Sept. 29, 2011
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - No. 6 Memphis (10-0-0, 2-0-0 C-USA) is one of only two unbeaten and untied teams (Oklahoma State 13-0-0) remaining at the NCAA Division I level and the Lady Tigers hit the road for the third-straight week for Conference USA matches at Marshall (2-7-1, 0-2-0 C-USA) on Friday and East Carolina (5-3-1, 0-2-0 C-USA) on Sunday.
The U of M has scored 25 goals this season coming from 11 different players. The 25 goals in the first 10 matches are the most since the 2007 season when the squad had 26 goals. The 25 goals are the third-most all-time through 10 matches, behind the 2005 squad that scored 32 and the 2007 club.
Along with six clean sheets by Elise Kuhar-Pitters, the Lady Tiger defense has held opponents to seven or fewer shot on goal attempts in every match this season. The U of M defense hasn't allowed a goal in the first half and opponents have mustered just 8.00 shots per-game.
The New Season Begins
After a perfect 8-0 mark in the non-conference slate, Memphis opens C-USA with four-straight road games. The Lady Tigers are one of three league members (UCF and Rice) that play seven road games and four home matches in league play. Houston, Southern Miss and UAB each have five home and six road matches while Colorado College, Marshall and SMU have six home and five road matches. UTEP, Tulsa and East Carolina have seven home and four road matches.
Memphis opened league play on the road for the third-straight season and improved to 7-9-1 all-time in road openers. The U of M has won seven-straight road openers in conference play, outscoring opponents 14-4. Memphis is 8-7-2 all-time in the conference opener, with nine of the 16 openers at home.
Marshall enters the second weekend of league play with a 2-7-1 record to date. The Herd has dropped their last three matches, but two of the three have been decided by one goal. The Herd has 10 goals on the season and is lead by Angela DeSumma with her three scores and three assists. Six other players have chipped in goals for the Marshall offense. Betsy Haugh has seen all the minutes in goal for the Herd and carries a 2.04 goals-against average and 46 saves.
Scouting East Carolina
East Carolina entered league having not lost a match since the season opener, but league play saw the Pirates drop their first two contests. After a loss to South Carolina in the season opener, East Carolina was unbeaten in its next six matches (5-0-1), but fell to Colorado College and UTEP over the weekend. Caty Butler leads the Pirates with six goals on the season. Kimmy Cummings has five goals on the season and the ECU offense has produced 1.89 goals per game. Christiane Cordero has started all the matches for the Pirates and carries a 1.58 goals-against average along with 33 saves.
Inside The Series
Memphis and Marshall meet for the seventh time on Friday. The Lady Tigers carry a 6-0 mark all-time in the series, but two of the three meetings at Marshall have resulted in 2-1 scores. The U of M won the last meeting, in Memphis, with a 2-0 victory.
Memphis and East Carolina square off for the 11th time on Sunday. The U of M carries a 8-0-2 lead in the series having earned a 2-0 victory last season. Each meeting at ECU has resulted in a one-goal margin or tie.
Lady Tigers Start 10-0
Memphis opened the season with identical 3-1 victories over LSU and UALR at Mike Rose Soccer Complex. The Lady Tigers hit the road for a three-game road trip and earned three shutout victories. A fourth-straight shutout against rival Ole Miss put Memphis a 6-0 and a convincing 6-2 victory over Charlotte put the Lady Tigers at 7-0. Memphis would finish the non-conference slate with a 2-0 shutout of Vanderbilt to improve to 8-0-0. Two-straight victories to open league play, have the Lady Tigers 10-0 on the season.
The 10-0-0 start to the regular season is the best start in program history and the 10-game win streak is the longest in program history. The U of M is now chasing the longest unbeaten streak in program history of 11, set in 2007 and 2010. The 2007 squad had a 10-0-1 run while last season saw the Lady Tigers go 8-0-3 over 11 games.
