Melissa Smith Sends No. 6 Memphis Past Marshall 1-0
Sept. 30, 2011
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Melissa Smith scored with 45 seconds remaining and No. 6 Memphis (11-0-0, 3-0-0 C-USA) escaped Marshall (2-8-1, 0-3-0 C-USA) with a 1-0 victory on Friday in a Conference USA battle."This is one of those games where a win is a win," head coach Brooks Monaghan said. "When you play at Marshall you play in a tough environment with longer grass, a narrower pitch and tonight it was even tougher with the rain and wind. Credit to Marshall with what they do at home. They played extremely well and made it extremely tough for us to score by packing it in, in the back and looking to counter off of that. They had chances to score off the way they played."
After failing to put away one of 26 shots in the first 88 minutes of play, Memphis got on the board as Smith weaved her way through the defense and struck from five yards away to score the game-winner at 89:15. It was Smith's third goal on the season and sixth career game-winner. Smith became the eighth Lady Tiger to collect a game-winning goal this season."We stayed composed and kept playing tonight and I am proud of our girls for that," Monaghan said. "We hoped it was a matter of time to score after getting so many shots and Melissa came through late. This one is behind us and we have to shift our focus to the next one."
Goalkeeper Elise Kuhar-Pitters posted her seventh clean sheet of the season as she collected three saves on the night. Kuhar-Pitters improved her school-record shutout total to 30 and registered her 46th career victory, also a program record. Kuhar-Pitters bettered her program record career goals-against average to 0.82 and has a 0.26 GAA on the season.
Memphis finished the contest having out-shot Marshall 27-11 and the 27 shots, the first time Memphis has posted 25-plus shots since the Aug. 21 match against UALR (29). Natalia Gomez-Junco led the offensive attack with seven shots, four shots on frame.
The Lady Tigers start conference play at 3-0-0 for the first time in program history. Unbeaten in 11 matches, the 2011 squad ties the longest streak set in 2010 (8-0-3) and 2007 (10-0-1). The U of M defense posted its 11th-straight first half without allowing a goal. Memphis improves to 7-0 all-time against Marshall. The Lady Tigers finish with an unblemished record of 7-0 in September and are 26-11-0 all-time. In road conference games, the U of M bettered its record to 17-3-3 and is 32-6-3 in road games since the 2007 season."I think this close game in league play says a lot for the conference as a whole," Monaghan said. "Our conference doesn't seem to get the credit it deserves, but tonight was a perfect example of having to be at your best to get a win no matter who the opponent is. If we aren't at our best, it's always going to be a battle and that was the case tonight."
Memphis closes the five-game road trip on Sunday with a 1 p.m. match at East Carolina. The Lady Tigers return to Mike Rose Soccer Complex next Friday for a clash with SMU at 7 p.m.