GAMEDAY CENTRAL: @MemphisWSoccer at Alabama
Aug. 23, 2014
"First of all, we are looking forward to starting the season," head coach Brooks Monaghan said. "I feel like we've made a lot of progress thus far this preseason and we have all of our players back now. The preseason is so much different than the season because of the short amount of time to work and now it's exciting to see if that preseason work comes together."
After helping Canada advance to the quarterfinals of the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup, senior midfielder Kylie Davis and sophomore forward Valerie Sanderson have returned to the team and are ready for the season opener. Davis and Sanderson are two of 10 returning starters for the Lady Tigers this season.
Memphis and Alabama square off for the eighth time on Sunday. The Lady Tigers came away with a 6-0 victory in last year's meeting at Mike Rose Soccer Complex, but Monaghan cautions looking into the score.
"I expect a very tight match with (Alabama)," Monaghan said. "Last year's match, the score was not reflective of the game. Alabama is a good team that is well coached. They are going to give us everything and more we could ask for. We know we are going to have to be on top of our game to get the result we need."
Alabama opened their season Friday and earned a convincing 5-1 victory over Kennesaw State. The Crimson Tide returned 12 letterwinners from 2013.
Memphis has a veteran group heading into the season opener. Memphis' upperclassmen are about as experienced a group as you can get, with a combined total of 442 games played and 339 starts.
The Lady Tigers sport a 12-7-0 record in the season opener, but the U of M has won eight of their last nine season openers. Following Sunday's match, the Lady Tigers return to Memphis to host Lipscomb Tuesday at 7 p.m.
"Instead of playing Friday and Sunday, we are playing Sunday and Tuesday so it's not that big of a difference to what we are accustomed to," Monaghan added. "Obviously, Alabama is all we are worried about. We are all excited to get out there and start the season."