C-USA Player of the Week
For the fifth time in six weeks this season, Memphis had a player receive C-USA weekly honors. Christabel Oduro was named C-USA Co-Offensive Player of the Week after a goal and an assist in the opening week of league play.
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 31-6-3 in road games. The Lady Tigers are 16-3-3 in conference road games since the 2007 season.
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, including six games this season, Memphis is 25-11-0 in the month of September. Last season, Memphis was 4-3 in September.
Sunday's match will mark the first in the month of October and as the weather cools off, the Lady Tigers record has gotten better in the past several seasons. Last season, Memphis posted a 6-0-3 record in October to improve to 32-7-5 since the 2006 season. In that same span, the U of M has 29 shutouts.
In the past six matches, Memphis has held opponents to just 27 shots on goal and recorded four shutouts. In the last three seasons, Memphis has 30 shutouts and has back-to-back shutouts 10 times. The four-straight shutout streak earlier this season was the first four-game shutout streak and the 441:25 scoreless streak by opponents was the longest streak in program history. Goalkeeper Elise Kuhar-Pitters posted a program-best 580:36 scoreless streak that was ended at Houston on Friday.
Thus far, Memphis has scored 25 goals in 10 matches, but more importantly 11 different players have scored those 25 goals. Through 10 matches, eight different players have two or more goals. The Lady Tigers have 19 assists on the 25 goals and 10 different players have recorded assists. Six different players have attempted 15 or more shots. The offense ranks 27th in the NCAA statistical release, averaging 2.50 goals per game.
Three...Is The Magic Number
When scoring three or more goals in a match, the U of M carries a 81-6-1 record all-time. Under Head Coach Brooks Monaghan, Memphis is 60-3-1. In the past four seasons in which Memphis has four-straight championships, the record when scoring three or more goals is 26-0-1.
Memphis finished the non-conference slate with a perfect 8-0 record, including five shutouts. The Lady Tigers allowed just four goals in the eight matches, the fewest goals scored by non-conference opponents in the 16-year history of the program.
Record Book Rewrite
Elise Kuhar-Pitters began her fifth season in net for the Lady Tigers on the cusp of breaking multiple goalkeeping records. Just seven matches into the season, Kuhar-Pitters owns three of the five goalkeeping records at the U of M. With her third-straight shutout at Western Kentucky on Sept. 4, Kuhar-Pitters broke Isabel Birones' record for shutouts and victories in a career. Kuhar-Pitters has 29 career shutouts and 45 victories and program-best 0.83 goals-against average. Kuhar-Pitters is also in the top-five in saves and minutes played.
Defense Wins Championships
Since the 2007 season, the Lady Tiger defense has helped the U of M to a 69-4-5 record when opponents score one or fewer goals. In that same span, Memphis has 50 shutouts. This season, the Memphis defense has allowed just 36 shots on goal. By comparison, opponents have 80 total shots against the U of M this season, but Memphis has 76 shots on goal in eight matches. Elise Kuhar-Pitters ranks fifth nationally with a 0.31 goals-against average and ninth with a .903 save percentage. As a team, Memphis ranks 12th in the nation with a 0.50 GAA.
In The Polls
Memphis has climbed to a program-best No. 6 in the national polls released this week. NSCAA ranks the Lady Tigers 6th and Soccer America ranks the U of M 8th. The Lady Tigers are ranked 12th in CollegeSoccer360's composite rankings and 25th in the TopDrawerSoccer.com Tournament 64. Memphis is ranked 11th in Soccer Times top-25.
Get The Show On The Road
The Sept. 15 match at Vanderbilt began a five-game road swing for the Lady Tigers. The trip is the longest since the 2002 season in which the U of M played seven-straight matches on the road. In 14 road trips that lasted three or more games, Memphis has compiled a record of 25-22-3 (6-0 in 2011). Scoring is very close in the road trip matches at 79-76 in favor of Memphis, but the U of M has equaled or bettered their opponent scoring in the last seven road trips. Memphis went 3-0 on its first road trip of 2011, posting three shutouts.
