Berra's Lone Goal Leads Memphis to its First C-USA Championship Finals Appearance in School History
Nov. 9, 2007
EL PASO, Texas - The Lady Tigers soccer team earned their first ever C-USA Championship Finals appearance in school history. Memphis played in front of a crowd of almost 900 fans on the road at UTEP, to become victorious. Freshman forward Ashley Berra scored the Lady Tigers only goal, to win the match.
"What a great win. That was probably the best performance by a Memphis women's soccer team I've seen tonight," said Coach Brooks Monaghan. "Except for our finishing, the ladies were brilliant. They worked their butts off for 90 minutes and played fantastic."
Berra connected on a deflection at the 31 minute mark, to put the Lady Tigers up, 1-0, at the half. Berra has scored four of her five goals in the past three matches, including one in the first round of the C-USA Championship against Southern Miss.
The Lady Tigers had control of the first half as they out shot UTEP 15 to 1. UTEP's goalkeeper Brittany Popoff made four saves. The first half was very physical as there were 13 combined fouls.
Memphis started off hot in the second half, as they had four corner kicks in a five minute stretch. Senior Caroline Barrett took all of Memphis's corners, almost landing one in the goal early in the second half.
Victoria Dalton, Emiko Schwab and Vendula Strnadova were effective in the middle as they kept the midfield solid. They had a good share of headers and had steady ball control to keep the play moving. Dalton had a close call as she dribbled towards the goal, but was blocked at the last minute by a UTEP defender. With a minute in a half to go, she had a game saving ball possession on a UTEP throw in, to give the Lady Tigers the ball.
"This was Tori Dalton's best performance in a Memphis jersey by far. She was fantastic and had so much energy. I want to give her and the whole team credit for their performance today from start to finish. We played great soccer," said Monaghan.
The Lady Tigers set a record for shots by a single team in the C-USA Championship, with 34. They beat the previous record by, five. Memphis has earned their first ever C-USA Championship Finals appearance in school history.
"I'm at a loss for words because I am so proud of this team and the way they played," added Monaghan. "They did what we asked of them and I think we really took it to a good UTEP team. I am delighted, for the team. We are going to enjoy this win tonight and then get ready to go come Sunday. We are ecstatic to be playing in the C-USA Championship."
Memphis will now play in the C-USA Championship Finals game against UCF, on Sunday, Nov. 11, at 3:00 pm CT. The game will be televised live on CSTV and will also be available on gametracker.