Sanderson's Late Goal Lifts @MemphisWSoccer Over Florida Gulf Coast, 2-1
Sept. 20, 2013
FORT MYERS, Fla. - Freshman forward Valerie Sanderson notched her second career game-winning goal in the 85th minute to lift Memphis (6-2-0) over Florida Gulf Coast (5-2-1) 2-1 on Friday at FGCU Soccer Complex.
"Florida Gulf Coast is a solid team that works really hard," head coach Brooks Monaghan said. "Tonight was a tough match and we definitely didn't play our best. We had some below average performances individually. Playing better individually will allow us to play well as a team. I expect us to play with a better mentality on Sunday to result in a better performance. I have a ton of faith in this group, but we are better than we performed today."
Unbeaten in its last six outings, including four-straight victories, Florida Gulf Coast came out as the aggressors. The Eagles forced freshman goalkeeper Maryse Bard-Martel to make two stops in a matter of seconds as Tabitha Tindell put two quality shots on frame. Bard-Martel stopped both, for two of her three first half saves.
Memphis nearly took a 1-0 lead in the 21st minute as Alex Craig fired a shot. Craig's shot hit the crossbar and the FGCU defense was able to clear away any chance of a rebound goal. Four minutes later, Honeye Heydari forced the Eagles goalkeeper to make the stop.
A set piece from 13 yards away resulted in a goal for the Lady Tigers in the 30th minute. Kaitlyn Atkins directed the free kick toward the Eagles wall, where the shot was initially blocked, but Diamond Simpson raced in and put away her second goal of the season. Atkins picked up her fifth assist on the year as Memphis grabbed the 1-0 advantage. With the assist, Atkins has 16 on her career, putting her one shy of tying for fifth place in program history.
"I thought we scored that goal off of hustle," Monaghan said. "We talked about making sure we were 100 percent focused and that's what Diamond did. Kaitlyn served a great ball and that is definitely one of her strengths. She's done a great job this season with her service."
Tindell had all three of the Eagles first half shots on goal and her fourth would net the equalizer in the 57th minute. After Shannen Wacker stole the ball away from the Memphis defense, Tindell was served a cross and put away the goal to tie the match at 1-1.
Senior striker Christabel Oduro looked to answer the Eagles score. Oduro put the shot on frame, but FGCU goalkeeper Brittany Brown made her fourth save to keep the game square at 1-1. The Lady Tigers didn't back down as Kelley Gravlin tested Brown in the 69th minute. Brown again made the stop, her fifth of the evening.
FGCU earned a corner kick in the 73rd minute and got a quality chance to take the lead. Ally Kasun served the kick from the corner flag and Julia Roddar was able to get a shot off. Bard-Martel came up with the big save, her fourth of the night, to keep the game at 1-1.
Junior Nugene Nugent stole the ball away from the Eagles defense in the 85th minute to create a scoring chance for the U of M. Nugent fed a cross on the goal line to Sanderson and Sanderson was able to put the goal past the out-stretched hands of the goalkeeper. Sanderson picks up her sixth goal of the season and her second career game-winner while Nugent was credited with her third assist.
"I didn't feel we were playing well at the end, but Nugene got out wide and beat some defenders," Monaghan added. "She served a great ball to Valerie and she was able to finish. We hope that gives Valerie some confidence going into Sunday."
Memphis finished the match with a 13-8 edge in shots, but a slim 7-5 margin in shots on goal. Bard-Martel made four saves while Brown had five stops. With the win, Memphis improves to 2-0-0 on the season following a loss and 21-4-2 after a loss since the 2007 season. The Lady Tigers also improve their road record since 2007 to 41-11-4, with a 3-1 mark on the season.
The Lady Tigers play game three of their six-game road swing on Sunday at FAU. Kickoff is slated for 11 a.m. (CT) in Boca Raton, Fla.