MEMPHIS, Tenn. – A magical season came to a close Friday night at Mike Rose Soccer Complex, as the No. 15 Memphis Tigers dropped a 3-0 decision to No. 23 Wisconsin in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Badgers (13-3-4, 6-2-3 Big Ten) netted a score in the first half and then added a pair of scores midway through the second half to seal the win. The Tigers capped the season with a 17-4 record and a 7-2 mark in AAC play. Memphis’ 17 victories are tied for second-most wins in program history.
“I want to start by saying how proud I am of this team. This team won our first American Athletic Conference championship. I can’t put in to words. This is a special group of ladies that have been an absolute pleasure to coach,” head coach Brooks Monaghan said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t have our best match. No excuse. Wisconsin wore on their sleeve they wanted it a bit more.”
Wisconsin opened the scoring with a goal in the 27th minute when Cameron Murtha tallied her fifth score of the season.
The Tigers added pressure to open the second half and doubled their shot output in the latter 45 minutes, but the Badger defense kept Memphis off the board.
“They are a physical team. That’s their league. We watched a lot of film and to be honest, tonight was the best we have seen them,” Monaghan added. “Credit to them. I think that’s one of the major areas they beat us tonight – the physicality and second balls.”
Wisconsin reclaimed momentum and added goals in the 56th and 62nd minutes to set the 3-0 final.
Five seniors capped their careers in Blue and Gray. Olivia Gauthier, Chanel Hudson-Marks, Catherine Levasseur, Marie Levasseur and Elizabeth Woerner amassed 50 wins and a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances over their four seasons.
“This senior class is a special group. These girls brought it everyday. They helped tweak the culture. I’m going to miss them,” Monaghan said.
The Tigers seek to return a plethora of minutes and depth in 2019, with a repeat of a conference title on its mind.
“I expect to win another championship with the kids that we have. To see these kids grow has been awesome,” Monaghan added. “There are some players that haven’t been seen all year that can be the next Clarissa (Larisey) and Sam (Murphy). It’s up to them to step up as leaders and keep that culture going.”