Tulsa Wins C-USA Men's Soccer Championship

Go C-USA! Mark Pais, Tulsa
Go C-USA!
Mark Pais, Tulsa
Go C-USA!

HOOVER, Ala. - Tulsa posted three first half goals en route to its fourth Conference USA Men's Soccer Championship, topping SMU Sunday at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala. With the win, Tulsa earns the league's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Selection Announcement will be at 4:30 p.m. CT on NCAA.com.

Tulsa broke the tournament record for goals during a championship match, eclipsing the previous mark of four set twice by UAB in 1999 and USF in 1998. 

C-USA Championship Bracket

Championship Central

All-Tournament Team

  • Mark Pais, Tulsa
  • Jake Dobkins, Tulsa
  • Tony Rocha, Tulsa
  • Akeil Barrett, Tulsa
  • Andrew Morales, SMU
  • Juan Castillo, SMU
  • T.J. Nelson, SMU
  • Steven Perinovic, Kentucky
  • Cameron Wilder, Kentucky
  • Raphael Ville, UAB
  • Chase Wickham, UAB

Sunday, November 11                                                              

No. 2 Tulsa 5, No. 1 SMU 0 

Tulsa won its fourth Conference USA Men’s Soccer Championship Sunday with a 5-0 win against SMU at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala. The Golden Hurricane netted three goals during the first half and added two more during the final 45 minutes. The win secures the C-USA automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.

Tulsa grabbed a 1-0 lead at the 20-minute mark when Cristian Mata crossed the ball from right side of six-yard box to Abe Matamoros who hit it in with his chest from the edge of the goal line.

The Golden Hurricane doubled the lead when Matt Boullt sent a cross to into the box for Akeil Barrett who headed it into the right upper 90 from eight yards out.

In the final minute of the first half, Tulsa made it 3-0 after Barrett forced a turnover, dribbled past an SMU defender and fed Mata for another goal.

Tulsa made it 4-0 in the 64th minute. The Golden Hurricane broke in on a 3-on-1 led by Mata who slid a ball over the Barrett for a tap-in into the open net.

Bryce Follensbee increased Tulsa's lead to five at the 68 minute mark. Boullt dribbled down the right side and slid a pass into the middle of the box to Follensbee. Follensbee knocked the ball in far post from 12-yards out.

Friday, November 9

No. 1 SMU 2, No. 5 Kentucky 2 (SMU advances, 4-1, on PKs)

The No. 20 SMU men's soccer team will play in the Conference USA Championship on Sunday after twice rebounding from one-goal deficits to tie Kentucky, 2-2, and win penalty kicks, 4-1, in the semifinals of the C-USA tournament Friday night at Regions Park. Sophomore Andrew Morales and junior Juan Castillo scored in regulations for the Mustangs. With the tie, SMU is now 10-4-4 on the year.

Kentucky struck early with a goal in the third minute by Cameron Wilder. Matt Lodge made a run down the right sideline and took a shot that was blocked by an SMU defender. Wilder collected the rebound and fired a 20-yard shot top shelf for a 1-0 Wildcat lead.

Morales evened the score at one with his 28th-minute goal. Castillo ran down the right side to the end line and sent a cross into the box for senior Ben Hill. Hill's shot was blocked, but Morales gathered the rebound and launched a bullet from the edge of the six-yard box. The goal was the fourth of the season for Morales.

The Wildcats regained the lead in the 61st minute as Bryan Celis crossed the ball into the box to Gabriel Conelian who headed it in, making it 2-1 Kentucky.

Castillo scored a goal of his own in the 75th minute after senior Ryan Rosenbaum picked up the ball in the middle of the attacking half and fed Castillo. Castillo then took a touch, pulled the ball back and shot the ball from the top of the 18-yard box, knotting the score, 2-2. The tally was his second of the year.

