Sept. 1, 2005
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Game #2 Memphis (1-0-0) at Samford (1-0-1)
Friday, September 2 7:00 p.m.
Bulldog Field (1,000) Birmingham, Ala.
Game #3 Memphis (1-0-0) vs. Evansville (2-0-0)
Sunday, September 4 11:30 a.m.
Bulldog Field (1,000) Birmingham, Ala.
The Tigers will spend the second weekend of the 2005 season in Birmingham, Ala. for two games at the Long's Electronic's Samford Classic against two opponents that also had successful opening weekends. They will take on the host Bulldogs of Samford, the defending regular season Ohio Valley Conference champions, on Friday at 7:00 p.m. and then will battle Evansville from the Missouri Valley Conference on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. Fellow Conference USA member Marshall is the other team in the tournament field and the Thundering Herd will play Evansville on Friday and Samford on Sunday.
After having just two days off since their last game, the Lady Tigers return home to begin a four-game homestand, their longest of the year, with a game against Tennessee-Martin on Wednesday, September 7. UT-Martin will be Memphis' second of three opponents from the state of Tennessee this year and it will be the fifth straight year that the Tigers have met the Skyhawks.
Series vs. Samford
This will be the first-ever meeting between Memphis and Samford. The two schools were scheduled to meet last year on September 19 but the game was cancelled due to Hurricane Ivan.
Series vs. Evansville
The Tigers are 2-3-1 in their history against Evansville. The teams have met in each of the last four years. Memphis defeated the Purple Aces last year for the first time since the 1995 season, when Evansville was a member of Conference USA for one year. Evansville won in 1996 and in 2001-02, while the teams tied in 2003.
Last Year vs. Evansville
Memphis recorded its fifth shutout of the year and its third straight victory with a 1-0 win over the Purple Aces on September 26 at the Mike Rose Soccer Complex. Despite outshooting Evansville 29-10 in the game, Memphis did not score the game-winner until the 84:14 mark, when Mary Shelton headed in a cross from Monica Powell for her first goal of the year. Natalie Haerens recorded the shutout in goal for the Tigers. The win in the final non-conference game of the year brought Memphis' record to 7-2 on the year at that point.
Samford enters Friday's game with a 1-0-1 record after defeating Wofford 3-0 at home and tying with Mississippi State 1-1 on the road last weekend. Heather Birdsell, who led Samford last year in goals (4) and points (10), leads the Bulldogs through two games with three points (1g, 1a) and with seven shots. Four different players have scored goals and Rebecca Bohler has two assists. Emily Morris has started both games in goal and has a 0.53 goals against average. Samford has never defeated a Conference USA school in its history, as the Bulldogs are 0-5-0 against C-USA teams, with four losses against Southern Miss and one against Tulane.
The Purple Aces enter Friday's game against Marshall in Birmingham with a 2-0-0 record, having defeated both Belmont and Western Kentucky on their opening weekend. Evansville beat Belmont 3-1 at home last Friday and topped the Hilltoppers 4-0 on Sunday on the road. Heidi Grey leads UE in the early going with three goals while Kayla Lambert has a goal and three assists. Keshia Malone also has two goals. Last year, the Purple Aces went 3-13-1 and finished seventh in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Brooks Monaghan (Memphis, 1994) is in his sixth year as head coach at Memphis, where he holds a 40-52-5 career record. Prior to his tenure as head coach, he was the assistant coach in charge of goalkeepers for five years, serving since the program's inception in 1995. Just the second head coach in program history, Monaghan became the program's all-time winningest coach last year with his 35th career win.
Todd Yelton (King College, 1991) is in his fourth year as head coach at Samford. He holds a record of 36-18-8 at the Birmingham school and has a career record of 76-50-12 in seven years as a head coach. He has led the Bulldogs to two straight regular season Ohio Valley Conference championships and has guided Samford to a 14-2 record in OVC play over the last two seasons. With just three more wins he will become the all-time winningest coach in Samford women's soccer history.
Chris Pfau (Old Dominion, 1989) is in his first season as head coach at Evansville. He came to the Purple Aces from Princeton, where he was an assistant coach for the last two years and where he helped lead Princeton to the NCAA Final Four last year. He holds a career coaching record of 13-40-2 in two previous head coaching stops.
