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TOURNAMENT TIME: The Bearcats travel to Milwaukee, Wis. for the Conference USA tournament. Cincinnati is the No. 1 seed and will face Saint Louis at 12 p.m. CT at Marquette University’s Path Valley Field.
ABOUT SAINT LOUIS: The eighth seeded Billikens come to Milwaukee with an 8-9-1 record and a 5-4-1 mark in C-USA. Saint Louis has dropped it’s last two matches to non-conference opponents Wisconsin and Kansas after winning two consecutive C-USA matches to secure a tournament slot. Highlighting the Billikens season was a 1-0 upset of Marquette, the Eagles first home loss of the season. Three players have registered double digits in points this season, led by freshman Jamie Perry. Perry has notched 11 goals and four assists for 26 points on the year. Junior Jenny Kehl has added five goals and 10 assists for 20 points, while sophomore Anny Lucier has chipped in four goals and two assists (10 points). SLU goalie Meghann Burke is the school’s career shutout leader with 26, six of those coming this season.
LAST TIME AGAINST SAINT LOUIS: The Bearcats won their fifth Conference USA match of the season, defeating Saint Louis, 2-0 on Oct. 12 at Hermann Stadium in St. Louis. Sophomore Kristina Wilson (Cincinnati, Ohio/Glen Este) won a wild scramble in front of the net and knocked a shot home from four yards out at the 4:16 mark to give UC a 1-0 lead. Senior Amy Simonson (Cincinnati, Ohio/Princeton) picked up the assist on the play after knocking the ball back to Wilson for the score. UC dented the scoreboard again at 69:41 thanks to junior Kelly Rigsbee’s (Hebron, Ky./Conner) first collegiate goal. Rigsbee took a pass from senior Ann Thomas (Cincinnati, Ohio/Northwest) and deposited it into the lower left of the goal from eight yards out to ice the win for the Bearcats. The battle between two of the most prolific goalies in C-USA history, SLU’s Meghann Burke and UC’s Christy Hoffman (Cincinnati, Ohio/McAuley) went to Hoffman, as the senior stopped four shots for her seventh solo shutout of the season.
LAST WEEK: The Bearcats concluded C-USA play with a 1-0 road victory over Louisville. The win gave UC it’s first perfect league mark since joining C-USA in 1995. The Bearcats got all the offense they would need on Ann Thomas’ team-leading eighth goal of the season less than a minute into the second half. Sophomore Rachel Lieberman (Cincinnati, Ohio/Walnut Hills) served a ball into the box to Amy Simonson who deflected it to Thomas. Thomas knocked it home from four yards out at 45:52 for the match-winner.
CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS: UC’s win over East Carolina on Oct. 28 enabled the Bearcats to capture their third C-USA regular season championship. The Bearcats also won regular season crowns in 1995 and 1997. The three championships ties UC with Marquette for the most conference titles in league history. UC also became the first C-USA team to finish the conference portion of it’s schedule with an unblemished record. The Bearcats’ mark of 10-0 betters the 9-0-2 mark of the 1998 South Florida team and the 10-0-1 and 8-0-3 records of the 2000 Marquette and Saint Louis squads.
REGIONALLY SPEAKING: The Bearcats held steady at No. 6 in this week’s Great Lakes Regional Coaches poll. UC received 27 points for the week and trail No. 5 Illinois by three points. Notre Dame and Michigan continue to top the polls at 50 and 45 points, respectively.
NATIONAL VOTES: For the second consecutive week, the Bearcats received votes in the Soccertimes.com top 25 poll. Despite a victory over Louisville last week, the Bearcats received one less vote a week prior, receiving just two this week.
STINGY ON DEFENSE: In 18 regular season matches this season, the Bearcats have allowed just six goals, three of which resulted in 1-0 defeats. The NCAA record for fewest goals allowed in a season is two by the 1987 North Carolina Tar Heels. The Bearcats current GAA of 0.33, would rank them 7th all-time in NCAA annals. UC is also on pace to top the C-USA mark in that category of 0.65, set by the 1997 Marquette team. In addition, the Cincinnati school record for GAA is 0.75, set in 1984 after that team surrendered 11 goals in 14 matches.
