Admission is Free to Sunday's Soccer Match versus No. 10 UC-Irvine|
Sept. 7, 2011
CHICAGO - The unbeaten UIC men's soccer will face a pair of undefeated foes this week, beginning with Memphis on Friday in Madison, Wis., and No. 10 UC-Irvine Sunday at Flames Field. Athletic department officials announced today that Sunday's match against the Anteaters will be feature free admission.
The Flames are coming off last Sunday's 1-1 tie at UAB, a match which featured UIC (2-0-1) unleashing 24 shots. UIC enters Friday's contest against Memphis at the McClimon Complex in Madison with an unblemished record, having also defeated DePaul (Sept. 1) and Marquette (Aug. 27).
"We've got another challenging weekend ahead of us as we continue with non-conference play," said head coach Sean Phillips. "We'll be playing two very organized and disciplined teams in Memphis and UC-Irvine. To come out with positive results, we're certainly going to have our best individual and collective performances of the season up to this point."
Memphis enters the third week of the 2011 season with a 3-0 record - the Tigers are coming off a 1-0 win over Missouri State on Sept. 4, and have also collected victories over Lipscomb (Aug. 28) and Belmont (Sept. 1).
Memphis returns 15 letterwinners, including 10 starters from a team that posted a 5-11-1 (4-4-0 C-USA) record during the 2010 season. Mark Sherrod has paced the Tigers with a team-high three goals early this season, while Parker Duncan has scored two goals and added one assist. Goalkeeper Conor Hurley has posted a 1.00 goals-against-average in playing all 270 minutes through three matches.
"Memphis is a traditionally strong program out of Conference USA, and has been very impressive early on this season," Phillips said. "Offensively, we're really going to be challenged to try to stop (Mark) Sherrod, (Liam) Collins and (Parker) Duncan - those guys really have a solid chemistry going."
Tenth-ranked Cal-Irvine is off to a 4-0 start, and has collected two wins via shutouts. The Anteaters are coming off a 2-1 win over Drake on Sept. 4, and have also recorded victories over San Diego (Aug. 26), Nebraska-Omaha (Aug. 28) and Gonzaga (Sept. 2).
Forward/midfielder Christian Hernandez was named the Big West Player of the Week for the second-consecutive week Monday, after scoring both goals against Drake. Hernandez has scored four goals on the season, while Miguel Ibara has recorded four assists and one goal. The Anteaters will face Wisconsin in Madison on Friday before making the trip to Flames Field for Sunday's contest.
"Irvine is a consensus top-15 team that has a group of very talented players," said Phillips. "I really thought that team should have been in the NCAA Tournament last season; they have been a very strong program the past several years. It will be a treat for our fans and students to be able to attend this match free-of-charge, and watch us challenge a team that could definitely end up making a strong postseason run at the end of the year."
Cal-Irvine will represent the second nationally-ranked foe to visit Flames Field in the past 11 months - Ohio State was ranked 11th when the Flames upset the Buckeyes, 1-0, last October (10/13/10).