Sept. 29, 2011
USF at Cincinnati | Friday, Sept. 30, 2011 | 7 p.m. | Gettler Stadium | GameTracker | Audio/Video
Marquette at Cincinnati | Sunday, Oct. 2, 2011 | 1 p.m. | Gettler Stadium | GameTracker | Audio/Video
CINCINNATI - The University of Cincinnati women's soccer team faces two big challenges this weekend when it hosts BIG EAST Conference matches against South Florida at 7 p.m. Friday and No. 10 Marquette at 1 p.m. Sunday, both at Gettler Stadium.
Cincinnati (5-4-3, 1-2-1 BIG EAST) is coming off a 0-1-1 road trip that featured a 2-0 loss to Providence on Friday and a 2-2, double-overtime draw at Connecticut on Sunday. The Bearcats' tie at UConn was especially tough after building a 2-0 lead before allowing two goals in the final 13 minutes of regulation.
UC leads its series against USF with an all-time record of 8-7-0. Last year the Bearcats fell to the Bulls 1-0 on Oct. 17, 2010 in Tampa, Fla. Marquette owns an all-time record of 12-9-3 against the Bearcats. The Golden Eagles defeated UC 4-0 last season on Oct. 15, 2010 in Milwaukee, Wis.
"Our focus this weekend is that we have to play aggressive, attacking soccer. We have to defend as a team," said UC Head Coach Michelle Salmon. "I felt like in the UConn game it was the first time we put together a true, team defensive effort where everyone was bought in and knew their role. To get a big point on the road against a very good team, using that momentum coming into the weekend, we have to continue to build upon that defensive effort."
The Bulls enter Friday's match with a 5-3-3 overall record, including a 1-1-2 conference mark. Their lone league win came against DePaul on Monday, a 1-0 victory at home. USF is searching for its first road triumph of the season as its played just two matches away from Tampa, Fla.
USF is potent on the offensive end as the Bulls rank fourth in the league in shots per match (20.4) and fifth in goals per match (1.90). The Bulls fully showcased their offensive skill-set when they defeated Alabama A&M 9-0 on Aug. 28.
Individually, sophomore forward Demi Stokes leads the USF attack with 11 total points. Stokes and senior forward Chelsea Klotz, a 2010 All-BIG EAST First Team selection, are tied for the team lead with four goals.
"South Florida's a good team. They fight, they battle, they compete for everything," Salmon said. "The thing that I love about this matchup is that our team really has a sense of purpose. Our team is willing to grind and work and rage. And I think that really sums up our team. Those character traits match up well with what South Florida's going to bring to the table. This is always a physical battle. The matches always come down to one goal. But I'm really pleased with how our team has prepared over the past week."
Marquette currently owns a 10-2 overall record, as well as a 3-1 ledger in BIG EAST play. The Golden Eagles have three wins over top 25-ranked opponents - vs. No. 23 Long Beach State on Aug. 28, at No. 14 Milwaukee on Sept. 7, and vs. No. 20 Notre Dame on Sept. 25. They play at Louisville on Friday before kicking off against UC on Sunday.
Sophomore MF/F Meagan Kelly, a 2010 All-BIG EAST Rookie Team honoree, leads the Golden Eagles with 11 goals scored and 26 total points. As a team, MU leads the BIG EAST in goals per match (2.58), points per match (8.33) and assists per match (3.17). Defensively the Eagles' goals-against average is 0.89, which is good for fourth in the conference.
"Markus (Roeders) is a fantastic coach and he's always got his team prepared," stated Salmon. "What Marquette brings to the table that is a really good strength of theirs, is energy. This is the first team I've had here, besides the '08 team that played with all heart and guts, which can really match those characteristics and brings the talent piece to the table. We may be young, but we will be able to match their energy for the first time. And I know when we take the field on Sunday; we'll be prepared for that.
"At the end of the day, we just have to step out on the field and execute. We know they're going to have attacking chances, but defensively we've been pretty sound this year and I'm really happy with how we're playing in the back. This team, this year at UC, is a different team that Marquette's faced. So if Marquette comes out and they don't understand that this is a different team; the odds will be with us."