It was another successful game for the No. 11/21 ranked University of Memphis Women’s soccer team (8-1) as they notched their eighth win of the year against the Iowa State Cyclones (3-6). Despite the Tigers outshooting the Cyclones 23-to-5 overall in the match, head coach Brooks Monaghan was not pleased with the team’s first-half performance.
“The second half was very good, and the first half was a little bit off,” Monaghan said after the game. “But a big part of that was because of the system of play. They played differently than we thought they were going to play, so it kind of threw us off.”
Again, Memphis outshot their opponents, but only recorded six shots in the first half, and the opening goal came from a set-piece. Kimberley Smit, sophomore defender, sneaked a free-kick to the bottom left of the goalie in the third minute for her second goal of the year.
In the second half, the team picked up the slack with 17 shots compared to the Cyclones’ four shots in the half. The first to go past the opposing keeper was Jones’ shot in the 54th minute where Lisa Pechersky tallied the assist. Shortly after, Larisey notched the final goal of the night in the 59th minute when Samantha Murphy recorded the assist.
Elizabeth Moberg, sophomore goalkeeper, continued to provide a brick wall behind a stout Memphis backline. She only had to record one save on the night, and now has five solo shutouts in 2019. Monaghan had nothing but praise for her starting keeper, but he also credited the defenders.
“She’s been stepping up when she needs to step up, but overall our backline has done a fantastic job of shutting teams down,” Monaghan said.
Also noteworthy was the play from Clarissa Larisey, who was tabbed on the American Athletic Conference Weekly Honor Roll after scoring her team-high and league-high ninth goal of 2019 in the win over Iowa State. All four of her shots in the contest were on target, and it was the junior forward’s third weekly award of the season.
Mya Jones, freshman midfield/forward, was also named in the Weekly Honor Roll for scoring her second goal of the year. It was the Calgary, Alberta native’s third recognition of the year after being named Freshman of the Week Aug. 26.
The Tigers now travel to Florida to face UCF and USF this weekend for a challenging start of AAC play. Both the Knights and Bulls received votes in the United Soccer Coaches Poll, and Memphis will look to overcome their regular-season losses from last year against the opponents. Monaghan noted momentum is key and being on point will be the factors in order to leave Florida with a 2-0 start in conference play.
“We need all the momentum we can get because our hands are going to be full [against UCF and USF],” Monaghan said. “If you make a mistake against those two teams, they’ll punish you.”
Elizabeth Moberg noted the importance of claiming these road victories against their AAC foes because the regular-season champion hosts the tournament in postseason play.
“These two are very important because they’re going to be the next top two in our conference, and it’ll probably decide who’s going to be hosting the tournament because of how strong each team is.”
Kick-off is set for 5 p.m. CDT in Orlando Thursday night, and the team will move on to Tampa to play USF Sunday noon CDT.