Sept. 2, 2011
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - After claiming back-to-back shutouts last week to improve to a program-best 4-0 to begin the season, the 20th-ranked University of Memphis women's soccer squad travels to Western Kentucky for a 1 p.m. contest on Sunday.
Player of the Week
Scoring her first career goal and helping the defense limit Alabama and Samford to three combined shots on goal, Christie Kline was named the C-USA Defensive Player of the Week by the league office on Monday. The selection was the 14th time a U of M student-athlete has earned defensive player of the week honors. It was also the second-straight selection for the U of M this season. Lizzy Simonin earned defensive player of the week honors in week one. The two-straight selections mark the second time in program history that Lady Tigers were selected in consecutive weeks.
Memphis began the 2011 season as winners of four-straight C-USA Tournament Championships. How many teams have accomplished such a feat? In NCAA Division I Women's Soccer just 13 programs have claimed four or more consecutive conference championships. Memphis and Boston University of the American East Conference carry the nation's longest active championship streak.
The Lady Tigers returned nine starters and 15 letterwinners from the 2010 squad. Led by C-USA Defensive Player of the Year Lizzy Simonin, the Memphis defense appears to be the strength of the club as the team readies for the 2011 season.
Nearly half of the roster this season is represented by newcomers with 15 players in their first season of collegiate soccer. Eight freshmen have seen minutes thus far, accounting for roughly 50 percent of the scoring.
Scouting Western Kentucky
The Hilltoppers make the short trip to Austin Peay on Friday before hosting the Lady Tigers on Sunday. WKU is off to a 2-1 start this season with victories over Western Carolina (1-0) and Ball State (3-1). The lone loss came last Friday against Vanderbilt, 2-0. WKU returned 23 letterwinners from the 2010 squad that posted a 9-8-3 record.
Inside The Series
WKU and Memphis meet for the second time on Sunday. The series began in 2009 with Memphis taking a 3-0 victory at Mike Rose Soccer Complex. The two sides met last season in a preseason exhibition and played to a 1-1 draw at WKU.
Lady Tigers Start 4-0
Memphis opened the season with a identical 3-1 victories over LSU and UALR at Mike Rose Soccer Complex. The Lady Tigers hit the road last week and earned back-to-back shutouts at Alabama and Samford to improve to 4-0 on the season. The 4-0-0 start to the regular season is the best start in program history and it is the third-straight season the U of M has posted two or more shutouts in the first four matches.
Thus far, Memphis has scored nine goals in four matches, but more importantly eight different players have scored those nine goals. The Lady Tigers have eight assists on the nine goals and six different players have recorded assists. Six different players have attempted five or more shots.
As the summer winds to a close, the U of M may be sad to see the calendar flip past August. In 16 seasons, Memphis is 18-5-1 all-time in the month of August and is unbeaten in the last 16 matches in the month of August dating back to the 2003 season. Since their last loss in the month of August (8/31/03-Ole Miss), Memphis has outscored its opponents 57-5.
With all the success in August in the past several seasons, what has the U of M done in the month of September? In the last four seasons, Memphis is 19-11-0 in the month of September. Last season, Memphis finished 4-3 in September.
Redshirt-senior goalkeeper Elise Kuhar-Pitters begins her fifth season in net for the Lady Tigers on the cusp of breaking multiple goalkeeping records. Already in the top five in minutes played, shutouts, goals-against average, saves and goalkeeping victories, a productive season could have Kuhar-Pitters at the top of each category. With two shutouts and two victories last weekend, Kuhar-Pitters tied Isabel Birones for the top spot in the record books for career shutouts (25) and goalkeeping victories (39).
The sign of a good team is its play on the road and the Lady Tigers have had some great success playing away from the Bluff City. In the last four plus seasons, Memphis is 27-6-3 in road games. The Lady Tigers are 12-3-0 in non-conference road games since the 2007 season.
Defense Wins Championships
Since the 2007 season, the Lady Tiger defense has helped the U of M to a 64-4-5 record when opponents score one or fewer goals. In that same span, Memphis has 46 shutouts.
