailed over six-seed Dayton on penalty kicks in the quarterfinals. Xavier won the shootout 3-2 after earning a 1-1 draw. Matt Walker scored in the second half to tie the match for the Musketeers. The loss to Saint Louis snapped a seven-match unbeaten streak (4-0-3) that was tied for the longest in A-10 postseason history. Penn State's seven-straight victories between 1987 and 1990 shared the record. Junior Nick Hagglund was named to his second A-10 All-Championship Team.
A Record Breaking Offensive Pace Xavier has one of the best offenses in the country ranking third in total points, second in assists, seventh in goals per game and fifth in total goals. XU ranks first in every offensive category in the Atlantic 10. The Musketeers' goal and assist in the match against Dayton in the Atlantic 10 Championship tied the single-season record for points (149) set in 1994 when Xavier had 54 goals and 41 assists. Xavier's 47 goals this season ranks fourth all-time. The highest mark was set in 1994 when XU tallied 54 goals. Xavier has already set a new single-season record for assists. The previous best (45) was established by the 1998 squad.
Spencer, M. Walker A Rare Combination Forward Luke Spencer (13g) and midfielder Matt Walker (10g) are one of two teammates to have 10-plus goals this season. The other combination is Coastal Carolina's Ashton Bennett (15g) and Ricky Garbanzo (13g). It is the fifth time that it has happened in program history and first time since 1997.
Walker Twins Have Opponents Seeing Double
Twin brothers Matt and Will Walker have proven to be a dynamic force for the Musketeers since joining the squad in 2010.
Walker, Walker (as their mother says) have teamed up for 26 goals and 17 assists.
The twins are actually separated by a year of eligibility after Will transferred to Xavier after committing to Northern Illinois. He was forced to sit out the 2010 season and has two years of remaining eligibility after this year.
Both brothers earned Atlantic 10 honors this season. Matt was a first team selection and Will was named to the second team.
During their two years together the brothers have been a part of eight of their 29 goals.