Tigers Capture C-USA Season Title Outright with 4-0 Win at ECU
Nov. 6, 2004
GREENVILLE, N.C. - Earning a fourth-straight shutout, the No. 13 University of Memphis men's soccer team captured the Conference USA regular season title outright with a 4-0 victory over East Carolina on Saturday.
The Tigers added to their record conference win total, improving to 13-3-1 and 8-1-0 in C-USA. The eight conference regular season wins are the second most ever in C-USA history. Saint Louis holds the top spot with a 9-1 conference record in 2001 when 11 teams instead of 10 made up the league. The 13 regular season victories also tie for the most in a year, matching the win totals in the Tigers' 1992 and 2000 seasons. A win in Memphis' final game at Lipscomb would break the regular season record and also tie for the most wins ever in a season.
"We came here knowing what we needed to do," said Memphis head coach Richie Grant. "Everybody was diligent in doing what needed to be done to win this game. We were very organized today."
Dayton O'Brien became the Tigers' all-time assist leader with two assists against the Pirates. The junior now has 24 assists, passing the 22 set by Rogerio Lima (1996-97) and Donal McDonagh (1986-88). O'Brien's 12 assists on the season also tie him with Lima (1997) for the most assists in a season at the U of M. The Memphis, Tenn., native's 12 assists matched his previous two year total and rank in the top three in the nation.
Saturday's game was decided early as senior midfielder John Reilly scored the game-winner in the sixth minute on a corner from O'Brien that was flicked by senior defender Justin Dyer. The goal is Reilly's third of the season.
East Carolina then held Memphis scoreless into the second half when the Tigers exploded for three more goals. Senior Daniel Dobson scored his fourth goal of the year from 18 yards out off an assist from Andy Metcalf in the 57th minute.
Two freshmen then hit the remaining two goals. Marcus McCarty connected off another corner kick from O'Brien and a flick from Dobson for his fifth goal of the season in the 64th minute. McCarty's five goals tie him for fifth all-time among freshman at the U of M. He matches Nick Glaser's five set in 1997. Jared Britcher then capped the Tigers' scoring with his first collegiate goal in the 86th minute off an assist from junior Stephen Cooling.
The Tigers out shot the Pirates 19-9, and only allowed three in the first period. Senior Sebastian Vecchio and freshman Gavin McInerney teamed up for Memphis' fourth-straight shutout and seventh of the season. The seven shutouts rank fourth all-time at Memphis and the Tigers are one away from matching the most consecutive shutouts of five set in 1996. Vecchio lowered his conference leading goals against average to 0.64 and raised his save percentage to .870.
Memphis will play its final regular season game at Lipscomb on Monday at 7 p.m. The Bisons (0-17, 0-9 A-Sun) have yet to win a game this season and have a 4.36 goals against average while only scoring seven goals in the season. The Tigers will then prepare for the C-USA Tournament as they enter with the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye. Pairings for the tournament will be announced Sunday evening.