Feb. 3, 2009
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The University of Memphis women's soccer team released their final schedule for the 2009 spring season. The Lady Tigers enter the spring season as two-time defending C-USA regular season and tournament champions and boasting back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances with a 2008 final record of 15-5-2.
"We're obviously coming off of a great season," said Memphis head coach Brooks Monaghan. "We always give due credit to the spring practices and games for our success in the fall. The approach that we take to the spring is that we get to play everybody equal minutes because it's a luxury for us to give those players that didn't get much of an opportunity in the fall a time to shine."
Tigers open the spring season with two games in Little Rock, Ark. on Saturday Feb. 21 against the University of Arkansas-Little Rock at 11:30 a.m. and then follow with a contest against Oklahoma State at 3:00 p.m.
"Oklahoma State was top-10 in the country last year at one point and ended the season being ranked in 13th," said Monaghan. "We believe that our program has continually become stronger and even though this is a spring game, this will give us an idea of where this program stands nationally."
On Saturday, March 28, the Lady Tigers make a trip to Decatur, Ala. for another pair of contests against Vanderbilt University and Samford University.
"Our next round of games is against Vanderbilt who is out of a very strong soccer conference in the SEC and Samford who makes regular appearances in the NCAA Tournament," said Monaghan.
The last three games of the spring are slated at the Lady Tigers' home stadium at Mike Rose Soccer Complex. The first home game is scheduled for Sunday, April 5 at 12:00 p.m. against the University of Iowa. The next contest is Wednesday, April 8 at 7:00 p.m. against rival Ole Miss and the final game of the spring matches for the Tigers wraps up with Arkansas State on Thursday, April 16 at 7:00 p.m.
"Iowa is somebody different because we haven't seen much of the Big Ten. It's nice to play somebody different," said Monaghan. "Then we play Ole Miss who is definitely a quality program and our out of conference rival. It doesn't matter if it is the spring or the fall it is always a good one. We were fortunate to win the last two meetings and that is something that they will remember that and even though it is the spring, they will want to win that game."
Single spring games will consist of two 45 minute halves, whereas the double header games are slightly less with only 30-35 minute halves. The Lady Tigers have been participating in two one-hour practice sessions per week at the turf room inside the Billy J. Murphy Athletic Complex on Sunday night's and Elma Roane Fieldhouse on Wednesday mornings. They are also in the weight room with the U of M strength coach for three days out of the week. Memphis' official spring practices begin on Sunday, Feb. 15.
"With the schedule that we have made, we have some very strong opponents. Even though the games that we play in the spring don't count, at the end of the day, our kids are competitive and we go into every game with the intention of winning the game. Our main goal is that we keep improving our girls. The difference between the fall and spring is the amount you use the players. You don't necessarily focus as much on winning the game because the most important thing is for your individual players to be working on their individual skills and improving themselves as all-around soccer players. Our job as coaches is to make sure that we give each player the opportunity to get their time on the field and show us what their capable of."