Tigers Battle Knights in First Round of C-USA Tournament
Nov. 11, 2008
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The Memphis men's soccer team will kick off play at the 2008 C-USA Soccer Tournament on Wednesday afternoon at 2:30 at Westcott Field in Dallas, Texas. The Tigers will look to avenge an early season loss to the UCF Knights in their first round match-up. The U of M enters the tournament as the No. 3 seed. UCF possesses the No. 6 seed in the tournament.
"We are really pleased to finish third in the league," said head coach Richie Grant. "We are excited about our quarterfinal game with UCF. They will be a difficult opponent for us. They beat us during the season, but I think we have a lot more games under our belt coming into our second match with them."
The Tigers enter Wednesday's bout with a mark of 6-10-2 on the 2008 season. The U of M finished the conference slate owning a 3-4-1 record. They finished the conference season last Friday with a shutout of the No. 23 Kentucky Wildcats. The match ended in a 0-0 draw after two overtime periods.
The 2008 conference regular season was full of ups and downs for the Tigers. They started the year with two conference losses at UCF, 1-0, and at home against the UAB Blazers, 2-0, but bounced back with resounding fervor and upset No. 15 SMU in a nationally televised broadcast by CBS College Sports on a Michael Coburn header in the first overtime period.
The Tigers followed their toppling of the Mustangs, with two-straight conference wins at FIU and South Carolina. The Tigers shutout the Gamecocks, who entered the match on Oct. 17, boasting a 6-4-2 record. Coburn scored his second game-winning goal of the season against USC on a free kick which was bent perfectly into the top corner of the goal past Second Team All-C-USA goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer.
The stage was set for another upset over a ranked apponent when the Tigers readied for their home match-up with the No. 11 Tulsa Golden Hurricane. Memphis entered the game with a conference scratch of 3-3-0, but was unable to overcome Tulsa, as they fell, 5-1.
Memphis would return to conference play a week later, when they took on the Marshall Thundering Herd in the final home game of the season for the U of M. The game would be an emotional one for the Tigers as they said farewell to six seniors who had given their all for the Tigers in their four seasons in the Blue and Gray. The Tigers started the game with a miscue, as they scored an own goal to put Marshall up, 1-0. Marshall would score another goal to put them ahead, 2-0. The Tigers clawed their way back on a Sean Goulding set up to Bradley Jacobs, who scored his second goal of the week on a header past the Marshall keeper. The Tigers had several chances to tie the game up, but were unable to send the seniors off with a win.
The U of M wrapped up the conference slate, with their 0-0 shutout of the No. 23 Kentucky Wildcats. It was the first time the Tigers had earned a tie against a ranked opponent since they tied No. 14 Tulsa last season.
The U of M has been led in scoring this season by Parker Duncan, a freshman from Johnson City, Tenn., who has tallied six goals and one assist in his first season in the Blue and Gray. Duncan has come on strong for the Tigers ever since the SMU game, as he stepped into the starting 11 for the Tigers and hasn't looked up. Duncan's six goals on the season have come in the last seven games for the U of M. Memphis has also got help offensively from Ryan Ruble and Sean Goulding, who have both contributed seven points on the season. Ruble, a sophomore from Lee's Summit, Mo., who was a All-Freshman selection in 2007, has accumulated two goals and three assists for the Tigers. Goulding, a senior from Arbroath, Scotland, has five assists and one goal for Memphis in 2008.
Defensively, Michael Coburn has done everything that has been asked of him, whether it be offensively or defensively. The senior captain from Dundalk, Ireland, has two game-winning goals for the Tigers and has garnered both C-USA Offensive Player of the Week and Defensive Player of the Week this season.
In goal, Michael Goodlett has posted a 1.32 goals against average in his third season with the U of M. Goodlett has racked up 72 saves this season. He has four shutouts on the season, including shutouts vs. C-USA foes South Carolina and Kentucky. Goodlett was honored as the C-USA Defensive Player of the Week following his shutout of the 18th-ranked scoring team in the nation.
UCF enters the match-up with a record of 6-10-1. The Knights finished the conference slate with a mark of 3-4-1. UCF is led by First Team All-C-USA selection Kevan George, a native of Decatur, Ga. George who also earned All-Freshman team honors, has four goals and one assist in 2008. Ryan Roushandel also earned all-conference honors. The senior from Atlanta, Ga., has three goals this season.
In goal, Sean Johnson has accumulated a league-leading 96 saves. The sophomore goalkeeper from Lilburn, Ga., has a 1.38 goals against average coming into Wednesday's game.
The winner of Wednesday's match-up will play the winner of the Kentucky/Marshall game. Kentucky enters the tournament as the No. 2 seed. While Marshall garnered the No. 7 seed in the tournament. The game will take place at 5 p.m., on Fri., Nov. 14. At last year's conference tournament, the Tigers were ousted in the first round by fourth-seed South Carolina, 2-1, in overtime. The last time the Tigers have walked away with the conference crown was in 2004 when they defeated UAB to secure the title.