Men's Soccer To Open Memphis Classic With Match Against Vermont
Sept. 16, 2009
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -
The Memphis men's soccer team will take on the Vermont Catamounts on Fri., Sept. 18 at 5:30 p.m., at the Mike Rose Soccer Complex in the first game of the 2009 Memphis Classic. The game will serve as the home opener for the Tigers who return home after going 2-1-1 on the road to open the season. Friday's match will be part of a triple header of soccer at the Mike Rose Soccer Complex. The day will begin with a 3 p.m., match between UAB and Central Arkansas in the Memphis Classic. Following the men's soccer game vs. Vermont, the women's soccer program will take on the Saint Louis Billikens at 8 p.m.
"When you do the first two weekends away from home, it is nice to have a home match, it is our home game at Mike Rose (Soccer Complex) this season," said Memphis head coach Richie Grant. "We are really looking forward to it. We got to train on the pitch (at Mike Rose) this week. We are hoping for a good crowd. We played Vermont last year at their place and it was a very competitive game. We are looking for more of the same this year."
The Tigers enter Friday's fixture against Vermont with a record of 2-1-1. The Tigers, ranked No. 6 in the Midwest Region according to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, upended the No. 23 Drake Bulldogs last Sunday by a score of 4-3. The U of M used a total team effort with eight different players accounting for points to take down the Bulldogs, who returned 10 of 11 starters from a team that went to the NCAA Tournament in 2008. So far this season Memphis has been led offensively by Parker Duncan, a All-C-USA third team selection and C-USA All-Freshman team pick in 2008. Duncan has netted two goals and is currently in a tie for first among C-USA soccer players with three assists so far. Along with Duncan, the Tigers have gotten help from several freshman this season. Jon Wright, a freshman midfielder from Tulsa, Okla., has accounted for two goals and one assist in his first season in the program. Fellow newcomer J.J. Greer, a native of Cordova, Tenn., has one goal and two assists this season from his forward position. Freshmen Andreas Guentner and Justin Watson have also contributed goals, as has junior midfielder Ryan Ruble.
Defensively, Michael Goodlett has continued to hold down the back of the defense for Memphis. The goalkeeper currently has a 1.66 goals against average and 13 saves. The native of Bolton, Miss., picked up a shutout earlier this season against Eastern Illinois. The Tigers have also gotten solid performances from defenders Rick Alleman, Rory O'Connor, Thomas Shannon and freshman Jordan Johnson. Alleman, a senior from Spring, Texas, has been named to two All-Tournament squads so far this season, garnering honors at the Busey Bank Kickoff Festival at Bradley and the UAB "Soccer For A Cure" Classic.
Vermont enters Friday's match with a record of 0-3-2. The Catamounts are coming off of two draws in their home tournament, the Morgan Stanley/Smith Barney Soccer Classic. Vermont tied Portland, 1-1, on Fri., Sept. 11 and UMASS, 1-1, on Sun., Sept. 13. The Catamounts have gotten an early season boost from this week's America East Rookie of the Week D.J. Edler, a native of Atlanta, Ga., and former club teammate of current Memphis defender Joey Deloney with the Gwinnett Soccer Association. Edler has scored three goals for Vermont this season including the Catamounts' only two goals last weekend. Senior forward/midfielder T.J. Gore currently leads the team with two assists.
Defensively, Tom Critz has allowed seven goals and tallied 24 saves at goal for the Catamounts this season. The senior has a 1.29 goals against average and has limited teams to 11 shots on goal. The match on Friday will be the second meeting between the Vermont Catamounts and Memphis Tigers. The Catamounts defeated the Tigers, 1-0, last year at the Smith Barney/Nike Soccer Classic in Burlington, Vt. Coach Jesse Cormier's squad used a goal from Jake McFadden to best the Tigers.
Friday will begin the 11th edition of the Memphis Classic. Last year, the Bradley Braves won the tournament with wins over Memphis and UAB. Bradley forward Chris Cutshaw scored two goals for the Braves and was named the 2008 Memphis Classic Most Valuable Player. Memphis has won the tournament three times, with their last championship coming in 2007. Missouri State won the inaugural Memphis Classic in 1999. Marshall, Alabama A&M, Illinois-Chicago, Oral Roberts and Clemson are the other five teams to claim the tournament championship.
The Tigers will look to set an attendance record on Friday at the Mike Rose Soccer Complex. Admission to all three games will be free. Fans not in attendance can view live streaming audio and video of the Memphis game on Friday via Memphis All-Access at gotigersgo.com. The game will be called by Andrew Vandeventer and former Memphis soccer player Brennan Somers. Friday's early game between UAB and Central Arkansas will have live video via Memphis All-Access.
"I thought we had some great crowds in preseason matches when we played on campus (at Echles Field)," Grant said. "Because it is our first (home) game and it is against a good out-of-state opposition, we are really hoping that some people come out and support. A good fanbase makes a big difference and we are really hoping to get off to a right start. Our job is to make sure we have a good product on the field and that we can win our home games and we hope that people come out and support us."
Memphis will take on Central Arkansas at 5:30 p.m., in the Tigers' second game of the Memphis Classic. The Tigers upended the Bears of Central Arkansas, 5-1, last season in the fixture between the two teams in Conway, Ark.