Memphis vs. The OVC
Samford will be the second of four opponents that Memphis will face from the Ohio Valley Conference this year, the most of any league in non-conference play. Last year, the Tigers played two OVC opponents, Tennessee Tech and UT-Martin, who they have already played or will also play this year, and went 2-0. In its history, Memphis is 8-4-1 against members of the OVC.
Memphis vs. The MVC
Evansville will be the first of two opponents that Memphis will face this year from the Missouri Valley Conference. The Tigers have a 5-7-2 all-time record against MVC teams. In addition to Missouri State, who is the other MVC team the Tigers will be playing this year, Drury, which is no longer a member of the MVC, is the only other MVC member that Memphis has played in its history.
Beginning on Friday, Memphis will play four opponents this year that won either their conference regular season or tournament championship last year. Samford (9-2) won the regular season Ohio Valley Conference Championship, Middle Tennessee (9-18) was the regular seasons champs of the Sun Belt, UAB (10-15) was the tournament champions of Conference USA in 2004, while SMU (10-30) won both the regular season and tournament championships in the WAC. Additionally, UCF finished in second place in the Atlantic Sun Conference in both the regular season and conference tournament.
Improvement on the Road
With its first road game of the year on Friday, Memphis will be looking to get off to a good start away from home. Last year, Memphis won its first three road games of the year, which was remarkably the first time in program history it had won back-to-back road games.
Junior Nicky McLeod returned to the Memphis lineup for the first time in nearly two years on Sunday and made it a return to remember. After sitting out last year as a redshirt while recovering from a torn ACL suffered during the spring season of 2004, McLeod, who was a 2003 All-Conference USA selection at midfield, scored a goal and recorded an assist in Memphis' 7-0 win over Tennessee Tech.
Mikami Returns to Form
Nicky McLeod was not the only Tiger to return to form in Sunday's game. In just one game, Shoko Mikami, who led the nation in scoring in Division II while playing at Christian Brothers University two years ago, surpassed both her point and goal totals from last year by scoring two goals and recording one assist for five points. She had just three points (1g, 1a) last year while playing in just 11 games after recovering from a knee injury for much of the first half of the season.
We've Found the Offense
Memphis recorded 84 points last year but lost players that were responsible for 75 percent of those 84 points. If Sunday's game is any indication, the Tigers will have no problem replacing and even surpassing that number. Memphis accumulated 26 percent of last year's point total in one game by recording 22 points in Sunday's win over Tennessee Tech (7g, 8a). Of the 22 points, only eight (36%) came from players that played in 2004.
Spreading the Wealth
The Tigers had seven different players record assists in the 7-0 win over Tennessee Tech, even though two of the seven goals were unassisted.
Newcomers Score Points in Debuts
Four different Memphis newcomers recorded points in their debuts and two scored goals in their Tiger debuts. Sophomore Asuka Kubota and freshman Kylie Hayes both recorded goals while freshmen Kate Murphy and Sarah MacGregor each had assists. Last year, just two newcomers scored goals and three newcomers recorded points in Memphis' season-opening 4-0 win over Alabama A&M.
Now That's Efficiency
Not only did freshman Sarah MacGregor record her first career point by assisting on Asuka Kubota's first Memphis goal in Sunday's game, but she also recorded the assist just :29 seconds after entering the game as a substitute. Last year, the player that recorded a point the fastest after entering the game was Elaine Sedgewick, who assisted on a Mary Shelton goal just :06 seconds after entering the game in Memphis' 5-1 win over Charlotte on October 8th.
Long Time Coming
The seven goals scored by Memphis against Tennessee Tech were the most since a 9-0 win over Rhodes on September 1, 1999, which was also the season opener that year. The seven-goal margin of victory was also the most since that same game.
This was the second straight year that Memphis recorded a shutout on opening day and the fourth time in its history that the Tigers won in a shutout on opening day.
Goalie Helps Out
Goalkeeper Isabel Briones did something in Sunday's game that rarely happens for a goalie, and it was just the second time in Memphis women's soccer history that it happened. She recorded an assist. She assisted on Shoko Mikami's second goal of the day by punting the ball well beyond midfield after making a save. The punt was played out of the air by Kylie Hayes, who dribbled with it before dishing to Mikami for the score. The only other time in program history that a goalie recorded a point was when goalkeeper Heather Chinellato recorded an assist during the 1998 season.
