Ten-Woman Lady Tigers Defeat Crimson Tide 2-1
Aug. 24, 2014
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Despite playing with 10 women for 75 minutes, Valerie Sanderson's brace helped the Lady Tigers overcome an early deficit to defeat the Crimson Tide 2-1 at the Alabama Soccer Complex in Tuscaloosa, Ala. on Sunday night.
"Words can't describe it," Memphis head coach Brooks Monaghan said. "It's very, very rare in women's soccer to be able to come back from a man down, and to play with a man down for 75 minutes. It speaks extremely of our kids' character to not give up and to keep fighting. I could not be prouder as a coach tonight."
Memphis (1-0-0) fell behind early both on the scoreboard and the field, as junior defender Marissa Duguay was given a straight red for taking down Alabama's Lacey Clarida in the box in the 16th minute. Merel van Dongen stepped up and slotted the penalty into the lower right corner to give the home side the 1-0 advantage.
The Lady Tigers' first real chance of the game came in the ninth minute, when Elysia Masters hit the crossbar from 40-yards out.
Maryse Bard-Martel made a diving save in the 23rd minute to deny Alabama (1-1-0) a second goal, and the Lady Tigers entered the half down only the one goal.
It took only four minutes into the second half for Memphis to find an equalizer. Masters played a corner in and Valerie Sanderson rose above the opponents past the defender on the near post.
It was the first goal of the season for Memphis and Sanderson, and the18th of Sanderson's career.
Memphis kept applying pressure on Alabama, and in the 71st minute Sanderson grabbed a second goal when she latched on to the end of a cross on the back post from Nugene Nugent and headed it in for the lead.
It was the fifth time Sanderson has scored multiple goals in a game, and her sixth career game-winning goal.
"What can you say? Val is a big time player, and you need big time players to step up in tough moments, and she did," Monaghan said, "Tonight it was all about team effort - every single person on the team, whether they played or not. We rallied the troops and the kids fought. It wasn't easy. I thought we were looking extremely good for the first 15 minutes and had control of the game. Then things change and you never know what can happen there. A lot of teams that I've coached in the past would falter there. Tonight the kids showed, as I said, a lot of character."
For the final 29 minutes, the Lady Tigers' defense held firm and did not allow Alabama many chances to equalize.
"I said it after the game; I have to give a lot of credit to the back, which turned into the back three," Monaghan said. "When we got the red card, you have to adapt. We challenged our back three to play 3v3, which is very difficult to do. And we didn't let them get in behind us. You have to give props to the three defenders, Diamond Simpson, Carly Cassidy and Elysia Masters. For Freshman Hali Sutter to come in when Elysia was cramping and had to come off, for Hali to step in and not miss a beat speaks highly of her as well."
The Lady Tigers were outshot 15-10 in the game, but held an 8-5 advantage in shots on goal.
In goal, Bard-Martel came through with four saves, while Memphis forced Alabama keeper Kat Stratton into six.
The Lady Tigers return to action on Tuesday for their home opener against Lipscomb at 7:00 PM at Mike Rose Soccer Complex. Admission is free.