Nov. 5, 2011
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Making a fifth-straight appearance in the Conference USA Women’s Soccer Championship final, the sixth-ranked University of Memphis women’s soccer team eyes an unprecedented fifth-consecutive tournament crown on Sunday against UTEP (11-7-4) at Mike Rose Soccer Complex. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. and the match will be aired live on CBS Sports Network.
Memphis (20-0-1) punched its ticket to a fifth-consecutive C-USA Tournament Final with a 3-0 win over East Carolina on Friday. Lizzy Hildebrandt, Lizzy Simonin and Rasheeda Ansari scored for the U of M and Elise Kuhar-Pitters posted her 14th clean sheet of the season.
The U of M has scored 53 goals this season coming from 11 different players. The 53 goals in the season are the most since the 2007 season when the squad had 56 goals. Along with a single-season school record 14 clean sheets by Elise Kuhar-Pitters, the Lady Tiger defense has held opponents to eight or fewer shot on goal attempts in every match this season and just 7.8 shots per game. Memphis has allowed 10 goals in 21 matches this season, the fewest in program history.
Luck of the Host?
The U of M hosts the C-USA Tournament for the first time this week and host institiutions have a record of 15-11 as 14 of the 17 tournaments have been hosted on campus sites. The lone team to win the C-USA on its home field was Rice in the 2005 season and just five host institutions, including Memphis this season, have advanced to the tournament final.
Memphis has shutout its opponent in 10 of the last 14 tournament matches. The Lady Tigers have outscored the opposition 34-4 in those matches. The U of M is 16-7 all-time in the C-USA Tournament.
Seventh-seeded UTEP is upset-minded in the tournament, having knocked off two higher seeds to advance to their first C-USA Tournament final since 2005. UTEP scored two second half goals to defeat second-seeded Colorado College on Wednesday and incredible saves by Sarah Dilling helped UTEP past Rice on PK’s on Friday. Dilling made three saves for the Miners in the penalty kick series.
Brittany Kindzierski leads UTEP with eight goals and 20 points on the year. The Miners have seven players with four or more goals on the year. In net, Dillin has a 1.22 goals-against average on the year with five clean sheets.
Inside The Series
Memphis and UTEP will clash for the ninth time on Sunday. UTEP owns a 5-3 series edge, winning four of the last six in the series. Memphis won this year’s meeting in the regular season 3-0 at Mike Rose Soccer Complex. Sunday’s match will be the third meeting in the C-USA Tournament and the two squads are 1-1 in those matches.
In C-USA play this season, Memphis held opponents to just 40 shots on goal and five goals. In those 11 matches, Memphis has registered eight clean sheets. Since the 2008 season, Memphis has 47 shutouts and has back-to-back shutouts 18 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 Sept. 25.
Thus far, Memphis has scored 53 goals in 21 matches, but more importantly 11 different players have scored those 53 goals. Eight different players have three or more goals on the year. and five players have five or more goals. The Lady Tigers have 39 assists on the 53 goals and 13 different players have recorded assists with six players having three or more assists to their credit. In C-USA play, nine players had goals and seven have two or more goals.
Defense Wins Championships
Since the 2007 season, the Lady Tiger defense has helped the U of M to a 79-4-5 record when opponents score one or fewer goals. In that same span, Memphis has 58 shutouts.This season, the Memphis defense has allowed just 70 shots on goal. By comparison, opponents have 164 total shots against the U of M this season, but Memphis has 172 shots on goal in 21 matches.
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 grabbed 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 36 career shutouts and 53 victories and program-best 0.78 goals-against average. Kuhar-Pitters is also tops in minutes played and fourth in saves. With 37 career shutouts, Elise Kuhar-Pitters needs just one more clean sheet to tie for second in the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer record book. Kuhar-Pitters would need seven shutouts to tie for first.
