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Women's soccer drops three straight

<p>Marie Levasseur dribbles down the field and looks for open teammates. Levassereur has four goals and five assists this season.</p>
Marie Levasseur dribbles down the field and looks for open teammates. Levassereur has four goals and five assists this season.

After starting the year unbeaten, the University of Memphis women’s soccer team fell to 6-3-0 after dropping three straight games. They dropped a home match against Ole Miss, and then lost two last weekend on the road at Idaho and Gonzaga.

         In their three losses, the Tigers scored six goals and conceded nine. In the first six games of the season the Tigers scored 19 goals while holding opponents to three goals. Prior to their three-match skid, the Tigers totaled 60 shots in a three game stretch Rhode Island, Indiana and Rice. They only managed 27 shots over the course of their past three matches.

         The Tigers suffered their first loss of the season versus Ole Miss. The Lady Rebels entered the game as the highest scoring team in the nation with 34 goals. Tiger Goalkeeper Rachel Ashworth Sheppard held strong and made a diving save midway through the first half to keep the score level. One minute before the half, Ole Miss Forward Channing Foster received a pass on a counter attack and rifled a right-footed effort from 20 yards out into the opposite corner.

         Memphis played a better second half and held the Lady Rebels to only three second-half shots. The Tiger’s leading goal-scorer, Elizabeth Woerner, had a chance to draw level in the 81st minute but was denied by Ole Miss Goalkeeper Marnie Merritt.

         Five days later, Memphis traveled west to face Idaho. The Vandals already had three losses on their schedule and were clear underdogs in the Friday night matchup. Sophomore playmaker, Jessica Lisi took the lead for the Tigers, by converting a penalty kick in the eighth minute.

         The Vandals leveled the score-line just 10 minutes later, after forward Myah Merino sent a rebounded shot past Ashworth Sheppard. Woerner scored her sixth goal of the year to give the Tigers the advantage headed into the half.

         Lisi scored four minutes into the second half to complete her match brace. Sophomore Mikayla Morton scored the third unanswered goal as Memphis took a 4-1 lead with 36 minutes left to play.

         The Vandals fought back late in the match, recording 11 of their 14 shots in the second half of play. A headed strike from Idaho’s Kelly Dopke followed by a goal from Daley Brigdet saw the Tiger’s lead cut to one goal.

         Olivia Baggerly leveled the score with a knuckling free kick from 33 yards, and Daley completed the comeback for the Vandal finessing a shot into the net with three three minutes left to play. 

         The Tigers continued their west coast road trip two days later in Spokane, Washington against Gonzaga. Both teams came into the match with six wins, setting the stage for a competitive non-conference matchup. Gonzaga’s India Jencks netted her eighth goal on the season in the seventh minute to give the Bulldogs the early lead.


Jessica Lisi takes a shot with her left foot. She set a school record in assists her freshman season

         Memphis equalized 20 minutes later when Lisi’s free kick found Sydney Kingston who headed it home for her first goal of 2017. Jencks added to her season total with a goal in the 28th minute, but the Tigers roared back, scoring six minutes later thanks to Woener’s near post finish.

         Memphis failed to produce a shot in the second half and struggled on defense committing nine fouls. Gonzaga outplayed the Tigers in the second half, and it resulted in a game-winning Bulldog goal in the 64th minute.

         Now the Tigers will start conference play this week by hosting SMU Thursday and Houston Sunday. Memphis entered the 2017 season as the preseason favorites to win the American Athletic Conference.

Marie Levasseur dribbles down the field and looks for open teammates. Levassereur has four goals and five assists this season.

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