Tiger and Lady Tiger Soccer to Open Preseason Wednesday
Aug. 15, 2006
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The University of Memphis men's and women's soccer teams will open their preseason schedules tomorrow in a doubleheader at Christian Brothers University. The Lady Tigers will take the field first at 5:00 p.m. followed by the men at 7:00 p.m.
Both squads began fall camp last Tuesday and have been working hard to prepare for the upcoming season. Wednesday's contest will be the first taste of live competition for both teams.
Lady Tiger head coach Brooks Monaghan has been pleased with the strides his team has made over the last week and expects to see continued progress against Christian Brothers.
"Camp has been fantastic," said Monaghan. "The kids have been working hard. For the most part, we've stayed healthy. We've had a few intersquad scrimmages, but the girls are anxious to get out there and place someone else."
The Memphis women's team features a lot depth at every position , as well as an exciting group of newcomers. While the Lady Tigers have only three seniors on the roster, they return 17 of 24 letterwinners from 2005, including Conference USA Player of the Year Shoko Mikami. According to Monaghan, tomorrow's session will be a good chance to shuffle his lineup and to try a number of different looks.
"We're still experimenting," said Monaghan. "We'll play everybody and put people in different positions. It's a good chance for us to work on picking our squad and another step towards getting ready for the season."
Men's head coach Richie Grant says the men's squad is equally ready for the chance to face real competition.
"We're really pleased with the fact that we have three preseason games ahead of us," Grant said. "It will give the lads a chance to see what they need to work on. I've been really pleased with their performance so far this preseason, and we're really looking forward to the competition."
The Tigers will look to integrate four transfers into an already deep and experienced roster. Defender Jamie Gilbert, the Tigers' lone senior, joins the squad from Vanderbilt and should strengthen the defense. Forward Kyle Franklin, a sophomore transfer from South Carolina, will see playing time in the front and provide scoring punch. Kevin Walsh, a junior transfer from Christian Brothers, and Shaun Goulding, a sophomore transfer from Lambuth University, will see time in the midfield and look to create scoring opportunities.
Even with only one senior returning, the Tigers will have good experience and depth. Four juniors return from the 2004 Conference championship squad and 12 letterwinners and six starters return after facing a difficult 2005 schedule.
"I'm counting on some of our juniors who had success on the 2004 conference championship team. It's very important that those lads draw on those experiences coming up this year," Grant said. "Overall, I feel we have a good core of players with a lot of experience coming into this season."