HOFFMAN’S RECORD BREAKING SEASON: After shutting out Louisville on Nov. 2, Christy Hoffman became UC’s all-time career leader in shutouts with 30. Senior Day on Oct. 28 was also one to remember for Hoffman as she set a new UC mark for shutouts in a season with her tenth solo shutout and number 10.5 overall for the year, eclipsing Chris Jones’ old mark of 10. In addition, Hoffman posted 4.5 shutouts at Meyers Field this season, which is a new facility record. Hoffman takes over sole possession of a record that she previously shared with Katrina Smolarczyk. Smolarczyk held four opponents scoreless at home in 1999, while Hoffman did the same in 1997.
HOFFMAN MOVING UP OTHER LISTS TOO: Besides being ranked second in C-USA annals in shutouts, Christy Hoffman is making her way to the top of several other conference lists as well. This season, Hoffman has moved past Mo Bothwell into second place on the all-time career saves list. In the first half of the match against Butler on Oct. 4, Hoffman moved past DePaul’s Kelly Kaiser into the number two slot in minutes played in conference history. During her three plus years at UC, Hoffman has logged 7,360 minutes in goal for the Bearcats. Here is a look at the C-USA career saves and minutes lists:
Career Conference USA Saves
Rank Player School Years Total
1. Kelly Kaiser, DPU 1996-99 664
2. CHRISTY HOFFMAN 1997-01 333
3. Mo Bothwell, MAR 1997-00 288
4. Hope Herron, USM 1997-00 266
5. Jaclyn Urso, TUL 1997-00 259
Career Conference USA Minutes Played
Rank Player Years Total
1. Mo Bothwell, MAR 1997-00 7,884
2. CHRISTY HOFFMAN 1997-01 7,360
3. Kelly Kaiser, DPU 1996-99 6,529
4. Hope Herron, USM 1997-00 5,501
5. Meghann Burke, SLU 1999-01 5,494
GLENN REACHES 200: Bearcat head coach Meridy Glenn joined the 200 coaching victory plateau in UC’s win over Memphis on Sept. 30. Glenn became the ninth coach and first woman in Division I women’s soccer history to reach 200 wins.
THOMAS HAVING CAREER YEAR: With eight goals and three assists in 18 matches this season, Ann Thomas is having a career year. Thomas has surpassed her career total in goals just this season, topping her career total of five. Prior to this year, Thomas’ best season as a collegiate came last year when she tallied three goals and eight total points.
HERWEH’S HEROICS: The match-tying goal scored by junior Heather Herweh (Cincinnati, Ohio/Ursuline) against Marquette on Oct. 19 gave her three scores for the year. Prior to this year, Herweh had not scored a goal in 37 career matches.
UNLIKELY HEROES: Coming into the season, freshman Marie Strelka (Trumbull, Conn./Trumbull), sophomore Rachel Lieberman and junior Kelly Rigsbee had not scored a goal between the three of them. After Strelka and Rigsbee netted their firsts earlier in the year, the trio added to that number significantly the week of Oct. 15, with each scoring match-winning goals against Evansville (Strelka), Marquette (Lieberman) and DePaul (Rigsbee).
HOME AND AWAY: Since Meridy Glenn took over as head coach of the Bearcats in 1983, Meyers Field has been kind to the Bearcats. UC owns an impressive 108-40-9 mark at home over the past 18 years. Interestingly, during the 2001 season, two of the Bearcats three losses have come in the friendly confines of Meyers Field. UC is 7-2 at home this year, while posting a perfect 8-0 mark on the road. The other match on the Bearcats’ schedule this year was a season-opening 1-0 loss to Indiana in a game played at a neutral site in Indianapolis.
BEARCAT CAPTAINS: Three seniors were voted captains by their teammates for the 2001 season. The 2001 captains are Lisa Day (Cincinnati, Ohio/McAuley), Christy Hoffman and Nickie Luse (Bellbrook, Ohio).