Lady Tigers Drop First Exhibition Match to Notre Dame
Aug. 12, 2008
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - The preseason C-USA favorite University of Memphis women's soccer team began exhibition play tonight at NSCAA No. 5 Notre Dame. The pure speed and physical play of the Fighting Irish along with their great depth proved to be too much for Memphis as they downed the Lady Tigers 3-1.
The Lady Tigers played tonight without a pair of their game changers. Emiko Schwab and Vendula Strnadova were both named to the preseason All-C-USA list this morning, but were sidelined tonight with injuries. Head Coach Brooks Monaghan explained how this may have impacted the outcome.
"We were without Emiko (Schwab) and Vendula (Strnadova) tonight," Monaghan said. "They are two of our best players, All-Conference players and they are a big part of our midfield. Our other players came out and did a wonderful job, but I do think that did affect us and the flow of the game."
In the first half the Fighting Irish confirmed their No. 5 ranking by out-shooting the Lady Tigers 13-3. However, at the end of 45 minutes of play, Memphis had held the deficit to just 1-0 at the half. The only goal of the first period was scored by Notre Dame senior forward Kerri Hanks at the 30:47 mark.
Notre Dame netted two more goals in the second half working the score to 3-0. The second goal came from sophomore midfielder Erica Iantorno who was able to deposit a rebound in the back of the net at the 64:57 point of the second half. The Irish's final goal was scored at the 70:57 mark as Ellen Jantsch dumped the ball to Irish teammate Taylor Kknaack who sent it home.
Even while the Lady Tigers played with a 3-0 deficit late in the second half on the road against No. 5 Notre Dame, they did not back down and would not go home empty handed. At the 75:03 mark, sophomore forward Ashley Berra dribbled towards the corner and launched the ball towards the goal. The Fighting Irish goalkeeper was unable to handle the hard shot as the ball fell off her hands into the goal ending the chance for a shut-out.
"It is a credit to our kids that they kept fighting and they were not intimidated," Monaghan said. "We had some chances and we fought hard. We feel as if Notre Dame is one of the best teams we play this season and we can look back at this match and say that we can play with the best and we should ultimately be able to contend with everybody on our schedule."
Berra's goal would be the only score for Memphis as the game ended with a final score of 3-1. The Lady Tigers came away defeated, but also with a great experience of playing against a high caliber top ranked team. With their first game under their belt coach Monaghan talked about his team's performance and the upcoming game.
"We are in the first week of the season and we immediately play one of the top teams in the country," Monaghan said. "The better team did win the game today, but we took a lot out of the game. There were several positives we can take away and there are also many things we need to work on. But most of all it was a great opportunity for us to get most of our players on the field to play against a quality opponent. We are looking forward to building on this game and we can now look forward to our next test Thursday which will be another tough game for us against Western Kentucky."
The Tigers spend the day on the road Wednesday traveling to Bowling Green, Ky. to face off against Western Kentucky Thursday afternoon at 1:00 p.m.