Undermanned Tigers Force 0-0 Draw Against No. 2 Bluejays
Sept. 1, 2001
OMAHA, Neb. - Despite having to play without the services of six upperclassman, the U of M men's soccer team fended off the No. 2 Creighton Bluejays on Saturday evening, by a score of 0-0. The Tigers withstood two fifteen minute overtime periods to force the tie in front of over 1,500 fans at Tranquility Park, during Memphis' regular season opener at the Diadora Challenge.
Memphis held strong throughout the physical match and actually had the Bluejays against the ropes throughout the majority of the extra-time. The U of M forced Creighton into it's first draw in over a year and held the Bluejays to just five shots on goal. The Tigers only used a total of 13 players during the contest while the Bluejays continued to substitute throughout the waning moments of the overtime periods.
A total of five true freshman got the starting nod from head coach Richie Grant including, local defenders Jake German (Ridgeway), Justin Dyer (CBHS) and midfielder Peter Cummings, while local forwards Matt Bryant (Ridgeway HS) and Reid Greenslade (Horn Lake HS) started in place of place of preseason all-conference strikers Sean Fraser and Lars Thorstensen.
Bryant may have had the best chance to give the U of M it's first win over a ranked program since the 1997 season, when he sent a breakaway attempt just over the bar during the first overtime.
It appears the Tigers late-summer tour of Ireland may have been just whatMemphis needed, to begin leaving their mark on the national scene.
"It was just a great night for us and our program," stated Grant. "It's great to witness the character this team actually coming of age, this early during the season. We were pleased with the result, given the circumstances, and also excited with the fact that we had several legitimate chances to win at end. It was clear towards the end of the match that we had earned the respect of their fans and players. Our fitness level was superior to theirs, which tells me that our trip to Ireland has already begun to pay off."
The Tigers used just two substitutes in the game and received solid performances from two other freshman in midfielder John Reilly and forward Daniel Dobson.
Memphis will now get set to battle another MVC opponent tomorrow when they take on the Drake Bulldogs at Tranquility Park at 5 p.m. CDT. The Bulldogs defeated Oregon State 1-0 prior to the Tigers and Bluejays match on Saturday.