Top Seeded Tigers Shut Out Saint Louis in C-USA Semifinals
Nov. 13, 2004
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A late first period goal was all the top seeded University of Memphis men's soccer team needed to defeat fifth seeded Saint Louis, 1-0, in the semifinals of the Conference USA tournament at Cardinal Park.
The Tigers (15-3-1, 8-1 C-USA) will now face No. 2 seeded UAB (12-6, 7-2) in the championship match-up on Sunday at 2 p.m. (EST). UAB beat sixth seeded Charlotte, 1-0 in double overtime on Saturday. It is only the second time Memphis has made it to the final C-USA tournament game with the first time coming in 1998 in a 4-2 loss to USF.
"I don't think that was our best performance today," said Memphis head coach Richie Grant. "We looked a little uncomfortable with the ball when we processed it. It was a little out of character. Obviously, not letting the other team score is also important at this point."
Memphis capitalized on its chances in the first period to take a 1-0 lead into halftime. With a little more than four minutes left in the period, freshman Michael Coburn crossed the ball into the penalty box from the right corner. Freshman Marcus McCarty headed the pass forward to senior John Reilly who headed in the game-winner past SLU goalie Pat Disbennett. The goal is Reilly's fourth on the season. McCarty picked up his second assist and Coburn picked up his third.
The Billikens only got two shots off in the half, but both were excellent chances to score. In the 33rd minute, Eddie Parker created a one-one-one opportunity with Memphis goalie Sebastian Vecchio but shot the ball wide to the left. Later in the period, Saint Louis flicked the ball to Will John in front of the box, but the ball was not hit squarely and went right into Vecchio's grasp. John's shot was the first shot on goal in the game.
Junior Andy Metcalf made what at first appeared to be a Memphis goal early in the game. In the 22nd minute, Metcalf put off a shot into the net on a ball served by Cormac McArdle, but offsides was called late by the referee.
The Tigers out shot the Billikents 7-6 en route to earning their sixth-consecutive shutout, a new Memphis record. The shutout streak began with a 2-0 victory over Saint Louis in October. The shutout is the ninth of the season for the Tigers, tying for second all-time in the program history. The record is 11 shutouts accomplished in 1992. Conference defender of the year, Vecchio, earned his sixth complete shutout and improved his record to 14-3.
The win is the sixth consecutive for Memphis, setting a new school record for consecutive wins in a season. The record for consecutive wins over a stretch of two years is eight set in 1986-87. The Tigers also broke the record for most wins in a season with 15.
"We were underdogs back in August," Grant said. "Now we come here and are favorites. It's obviously a credit to our squad. We knew if we could get here with the one or two seed we would have an opportunity to play a team that played the first day."
The championship game will be televised by the C-USA TV Network with Don Russell and Bill McDermott calling the play-by-play. The game will be picked up by College Sports TV, DirecTV Ch. 610 and Time Warner Digital Cable 651. Live stats are also available through Gametracker. A link to Gametracker can be found on the men's soccer schedule page at www.goTIGERSgo.com.