Monaghan Stretches Roster Out
With a 15-member recruiting class joining the team this year, one certainty is that Memphis would have a deep roster. Head coach Brooks Monaghan made use of his 26-player roster in Sunday's season opener, as 22 players saw action in the 7-0 win over Tennessee Tech. This included 12 newcomers and 11 freshmen.
Melton's Return to Bolster Defense
Memphis set a school record for team goals against average last year at 1.19. However, the Tigers lost three defenders to graduation and a goalkeeper that started 15 of 19 games last year. One very valuable addition to the defense, however, is senior Courtnee Melton, who missed the last eight games last year with a knee injury. Below is a comparison that shows how important Melton was the Tiger defense.
Games GA GAA Sho. Rec.
11 7 0.63 6 8-3-0
Games GA GAA Sho. Rec.
8 16 1.96 1 3-5-0
Get Back There
Last year, then-junior Robyn Smart was moved from forward and midfield, where she had played her first two seasons, to defense. She responded by helping contribute to the school record 1.19 GAA and also managed to record six points on a goal and four assists. This year, two more players, junior Beth Keating and sophomore Halley Jo Sullivan, have moved from midfield back to defense as well in an effort to improve the depth in the backfield after three graduations.
Recruiting Class Ranked Highest Ever at Memphis
The incoming recruiting class of this year, consisting of 14 freshman and one sophomore transfer, was ranked 27th in the country by Soccer Buzz, the highest ever ranking for Memphis. The Tiger newcomers were the highest ranked team in Conference USA in the rankings and they were also ranked eighth in the Central Region. Below is a list of how other C-USA teams ranked in the national rankings, followed by teams that were ranked in their region.
8. Memphis (Central)
8. UCF (Southeast)
13. Rice (Central)
13. UAB (Southeast)
17. SMU (Central)
19. Tulane (Central)
23. UTEP (Central)
23. East Carolina (Southeast)
From National Team to Memphis
Three newcomers on the Tigers have come to Memphis with national team experience for their respective countries. Sophomore Asuka Kubota played on the Japanese Under-19 National Team, freshman Joanna Alexopulos played for the Canadian Under-17 National Team, while freshman Aika Young is a member of the Guam National Team.
Freshman Joanna Alexopulos spent her summer playing with Toronto Lynx of the W-League. The W-League is part of the United Soccer Leagues, which is the largest organization of soccer leagues in North America. The USL sponsors both professional and amateur leagues in both the U.S. and Canada. The W-League is now recognized as the highest level of women's soccer in North America due to the WUSA folding a few years ago. Alexopulos saw action in 12 games for the Lynx, whose roster also included former Tiger Yuiko Konno.
Two members of the Tiger roster were named All-Americans at their previous school. Sophomore transfer Asuka Kubota was an NAIA All-American at Martin Methodist College last year while freshman Chloe James was a high school All-American as a senior at Roger Bacon High in the Cincinnati area.
Alaskan Pipeline to Memphis
Memphis has a very diverse roster, boasting representatives from 10 states and five countries. One of the more unique things about the Lady Tigers is that two members hail from the State of Alaska, which is remarkable considering that Memphis is over 4,000 miles from Anchorage, where both sophomore Halley Jo Sullivan and freshman Kate Murphy hail from. According to research conducted by Matt Beltz of the Memphis athletic media relations office, Memphis is one of only three Division I women's soccer teams in the country that have at least two players from Alaska on its roster. The only other teams in the country that have as many players from Alaska as Memphis are Montana and Valparaiso, which both have three players each from The Last Frontier.
The Tigers played two exhibition games in Indiana and put together two very contrasting performances on back-to-back nights. They fell to the Indiana Hoosiers 5-0 last Friday night but then rebounded to beat Indiana State 6-1 on Saturday afternoon. Both Shoko Mikami and Kylie Hayes scored two goals apiece in the win.
From All Corners of the World
For the second straight year, the Memphis roster has representatives from a number of different states and countries. Last year, the Tigers had players from 12 different states and five different countries on their roster and 40 percent of the roster was made up of foreign players. This year, Memphis has representatives from 10 different states and five different countries and just over 30 percent of the roster is made up of foreign players.
Mike Rose is Home Once Again
For the second straight year, the women's soccer program will play all of its home games at the Mike Rose Soccer Complex. Last year was the first year that all home games were played there after only playing conference games there for the previous two years.