Lady Tigers Repeat as C-USA Champs with 2-1 Victory over UAB
Oct. 30, 2008
BIRMINGHAM, ALA. - The University of Memphis women's soccer team finished its 2008 campaign with a 2-1 victory over UAB and at least a share of the Conference USA regular season title. The Lady Tigers finish the 2008 season with an overall record of 12-4-2 and a C-USA record of 8-2-1 after they go 6-0-1 in their last seven games. This is the second year in a row that the Lady Tigers have won the C-USA regular season championship.
"Our girls are feeling great right now and I'm just so proud of them," said head coach Brooks Monaghan about his team's second championship in a row. "I can't be happier for them. They've won back to back championships and that is fantastic. We may still have to share that championship, but at the end of the day we still bring home a trophy."
Memphis now plays the waiting game to see if they are outright champions. If the East Carolina Pirates beats the Marshall Thundering Herd tomorrow in Greenville, N.C. at 2:00 p.m., the Pirates also grab a share of the C-USA regular season championship. With a tie or a Marshall victory, the Lady Tigers hold the outright 2008 C-USA title and the No. 1 seed heading into the C-USA Championships.
Less than three minutes into the contest, UAB jumped out to a 1-0 lead. The Memphis defense did not give up and was steady for the rest of the half. Freshman Lizzy Simonin would have an opportunity for a penalty kick goal with seven minutes remaining in the first half, but was denied by Kate Blankenship, the Blazer keeper.
"I thought it was a good performance overall," said Monaghan. "We went down early 1-0, but I was proud of the way that our kids didn't panic, how they stayed composed, and how they kept fighting."
The Lady Tigers put seven shots on goal in the first period, and with 29 seconds remaining in the first half, they finally connected. Sophomore forward Ashley Berra crossed a beautiful ball into the box for freshman forward and C-USA Player of the Week Lizzy Simonin who one-timed it into the back of the net sending the game into halftime with the score knotted at 1-1. The freshman has scored in four straight games bringing her season total to eight goals.
"We had a few chances that were cleared off the line," said Monaghan. "We had a penalty kick that we missed as well. We were just able to stay composed. We tied it up with 29 seconds left before halftime and we scored a few minutes into the second half."
The Lady Tigers came out of halftime with momentum and were able to notch another score at the 49 minute mark off of junior midfielder Laura Laufenberg's corner kick which traveled to the far post and met up with senior midfielder Emiko Schwab as she headed it to the top near corner for her third goal of the 2008 season.
"It was a good performance and we got a well deserved win," said Monaghan. "Credit to UAB, they're a very good team and they played well."
The defense remained relentless for the rest of the contest relying heavily on the play of sophomore defender Brittany Hance.
"I thought Brittany Hance was spectacular today," said Monaghan on his defender's performance. "I thought she played phenomenally. She was very composed, kept her head and just played spectacular."
Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Elise Kuhar-Pitters returned in goal tonight with her first appearance since she started against UCF on Sept. 28. She played all 90 minutes in goal tonight and registered four saves in the game. Her record at the end of this regular season is 5-3-1.
Memphis waits to see how the rest of the C-USA games play out, but in the meantime heads back to work tomorrow in preparation for the Conference USA Championships.
"We get back to work tomorrow," said Monaghan. "We have practice tomorrow. It will be a light practice, but we'll train Saturday and Sunday and we'll get back after it."
The Conference USA Championships are hosted by Rice University in Houston, Texas. The first round of the championship begins on Wednesday, Nov. 5. The Championship game is on Sunday, Nov. 9.