Lady Tigers Travel East to Face Tennessee and Alabama
Sept. 9, 2009
Memphis, Tenn. -
University of Memphis women's soccer will hit the road for two contests against SEC foes this weekend as the Lady Tigers will face Tennessee on Friday and Alabama on Sunday.
"Every game is so important these days," said head coach Brooks Monaghan. "The SEC is very good conference in all sports, but extremely good in women's soccer. The importance is we have two good opponents we are playing against and two good opportunities to hopefully take care of business. It is not going to be an easy task with either one of them, because we are going to have our hands full in both games. Every game you play is an opportunity to keep the team moving in the right direction."
The Lady Tigers will face Tennessee for only the third time in program history Friday at 6 pm (CST) at Regal Soccer Stadium. The last meeting between the in-state rivals was in 1997 with Tennessee winning 3-0. Memphis defeated the Lady Vols 2-1 in the first meeting between the two schools in 1996.
Monaghan will face Tennessee for the first time as a head coach. Monaghan has posted a career record of 97-75-11 in 10 seasons. A Memphis native, Monaghan is looking forward to the opportunity to play Tennessee.
"It's extremely exciting to play Tennessee, being from Tennessee myself," Monaghan said. "I just know what Tennessee athletics are all about, well respected across the board. To go in there and compete against them is exciting."
The Lady Vols face Memphis after battling 19th-ranked Minnesota to a scoreless tie on Sept. 4th. Tennessee played with 10 players for the final 50 minutes after a red card was issued to freshman defender Ali Hall. University of Tennessee head coach Angela Kelley also received a red card for questioning the call by the head referee. Freshman forward Jayden Barrett scored a goal in the 3rd minute of action on Sept. 6th leading the Lady Vols past Wisconsin 1-0.
After facing Tennessee on Friday night, the Lady Tigers will travel to Tuscaloosa, Ala., for a 1 pm match-up against Alabama. The Lady Tigers have posted a 1-1-1 record against Alabama in a series that began in 2006 with Alabama winning the first game 1-0. Memphis defeated Alabama 2-0 in 2007 on goals by then-freshmen Melissa Smith and Vendula Strnadova. Alabama and Memphis played to a 1-1 two-overtime tie last season with the Lady Tiger goal coming from Laura Laufenberg.
Alabama enters Sunday afternoon's contest with a record of 2-2-0. Alabama defeated South Alabama 5-1 on Sept. 6th with the help of a hat-trick by junior forward Victoria Frederick. UA will face Memphis on a week's rest.
"It's kind of like this past week was since Alabama does not play on Friday," Monaghan said. "We are going to have our hands full on Friday and have to turn around and play again Sunday."
Sophomore goalkeeper Elise Kuhar-Pitters looks for her fourth shutout of the season this weekend after posting three shutouts in the first four matches this season. Kuhar-Pitters is in fourth place on the all-time career shutouts list with seven career shutouts, one shutout shy of third place record holder Heather Chinellato (1996-98).
The Lady Tiger offensive attack, led by Ashley Berra's six points and three goals, has outshot opponents 63-16 after four games. Memphis has also posted a 34-4 shots on goal advantage with four games played.
"Ashley has done well, but I think she has more to give," Monaghan said. "We have to get her to be consistent and make sure she steps up in the big games. Ashley is very talented and we need her to continue to put the ball in the back of the net."
Lady Tiger fans can access live streaming video of both games via the Lady Vols and Crimson Tide websites. Links to the live video can be found on the women's soccer schedule page. Click on the watch icon on the sidebar of the schedule page.