Three...Is The Magic Number
When scoring three or more goals in a match, the U of M carries a 79-6-1 record all-time. Under Head Coach Brooks Monaghan, Memphis is 58-3-1. In the past four seasons in which Memphis has four-straight championships, the record when scoring three or more goals is 24-0-1.
Head Coach Brooks Monaghan
Since taking over the program in 2000, head coach Brooks Monaghan has compiled a record of 129-85-14 in 11 seasons. Monaghan has helped the program claim seven 11-plus win seasons during his tenure. Monaghan has helped the Lady Tigers to an impressive 90-33-9 (.716) record since the 2004 season. Just in the last four seasons, Memphis is 67-20-6 (.753).
New Kids On The Block
Of the 31 players on the 2011 roster, 15 have yet to play in a collegiate game. With the exception of Kelley Gravlin, a redshirt-freshman, 14 newcomers join the Lady Tigers for the 2011 campaign. Eight freshmen have seen minutes in the first four matches of the season with Gravlin, Kaitlyn Atkins, Natalia Gomez-Junco, Olivia Borkenstein and Carly Cassady earning a starting nod in both matches.
This past weekend Memphis posted back-to-back shutouts over Alabama and Samford. How many times have the Lady Tigers had a clean sheet in back-to-back matches? In the last three seasons, Memphis has 26 shutouts and has back-to-back shutouts 10 times. In that same span, Memphis has posted three-straight shutouts three times.
On A Roll
Already on a program-best 4-0 start to the season, the 2011 squad will look to extend a winning streak to five-plus games for only the third time in program history. Last season, Memphis put together four, three-game win streaks. Since head coach Brooks Monaghan took over the program in 2000, Memphis has 35 win streaks of two or more games. Currently, the U of M is riding only the fourth, four-game win streak in program history.
In The Polls
Memphis entered the top-20 rankings this week one as the NSCAA ranked the Lady Tigers 20th in the country. The U of M began the season receiving votes and entered the top-25 after a 2-0 start to the season. The Lady Tigers are ranked 30th in CollegeSoccer360's composite rankings and 31st in the TopDrawerSoccer.com Tournament 64. Memphis entered the Soccer America and Soccer Times Top-25 at the No. 24 and No. 23 spot, respectively, in week two.
Any Given Sunday
Sunday's have been a day of success for the Lady Tigers in the last four seasons as Any Given Sunday normally results in a Memphis victory. Since the 2006 season, the U of M is 32-10-3 in matches played on a Sunday. Since the 2009 season, Memphis is 17-2-1 on Sunday's. In that same span, the U of M has outscored opponents 45-9 on Sunday's with 12 shutouts.
Courtesy of research done by CollegeSoccer360.com, the Lady Tigers senior class is ranked 14th in the nation with 50 wins in their time at the U of M. In the three-plus seasons for the 2011 class, Memphis has posted records of 15-5-2, 16-7-0, 15-4-3 and a 4-0-0 record this season.
A Dime A Dozen
Although it's a "Baker's Dozen", freshmen have combined to score 13 of Memphis' 26 points this season. Kaitlyn Atkins leads the team with five points on the season and Kelley Gravlin has four points. Kylie Davis and Natalia Gomez-Junco have two points and Katie Donahue has added a point.
Punch The Time Card
Senior's Lizzy Simonin and Elise Kuhar-Pitters are the only Memphis players to play the full 360 minutes this season. Four other players have played 300 or more minutes this season, all in the midfield or defense.
One For The Thumb
Redshirt-seniors Elise Kuhar-Pitters and Melissa Smith have the unique opportunity to win a fifth championship this season. The pair has endured various injuries throughout their respective career and is headed into the 2011 season as winners of four-straight titles.
Memphis returns to the Mike Rose Soccer Complex for a two-game homestand against Ole Miss and Charlotte. Match time is set for 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 9 against the Rebels and 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 11 against the 49ers of Charlotte.