#23 Kentucky Men's Soccer 2013 Preview

Kentucky Wildcats

Overall Rank: #23
Conference Rank: #4 Conference USA
#23 Kentucky Men's Soccer 2013 Preview
Kentucky Team Page


Coach John Cedergren got off to a rough start during his debut season with Kentucky. The Wildcats fell in four of their first five contests. They would only lose another five games all season. The season did not end very well either with three of those five losses coming down the stretch. After falling to SMU in penalties during the conference tournament, Kentucky did sneak into the NCAAs. A late goal by Xavier ended the 2012 campaign. But this was a young team and they are capable of growing up and making a decent run at the Conference USA title.

2012 Record: 10-9-2, 4-3-1
2012 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: John Cedergren

Kentucky is generally a pretty balanced squad, but the strength may make a slight shift towards the defense this season. That is mostly due to the talent of senior defender Steven Perinovic. He is a tough back who has superb instincts and has been around the block a few times. This will be his fourth season as a regular starter for Kentucky. The graduation of Jacob Kemper and the loss of Dylan Asher and Jacob Speed to SMU does hurt the overall depth of the unit. Brad Doliner is back, but Coach Cedergren will have to look at newcomers like Alex Bumpus to make an immediate impact. Bumpus is a very talented attacking back who can move into the midfield with ease when necessary. For the most part, Kentucky will need him to begin in the back for now and find a few more youngsters to fill in around Perinovic. Keeper Jack Van Arsdale finally got into a full-time starting spot in 2012 and did relatively well, allowing just 1.10 goals per game. He is ready to turn into an experienced senior leader.

Replacing Matt Lodge will be the tough part. There are also overlooked departures like midfielders Cameron Wilder, Charles Pettys and Gabriel Conelian. Wilder would rarely tally an assist, but he made things happen and Conelian turned into a very dangerous scoring threat. Lodge ended up totaling seven goals and three assists during his senior season. Much of the production up top will come from Tyler Riggs and Bryan Celis. Those two epitomize what the Wildcats will be like this year. Riggs is a senior who needs to become a leader and Celis is a promising sophomore who needs to put those freshman mistakes behind him. That leads to a lot of potential, but a lot of questions that will remain for a while too.

Final Projection:
With expected production from freshmen Napo Matsoso and Sam Miller, as well as Wright State transfer Justin Laird, Kentucky has some decent options up front, yet it is the play of Riggs that will still make the biggest difference. When he was playing well last season, so was Kentucky. It remains to be seen if enough of the inexperienced players pan out to keep Kentucky with enough depth to make it through another tough schedule. Conference USA will be a grind with Charlotte and New Mexico joining the mix and Kentucky could be one poorly timed injury away from their lack of depth causing major problems.

Projected Postseason: NCAA

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Tyler Riggs, Senior, F, 7
Assists: Bryan Celis, Sophomore, M, 4; Tyler Riggs, Senior, F, 4
Shots: Tyler Riggs, Senior, F, 38
Saves: Jack Van Arsdale, Senior, GK, 58

Madness 2013 Men’s Soccer Recruit Rankings:
#124 Alex Bumpus


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