Lady Tigers Convert Corner Kicks to Defeat SMU 2-0
Oct. 16, 2009
Memphis, Tenn. -
The University of Memphis women’s soccer team used two corner kicks to defeat the SMU Mustangs 2-0 Friday night at the Mike Rose Soccer Complex.
"It's huge to get a win tonight,” head coach Brooks Monaghan said. “We have set our goals high here. Our number one goal is to make the NCAA's. We can't afford to slip. In the big picture it is huge and in the conference standings (it is huge.) Our goal is still to win a conference championship and it's still attainable. Obviously some results have to happen. This game is huge but Sunday is just as big. Every game from here on out is extremely important."
The Lady Tigers improve to 10-5-0 on the season and 5-2-0 in C-USA action. Friday’s win marked the first time Memphis captured a victory at the Mike Rose Soccer Complex on a Friday night this season. SMU drops to 4-9-1 overall and 2-4-1 in C-USA action.
"It is extremely important to our team,” junior forward Amanda Olszewski said. “We ran and beat each other up (in practice) all week trying to get a win on Friday night. It is good to finally get through a Friday night with a win."
Junior forward Amanda Olszewski opened the scoring for the Lady Tigers in the 67th minute off a corner kick from Ashley Berra. Berra played the kick and served the ball inside the penalty area where Olszewski gathered the ball and placed her third game-winner of the season in the back left corner of the net from six yards out. Berra tallied her fourth assist of the season on the goal that gave Memphis a 1-0 lead.
“We have been working in practice lately on finishing and it is good to get some quality finishes in this match,” Olszewski said. “We worked a lot on set-pieces (in practice) and we scored on two set-pieces. I'm really proud of that."
Junior defender Kelsey Bakker scored her first goal of the season in the 78th minute on Memphis’ sixth corner kick of the match. Berra played the corner kick and placed the ball four yards in front of the net where senior Tori Dalton tapped the ball to Bakker for the goal. Dalton picked up her first assist of the season while Berra picked up her second of the match and fifth of the season.
“It was a well deserved goal and I'm ecstatic for Kelsey,” Monaghan said. “Kelsey had a great game tonight. Amanda (Olszewski) is just a little worker and hard work pays off and that is what happened tonight with her goal. Ashley (Berra) is just racking up the points. We just hope they keep coming. We need Ashley to make sure she stays focused and do what she does best which is putting points on the board."
"Ashley sends wonderful balls in(off corner kicks),” Olszewski said. “Ashley had both assists today and she just does a great job of getting balls into the box and finishing as well. She is an all-around very good forward."
Sophomore goalkeeper Elise Kuhar-Pitters posted her eighth shutout of the season, tying former Lady Tiger goalkeeper Isabel Briones for the second-most shutouts in a single season. With nine shutouts this season, Memphis is one shutout shy of the single season record of 10 posted by the 2007 squad.
"It’s exciting coming back from my previous year being injured and missing games,” Kuhar-Pitters said. “It has been great to come back and have a good season so far and have these shutouts. I wouldn't be able to do it without my defense because they really make it easy for me. The saves that I have had to make haven't been too strenuous. That is what it comes down to, all of us working as a unit. I really credit them."
"I'm proud of the defense,” Kelsey Bakker said. “We didn't let anyone get by us. We did have a couple of balls get through but we had each other covered. That is the main thing as long as we have each other covered we will be alright. Elise (Kuhar-Pitters) did a great job and our midfielders did a good job of dropping back. The team did very well defensively."
Memphis ended the match having outshot the Mustangs 13-10. The Lady Tigers posted a 7-2 shots on goal advantage lead by junior midfielder Vendula Strnadova who posted three shots on goal on six total shots. The Lady Tigers were outshot in the first half 6-5, but outshot the Mustangs 8-4 in the second half.
"I thought we were really focused offensively and defensively on set-pieces which we talked a lot about. So I was proud of that. We had a great week of practice. The intensity was fantastic. We were a little bit shocked about the first half. I thought at the very beginning we came out flying and then we went a little stagnant. That is what we talked about at half-time. We need you guys to respond how you responded this week at practice. We picked it up and we could have scored a couple more goals. SMU is a solid team. We are just happy to get the win."
Monaghan has guided the Lady Tigers to 10 plus wins in six-straight seasons. With the victory Friday, Monaghan improves to 104-79-11 at the U of M.
The Lady Tigers return to the Mike Rose Soccer Complex on Sunday afternoon as they host the Tulsa Golden Hurricane in an important C-USA match. Kick-off is scheduled for 1 pm.