The teams remained tied, 2-2, after two overtime periods, taking the game to penalty kicks. SMU shot first and took a 1-0 advantage as freshman John Lujanoconverted the opportunity. Junior goalkeeper Jaime Ibarra saved the Wildcats' first kick by Charley Pettys who sent his attempt right and into the right hand of Ibarra. Freshman Eddie Puskarich made his goal, followed by Lodge of Kentucky. Morales found the back of the net for the second time with his penalty kick for a 3-1 SMU lead. Ibarra picked up his second stop in PKs as he again went to his left for a save against Marco Bordon. Freshman Michael King sealed penalty kicks with his shot as SMU won 4-1.

No. 2 Tulsa 1, No. 6 UAB 0 (2OT)

Tulsa senior Jon Wright scored the game-winning goal to give second-seeded TU a 1-0 double-overtime win over sixth-seeded UAB in the Conference USA Men's Soccer Championship semifinals on Friday night at Regions Park in Birmingham, Ala. The Golden Hurricane moved to 12-5-1 on the season, while UAB fell to 9-7-2 overall.

In the eight-year history of the C-USA Men's Soccer Championship, Tulsa has tallied a 12-3-2 overall record in the tournament. The Golden Hurricane won the tournament in 2007, 2008 and 2009, and also played in the title game in 2005 and 2010. Sunday's trip will mark the sixth time in eight years TU has played in the final.

Rocha and Stephen Roberson had a team-best five shots in the contest, while Matt Boullt had four attempts. Eleven other Tulsa players had at least one shot in the game. Mark Pais logged all 106:26 in goal, picked up four saves and earned his sixth shutout on the season.

The Hurricane had a 28-18 lead in shots, including a 9-4 advantage in shots on goal, and an 11-4 lead in corner kicks.

Wednesday, November 7                                                          

No. 5 Kentucky 1, No. 4 Memphis 0 Box Score

HOOVER, Ala. -- After battling through 75 minutes of scoreless action, Kentucky senior defender Jacob Kemper netted his first career goal on a gorgeous strike from 30 yards out, leading the Wildcats to a 1-0 win over Memphis in the opening round of the Conference USA Tournament, hosted by UAB at Regions Park on a chilly Wednesday evening. 

Kentucky (10-8-1) needed a win in the first-round C-USA Tournament game to boost its postseason resume and advance to face C-USA regular-season champion No. 19 SMU on Friday. UK, which owned the No. 26 NCAA RPI and the No. 13 strength of schedule in the nation entering the game, will face the Mustangs in the semifinals of the tournament on Friday at Regions Park. 

No. 6 UAB 3, No. 3 UCF 1 Box Score

HOOVER, Ala. -- Chase Wickham netted a pair of first half goals to lead the sixth-seeded UAB men's soccer team past the No. 3 UCF Knights, 3-1, on Wednesday night in the opening round of the Conference USA Championship at Regions Park.

The win for UAB marked its second against the Knights over the last two weeks, improving the Blazers to 10-6-2 overall.  UCF dropped to 8-7-3 with the loss.

The Blazers notched the first goal of the contest in the 19th minute of action in the opening half.  Karl Chester crossed a pass in from outside the penalty box, right to the feet of Wickham.  The British Columbia native redirected the pass by the UCF goaltender, to give the Blazers the early lead.

Wickham was far from done, as he buried his second goal of the night, and fifth of the season, in the 42nd minute.  Alex Clay dribbled through three UCF defenders, before dishing off a pass to Wickham, who gave the Blazers the 2-0 lead.

UAB looked to own a 2-0 lead entering intermission, but the Knights' Steven Lamberta corralled a ball from a scramble just outside the penalty box and rifled a shot in with just five seconds remaining in the half.

Following intermission, the Blazers kept the pressure on as Diego Navarrete intercepted a UCF pass, dribbled in and found the back of the net for the first time this season.  The goal extended the Blazers' lead, 3-1 and would round out the scoring on the night.

The Conference USA Men's Soccer Championship will be held Nov. 7-11 at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala. SMU is the top seed at the event after claiming the C-USA regular season title. Tulsa is the No. 2 seed. The winner received an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. The quarterfinals and semifinals will be broadcast on the C-USA Digital Network. The final will air live nationally on the CBS Sports Network.

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