No. 4/6 Memphis Tigers Win C-USA Championship, 2-1, in Double OT Over UTEP
Nov. 6, 2011
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Kaitlyn Atkins delivered the golden goal in the 103rd minute as No. 4/6 Memphis (21-0-1) claimed their fifth-straight Conference USA Women's Soccer Championship with a 2-1 victory over UTEP (11-8-4) on Sunday at the Mike Rose Soccer Complex.
C-USA Tournament Offensive MVP Christabel Oduro crossed the ball from the left side to the center where Atkins awaited and finished from seven yards away. It was Atkins' fifth goal of the season and the second golden goal of the tournament for the U of M. Oduro garnered her sixth assist of the season on the play.
Memphis opened the scoring as Oduro ran across the middle of the field to the left side of the box, gathered the ball and fired a rocket to the right 90 for the goal. Lizzy Hildebrandt recorded her third assist of the season on the goal after serving the ball across to Oduro. It was Oduro's team-leading 12th goal on year.
The Lady Tigers nearly gained a 2-0 lead, but a team save helped UTEP remain one goal behind. Kaitlyn Atkins found some free space on the right side and proceeded to take a shot toward the open net. A UTEP defender quickly ran to the goal line to make the save.
The Miners got the equalizer in the 78th minute as Brittany Kindzierski gathered a cross from Tess Hall. Kindzierski scored from 12 yards out, past the out-stretched hands of Memphis goalkeeper Elise Kuhar-Pitters, setting up the double-overtime thriller.
For the 10th time this season, Memphis headed into halftime scoreless. The Lady Tigers had several good chances to take a lead, but four saves by UTEP goalkeeper Sarah Dilling and shots that sailed just high kept the Lady Tigers off the board. The U of M finished the first half out-shooting the Miners 10-4.
Memphis finished with a 26-8 advantage in shots. Strong defense by the C-USA Tournament Defensive MVP Lizzy Simonin limited the Miners to just four shots on goal in the match. Christie Kline joined Simonin on the All-Tournament Team as the Lady Tigers allowed two goals in the tournament and 11 shots on goal. After instrumental play along the front line, Melissa Smith was also named to the All-Tournament Team.
For the first time since 2005, the host team came out of the Conference USA Tournament victorious. Memphis becomes the eighth program in NCAA Division I history to win five-straight tournament titles and has won 14-consecutive matches in C-USA Tournament play.
The Lady Tigers now await the 2011 NCAA Women's Soccer selection show on Monday at 3:30 p.m. The complete 2011 NCAA College Cup will be announced at that time.