No. 13 Tigers Shut Out Belmont, 5-0
Nov. 2, 2004
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Five different Tigers picked up goals as the No. 13 University of Memphis men's soccer team blanked Belmont 5-0 at the Mike Rose Soccer Complex on Tuesday night.
In their final home game of the regular season, the Tigers (12-3-1, 7-1-0 C-USA) put the Bruins (8-7-2, 5-3-1 A-Sun) away early as freshman Adam Montgomery scored his first goal of the season in the seventh minute. The goal was the first shot of the game and came on senior John Reilly's third assist of the year.
"The timing of our first goal was very important," said Memphis head coach Richie Grant. "We looked like a very focused team. We knew Belmont would work hard, and we knew we had to match that."
Memphis then scored three more goals in an 11 minute period to give the Tigers a 4-0 lead at halftime. Junior Stephen Cooling scored his third goal of the season on a free kick. Reilly then added his second goal of the season off of freshman defender Michael Coburn's third assist of the year. Junior forward Andy Metcalf then capped off the scoring streak with his team leading ninth goal of the season off an assist from Cormac McArdle. With the goal and assist, Reilly led the Tigers with three points in the game.
"Reilly's worked hard in training, but we didn't think his goal would come from his head," Grant said. "His effort in defending is going to lead to some very positive things for our team."
Freshman forward Marcus McCarty finalized the scoring with an unassisted drive beginning in the midfield for his fourth goal of the season. The game is the first for McCarty since breaking his ankle a few weeks earlier.
"Look how quickly the lad has recovered," Grant said. "Robert Nicholson invested in a couple of bicycles to retain fitness for our injured players. We wanted to give Marcus a lot of minutes. For him to score, he showed strength, speed and skill. It is a big boost for us to have him going into the playoffs."
The shutout is the third in a row for the Tigers' defense who now has six on the season. Senior Sebastian Vecchio (11-3-0) earned a share of the shutout after blanking Belmont in the first half. His shutout streak now increases to 258 minutes. Freshman goalkeeper Gavin McInerty played the entire second half, preserving the shutout and picking up his first collegiate save.
"That back five is the key component to our success," Grant said. "They take immense pride in their jobs. They allow other players to go and do what they're good at."
With an original goal of just making it to the conference tournament after being preseason picked to finish second to last in the conference, the Tigers are now readjusting their goals to include bigger and greater things. The team has only lost once in its last 11 games and that was to a then No. 10 USF team. Memphis has also won seven home games in a row and are 8-1 at home this season.
"Our team has treated each opposition the same," Grant said. "This team has been very mature about reestablishing our goals as we go through the season. They set the tone for each game and go one game at a time."
"Our work is not done," Grant said. "We have ourselves a No. 1 seed in the conference tournament, and that's the reward for the seniors' ability and leadership. They're the ones that are staying focused. You can sense that they want a lot more before their collegiate careers come to an end."
The Tigers will next play their final conference game of the regular season at East Carolina (6-10-0, 2-5-0 C-USA) on Saturday at 12 p.m (CST). If Memphis wins the game, they will claim sole possession of the C-USA regular season title and also win the second most conference games ever in the history of C-USA. The Tigers final game of the regular season will be at Lipscomb on Monday, Nov. 6. Memphis will then head to the conference tournament as the No. 1 seed and play in the semifinals on Friday, Nov. 12 in Louisville, Ky.