UTM will make short NCAA trip
Posted: Friday, November 11, 2011 12:02 pm
After a long journey to get there, the UT Martin soccer team’s trip to the NCAA Tournament will be a relatively short one.
The Skyhawks will make the 125-mile trek to Bluff City to take on Memphis in the first round. The match will be 7 p.m. Saturday at the Mike Rose Soccer Complex.
“We’re really excited,” UTM head coach Phil McNamara said. “It was a really difficult week. We were facing two teams that we’d lost to during the regular season. We knew it was going to be difficult, but the girls really came together at the right time. I’m thrilled for them. They’re going to have a good time this week.”
The Skyhawks earned the trip into the postseason via a 2-1 victory over Morehead State in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament finals in Cape Girardeau, Mo.
The win was UT Martin’s 14th of the season and sixth straight, both of which are program records.
“I mentioned that to them after the championship game that I felt they really came together this week,” McNamara said. “I mentioned in our pregame talk that I felt they had matured. I had seen little differences this week in regard to their maturity. For a team so young to make so many changes in a short period, I was really proud of them.”
This will be the eighth NCAA Tournament appearance for McNamara, who made seven appearances in eight seasons at Carson-Newman before taking over the Skyhawk program in 2010.
UT Martin’s offense is led by senior Rosaelia Loza, who leads the team with 22 points (nine goals, four assists). Sophomore Hannah McGowen ranks second on the team in scoring and has tallied 10 assists, which is a new single-season record.
The Skyhawks also boast All-OVC first teamer Brooke Robertson and OVC Tournament Most Valuable Player Lucy Pater at midfielder. Defensively, UT Martin boasts OVC Defensive Player of the Year Melissa Govea and OVC All-Newcomer Amy Maksimowicz.
“Our senior group really stepped up in the tournament,” McNamara said. “Govea has been a leader, individually performance-wise but also as a captain, and then same thing for Brooke. They’ve had great leadership all year.”
In goal, freshman Mariah Klenke has made six of the last seven starts and sports a 1.00 Goals Against Average in nearly 1,075 minutes. Klenke recently was named to the All-OVC tournament team after corralling 10 saves and allows two goals in 256:55.
Ranked No. 6 in the NSCAA coaches poll, Memphis enters the match as one of the nation’s final two unbeaten teams with a 21-0-1 record. The Lady Tigers are coming off their fifth straight Conference USA tournament championship, a 2-1 triumph over UTEP.
Head coach Brooks Monaghan is in his 12th season at the helm of the Lady Tiger program. His offense is led by sophomore Christabel Oduro, who is responsible for 30 points (12 goals, six assists) and is the current C-USA Offensive Player of the Year. Freshman Natalia Gomez-Junco leads the team in shot attempts (64) and ranks second on the squad with eight goals.
The Memphis defense has allowed just 11 goals in 22 matches and has recorded a program record 14 shutouts.
Redshirt senior goalkeeper Elise Kuhar-Pitters has logged 1992:02 minutes between the posts in 2011, conceding just nine goals while making 59 saves. She has sported a .868 save percentage and a GAA of 0.41.
Published in The WCP 11.10.11