MU Opens C-USA Soccer Tournament Wed.

Marshall men's soccer team will face No. 2-seeded Kentucky on Wednesday, November 12, at the Conference USA Tournament. Ths year's tournament will be held in Dallas, Texas, on the campus of SMU. Games will be held at the Westcott Stadium, home of the Mustangs' soccer program, the only Division I men's soccer program in football-crazy Texas. The kickoff is Noon central, 1 p.m. in the east.

Marshall also received some other news on the men's team on Tuesday, as the All-Conference USA awards were handed out. The Marshall University men's soccer team had three student-athletes receive Conference USA honors announced by the league office Tuesday. MU Seniors Sterling Flunder and Jira Cooley both earned All-Conference Third team honors. Flunder completed the 2008 regular season with two goals, while Cooley finished with one goal and an assist.

Jira Cooley (#8) was joined by teammate Sterling Flunder on the All-Conference USA Men's Soccer team, while freshman Jordan Hilgefort was named to the All-C-USA Freshman team on Tuesday, Nov. 11. The Herd opens up C-USA Tournament play with Kentucky on Wednesday, Nov. 12. photo from

Also today, freshman Jordan Hilgefort wrapped-up his first collegiate season by earning a spot on the All-Conference USA Freshman team. In his first year, Hilgefort played in 16 games with 12 starts. His first goal as a member of the Thundering Herd came against Memphis as the game-winner in a 2-1 victory.

Gametracker, available at Marshall's official athletic web site, will have coverage of the Marshall/Kentucky game along with all of the matches during the C-USA tournament will be available. Live video can be ordered also at the site through All-Access.

Marshall coach Bob Gray saw his team start 0-8-1 this season, but Marshall rallied for a 3-5 record in Conference USA play and the No. 7-seed in the tournament with a 3-13-1 record. Kentucky is a member of C-USA for men's soccer only, along with their SEC mates from South Carolina as well as Sun Belt Conference member Florida International. On the women's side, Colorado College is a member of C-USA for soccer.

The Wildcats (10-4-4, 6-1-1) placed second behind Tulsa and Kentucky defeated Marshall earlier this year 4-0 in Huntington, W.Va., at Sam Hood Field on the MU campus. But it was just last year in the opening round of the conference tournament that the Herd upset the Wildcats 3-1. Wednesday's contest will mark the 27th time these two schools have met as Marshall leads the series 12-11-3.

Gray, the sixth head coach in Marshall's 30-year history, enters his 14th season at the helm of Marshall soccer. With only six losing seasons in 31 years of collegiate coaching and a career record of 344-193-39, Gray is continuing his legacy as one of the NCAA's winningest coaches. In 13 seasons with the Herd, Gray has a 129-126-15 record. Last season, the Herd's third in C-USA, Gray led the Herd to their second birth in the C-USA tournament. In the first round, Marshall claimed a 3-1 upset over third-seeded Kentucky before losing to Florida International in the semifinals, 1-3.

During the 2005 campaign, Gray led the Herd in its inaugural season in Conference USA to a 4-3-2 conference mark. His efforts and success was noted as he was honored with the Conference USA Coach of the Year award. In 2004, Gray became the first Marshall men's soccer coach to eclipse the 100-win plateau in the Herd's 1-0 win over Alabama A&M. In 2000, Gray passed Jack DeFazio for first place on the all-time victory list in Marshall men's soccer history. Gray won his 300th career game in 1998 when the Herd defeated Eastern Michigan, 3-1, becoming one of only 10 active Division I coaches to achieve this milestone.

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