On A Roll
Already on a program-best 10-0 start to the season, the 2011 squad will look to extend a winning streak to 11 games for the first 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 the first 10-game win streak in program history.
Head Coach Brooks Monaghan
Since taking over the program in 2000, head coach Brooks Monaghan has compiled a record of 135-85-14 in 11 seasons. Monaghan has helped the program claim seven, 11-plus win seasons during his tenure. Monaghan has guided the Lady Tigers to an impressive 96-33-9 (.728) record since 2004. Just in the last four seasons, Memphis is 73-20-6 (.768).
The Final Countdown
Memphis has allowed five goals this season, all of which have come in the second half. Looking closer at the box score, four of the five goals have come in the final 20 minutes of regulation. The Lady Tigers have scored six goals in the final 20 minutes this season, with two key goals coming in the 3-0 victory over rival Ole Miss.
New Kids On The Block
Of the 31 players on the 2011 roster, 15 will or have played in a collegiate game for the first time this season. With the exception of Kelley Gravlin, a redshirt-freshman, 14 newcomers join the Lady Tigers for the 2011 campaign. Overall, 11 freshmen have seen minutes in the eight matches this season with Gravlin, Kaitlyn Atkins, Natalia Gomez-Junco, Kylie Davis, Olivia Borkenstein and Carly Cassady earning a start this season.
Best Offense Is A Good Defense
As the saying goes, the best offense is a good defense, which has certainly been a case for the U of M this season. Among 13 players that have played in the back this season, seven players have accounted for 15 of Memphis' 69 points. Five goals and five assists have been posted by defensive players on the year. Lizzy Simonin has scored twice via penalty kicks this season and when the former forward finds the back of the net, Memphis is 16-1-1.
Christabel Oduro leads the team with five goals this season, bettering her goal total from last season (3). Rasheeda Ansari has three goals on the year giving the sophomore class six goals on the season. Of the eight goals scored by sophomores, five are game-winners. When Oduro scores, Memphis is 7-0-1 and the Lady Tigers are a perfect 7-0-0 when Ansari finds the back of the net.
Program Reaches 150 Wins
Now in his 12th season as head coach, Brooks Monaghan as helped the program reach the 150 win plateau. The Lady Tigers had one 10-plus win season in the first nine seasons as a program, but Memphis has won 11-plus games in each of the past seven seasons. The Lady Tigers currently have an all-time record of 169-144-17.
Home Field Advantage
With an unbalanced schedule this season that has Memphis playing seven road conference matches, the Lady Tigers will need to continue the recent success on the home field. Since 2004, Memphis is 50-17-4 at Mike Rose Soccer Complex. Under head coach Brooks Monaghan, Memphis has a 69-32-6 mark on the home turf.
Down But Not Out
Last season, Memphis went 2-4 when opponents scored first. The Lady Tigers posted comeback victories over Alabama and Ole Miss. In the last two seasons, Memphis is a combined 3-10 when opponents score first.
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 35-10-3 in matches played on a Sunday. Since the 2009 season, Memphis is 20-2-1 on Sunday's. In that same span, the U of M has outscored opponents 54-11 on Sunday's with 14 shutouts.
Courtesy of research done by CollegeSoccer360.com, the Lady Tigers senior class is ranked 13th in the nation with 56 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 10-0-0 record this season.
Freshmen have combined to score 27 of Memphis' 69 points this season. Kelley Gravlin leads the cast of freshmen with seven points while Natalia Gomez-Junco and Kaitlyn Atkins have six points on the season.
Punch The Time Card
Senior Lizzy Simonin is the only Memphis player to play the full 900 minutes this season. Seven other players have played 700 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 headed into the 2011 season as winners of four-straight titles.
Memphis returns to Mike Rose Soccer Complex for the final home stand of the season with matches against SMU (Oct. 7), Tulsa (Oct. 9), UTEP (Oct. 14) and Colorado College (Oct. 16).