C-USA Coach of the Year Brooks Monaghan
Since taking over the program in 2000, head coach Brooks Monaghan has compiled a record of 145-85-15 in 11 seasons. Monaghan has helped the program claim eight, 11-plus win seasons during his tenure. Monaghan has guided the Lady Tigers to an impressive 106-33-10 (.745) record since 2004. Just in the last four seasons, Memphis is 83-20-7 (.786).
Three...Is The Magic Number
When scoring three or more goals in a match, the U of M carries an 86-6-2 record all-time. Under Head Coach Brooks Monaghan, Memphis is 65-3-2. In the past four seasons in which Memphis has four-straight championships, the record when scoring three or more goals is 31-0-2.
Time Is On Our Side
One impressive stat stands out as Memphis has trailed for only 65:01. In 1912:58 minutes, the Tigers have trailed just 3.43 percent of game action.
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 39-10-3 in matches played on a Sunday. Since the 2009 season, Memphis is 24-2-1 on Sunday’s. In that same span, the U of M has outscored opponents 65-12 and posted 17 shutouts.
The Final Countdown
Memphis has allowed 10 goals this season, six of which have come in the second half. Looking closer at the box score, five of the 10 goals have come in the final 20 minutes of regulation. The Lady Tigers have scored 14 goals in the final 20 minutes this season, with two key goals coming in the come-from-behind win in overtime against Tulsa in the opening round of the C-USA Tournament.
Christabel Oduro leads the team with 11 goals this season, bettering her goal total from last season (3). Rasheeda Ansari has six goals on the year giving the sophomore class 17 goals on the season. Of the 17 goals scored by sophomores, eight are game-winners. When Oduro scores, Memphis is 11-0-2 and the Lady Tigers are a perfect 10-0-0 when Ansari finds the back of the net.
New Kids On The Block
Freshmen have combined to score 52 of Memphis’ 145 points this season. Natalia Gomez-Junco leads the cast with eight goals on the season. Kaitlyn Atkins has four goals and five assists and Kelley Gravlin has four goals and four assists. Kylie Davis has chipped in with two goals and four assists and Carly Cassady has added a goal. Katie Donahue also was credited with an assist this season.
Memphis faced its first deficit of the season on Oct. 7 against SMU as the Mustangs took a 2-0 lead into halftime. The Lady Tigers clawed back scoring three goals in a span of 5:43, before the match ended in a 3-3 draw.
The Lady Tigers faced a deficit for the second time in the season as Tulsa grabbed a 1-0 lead in the 50th minute of the opening game of the C-USA Tournament. Memphis responded to tie the game late and take a win with a golden goal by Natalia Gomez-Junco.
Courtesy of research done by CollegeSoccer360.com, the Lady Tigers senior class is ranked 9th in the nation with 66 wins in their time at the U of M. The 2011 senior class set the program record for the most wins by any class with the 2-0 win at UAB on Oct. 27.
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, six players have accounted for 35 of Memphis’ 145 points. 10 goals and 15 assists have been posted by defensive players on the year. Lizzy Simonin has scored six times this season and when the former forward finds the back of the net, Memphis is 19-1-2.
Memphis has scored 53 goals this season, but looking closely at the time of goals, late in games has been kind to the Lady Tigers. The U of M has scored 14 goals in the final 15 minutes of play or overtime, the most among the six segments of 15 minute increments. Memphis has six goals from the 1st to 15th minutes, six goals from 15th to 30th minutes, six goals from 30th to 45th minutes, 10 goals from the 45th to 60th minute and 11 goals from 60th to 75th minute.
Punch The Time Card
Senior Lizzy Simonin is the only Memphis player to play the full 1928 minutes this season. Eight other players have logged more than 1200 minutes this season.
Home Field Advantage
With an unbalanced schedule this season that had Memphis playing seven road conference matches, the Lady Tigers needed to continue the recent success on the home field. Since 2004, Memphis is 55-17-5 at Mike Rose Soccer Complex. Under head coach Brooks Monaghan, Memphis has a 75-32-7 mark on the home turf.