Lady Tigers Shutout Samford in Exhibition Match
Aug. 15, 2009
Memphis, Tenn. -
The University of Memphis women's soccer program started the 2009 season Saturday by defeating the Samford Bulldogs 2-0 in an exhibition match at Echles Field. The match marked the first and only preseason contest for the Lady Tigers.
"It is the first game, 11 days into preseason. It was kind of what you expect," Memphis head coach Brooks Monaghan said. "We played with tired legs and made mistakes. We gutted it out and got the win. Every time we step on the field, no matter if it is preseason or regular season, you play to win. We found a way to do it. I thought we did some good things. We had a lot of unforced errors, which is common at this time of the year. It was great to get out there and play against somebody other than yourself."
Memphis faced a tough challenge with preseason foe Samford, but also battled the heat of Mother Nature.
"We were very slow today because of the heat," said Monaghan. "This may be the hottest day we have had since we have been together as a group, but you have to deal with it. There are a lot of things to build on (coming out of this game)."
Memphis, the back-to-back Conference USA champion opened the scoring when junior forward Ashley Berra connected on a rebound in the 25th minute of play. Junior forward Amanda Olszewski tallied the assist on the game-winning score.
The Lady Tigers tacked on their second goal of the match in the 81st minute when freshman forward Taylor Isenhower scored her first goal as a Lady Tiger. The Lenexa, Kansas product scored on a pass from sophomore midfielder Lizzy Hildebrandt giving the Lady Tigers the 2-0 advantage.
"It makes me feel really good (to score my first goal)," said Taylor Isenhower. "I am really confident and our team looked pretty good today. Our girls just know how to pass really well together, one touch, two touches, that is all we work on in practice. We just incorporated what we work on in practice into our game today. We just have to work on some stuff to be ready to play LSU next week."
All three Lady Tiger goalkeepers saw action in the match with sophomore Elise Kuhar-Pitters playing the first half and sophomores Jordan Boyle and Nikki Unland splitting the minutes in the second half. Nikki Unland made the only save of the match on a shot by Samford freshman Kaley Blanton.
"The goalkeepers have been great," Monaghan said. "They worked hard today. They weren't overly tested. Elise (Kuhar-Pitters) started the game and she bobbled one that she usually holds on to. Hopefully we just get all of that out of our system. They have been doing well. Jonny (Walker) has been doing a great job. He loves it and the girls are really responding well to him. Obviously with us losing a coach like Sebastian (Vecchio) who had been a big part of our program, it was going to be tough, but Jonny has filled that spot right away. It has been great to not miss a beat with Jonny."
Sophomore defender Tarah Kerr returned to action Saturday afternoon after nearly a year out of action because of a torn ACL. In the second half, Kerr came up with a key block on a Samford scoring opportunity. "Tarah (Kerr) has been doing well. She is back from a torn ACL and she is still in her brace. It is going to take some time. Tarah is a little warrior out there and she is a good little player. She is not 100-percent in regards to where she needs to be with that brace, but she is getting there."
Memphis will open up the regular season against back-to-back SEC Western Division champions LSU Tigers August 21. The Lady Tigers will return home to open up the regular season home schedule, hosting Sun-Belt Conference member Arkansas-Little Rock, August 28 at Mike Rose Soccer Complex.