The 8th-ranked Memphis Women’s Soccer Team is the American Athletic Conference Champions for the third consecutive year. Memphis is the first AAC women's soccer team to accomplish this many consecutive wins and create the nation's longest win streak of 15 games.
On Sunday, the Tigers took on SMU in Lakewood Ranch, FL for the AAC Championship game.
Back in September when they played in Memphis, the Tigers fired off 10 shots in the opening 45 minutes. This time, only one shot on goal was taken during the first half. Both teams played with the ultimate goal in mind. Although the score of this game and the previous one were the same, this win was so much sweeter.
Memphis came out strong with some competitive energy to start the first half.
AAC Goalkeeper of the Year Kaylie Bierman rejected an SMU shot with a left leg extension bouncing the ball off the post. This big save in the 7th minute gave the Tigers some confidence.
Memphis attempted numerous corner kicks but sadly a slow scoring start.
That was until the 40th minute when Ashley Henderson made something out of nothing and put the Tigers on the board. AAC Midfielder of the year Momo Nakao assisted Henderson thanks to some quick footwork and playmaking. This was Henderson's third goal of the season and Nakao’s fifth assist.
After the goal, Delaney Tellex drew a foul allowing Mya Jones, the AAC Most Outstanding Offensive Player of the Year, an attempt at a free kick but her clip ball was caught.
Memphis ended the first half on top with a score of 1-0.
Memphis opened the second half with three shot attempts in the first eight minutes, one from Saorla Miller and two from Jones.
Bierman was at the right place at the right time in the 55th minute when the Mustangs' Wayny Balata tried to level the score. A straight-on header went right into the arms of Bierman.
In the 72nd minute, Tellex raced past her defenders and got a shot off that grazed the foot of an SMU player going right into the back of the net for the Tigers' second goal bringing the score to 2-0.
SMU did put one on the scoreboard in the 79th minute when Truth Byars took a fast shot in the box that resulted in a goal.
Memphis’s defense did not let up in the last 10 minutes as the Tigers took home the Championship Trophy.
This is the fourth match this year where only freshmen scored all of Memphis’ goals.
Bierman, Jones, Nakao, Tellex, and Sarah Hagg were all named to the All-Tournament Team. Hagg earned the Most Outstanding Defensive Player and Jones was named Most Outstanding Offensive Player of the Tournament.
Memphis was revealed as the 6th seed in the NCAA Tournament with an 18-1 record. The Tigers will host LSU at the Track and Soccer Complex at the south campus for round one of the NCAA Tournament.
Time and Date have yet to be announced.