The No. 14 ranked Memphis Tigers (4-1-0) maintained strong momentum into the season after shutting out North Texas 1-0 and Mississippi State 4-0 this past weekend, jumping up four ranks higher than they were last week.
Kimberley Smit, Clarissa Larisey and Elizabeth Moberg were recognized by the American Athletic Conference (AAC) for their efforts last week after shutting out both the Eagles and the Bulldogs. Smit and Larisey were named on the AAC Weekly Honor Roll, and Moberg earned the AAC Goalkeeper of the Week. Moberg received the award for the second week in a row after posting three consecutive shutouts.
North Texas recap
While the score itself does not tell much of a story, Memphis kept the visiting side on their toes with 18 shots, 10 on target, compared to the six shots the Tigers backline faced in the contest. The head coach, Brooks Monaghan, expected an even matchup, considering North Texas won the Conference-USA Tournament the past two years.
“We knew it was going to be a dogfight,” Monaghan said. “I wish we could’ve finished a few more chances, but we created them and tonight was a good win.”
It was a quick start for Memphis as they scored within the first 10 minutes via Smit’s first goal of the year, where she scored after turmoil in the front of the net. The play started on Serena Dolan’s free kick attempt after an Eagles’ foul near the 18-yard box, and the ball rebounded off many players until the sophomore defender found the back of the net. It was a confusing occurrence, but the Netherland native was happy to help offensively for the squad.
“It wasn’t the prettiest goal, and I didn’t even see it go in,” Smit said. “I was just laying there, and then everyone started cheering, so that’s when I knew it went in.”
Also contributing offensively was Larisey, whose four shots were on target.
Mississippi State recap
The 4-0 win may give the impression that the Tigers dominated the match, but the Tigers and Bulldogs were neck-and-neck throughout the whole 90 minutes. Monaghan wanted it to be known it was not truly a 4-0 game in favor of Memphis, but the 20-year head coach was satisfied to hand Mississippi State their first regular season shut-out loss in Starkville against a non-conference foe since 2017.
“It was a battle, and I’m happy to be on the winning side,” Monaghan said.
Memphis again gained the early lead after a header by junior forward Samantha Murphy blasted into the back of the net in the ninth minute. Then, after eighty minutes full of missed opportunities on both sides, Larisey tallied three goals in just two minutes and 31 seconds. It was quicker than her last hat trick of the season, where she netted three goals in three minutes and 26 seconds against Little Rock in the season opener.
Moberg again posted the shutout after saving three shots out of a total of seven shots faced. The junior goalkeeper has now played a full 90 minutes in the last three matches and has allowed just one goal so far in the 2019 campaign. Larisey is also ranked sixth in the nation with seven goals.
The Memphis Tigers now return home for a matchup against the Southeastern Louisiana Lions (1-3-1). The Tigers are 3-0-0 all-time against the Lions with all matches played in Memphis. The No. 14 ranked team in the nation will then head to Conway, Ark. to play Central Arkansas on Sunday night to end their weekend. Kick-off against Southeastern Louisiana is set for 7 p.m. Thursday night at the Billy J. Murphy Complex on South Campus.