Sept. 20, 2012
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Miss opens their Conference USA schedule this weekend when they travel to UAB and Memphis for Friday and Sunday women's soccer matches, respectively.
"Playing nonconference games are all about setting the tone for the conference season," said fifth-year head coach Scott Ebke. "We had a successful nonconference slate, found out a lot about our team, and now it's time to turn that into results against our C-USA competition."
The Golden Eagles (3-3-1) will travel to Birmingham for a Friday match against UAB, whom they defeated last season in a double overtime thriller in Hattiesburg.
UAB (1-7) is led offensively by Johanna Liney whose three goals and eight shots on goal are both team-highs. In goal, Courtnie Northern has allowed 21 goals in 648 minutes and has seen the majority of time for the Blazers.
"UAB matches up well with us so it will be a test for our squad," Ebke added. "They are a well-coached, fundamentally sound team and they always play us very close."
In the Tigers, Coach Brooks Monaghan's team has been one of C-USA's top teams and the 2012 version is no different. Led by reigning C-USA Offensive Player of the year Christabel Oduro, the Tigers (4-3) are averaging 2.57 goals per game while holding opponents under two. Oduro paces the squad with five goals and 15 shots on goal while a pair of goalkeepers has split time for the Tigers. Christa Strickland is 3-1 on the year while Becca Brown sports a 1-2 record.
"Memphis is always a top flight team in our league," said Ebke. "They have won the last five C-USA championships for a reason and it will be a great challenge for us to go to their place on Sunday."
Newcomer Danica Roberts has provided an immediate offensive spark up top for Southern Miss, leading the team with three goals and eight shots on goal. However, multiple players have gotten in on the scoring action with six other Eagles sporting at least one point this season.
On defense, Southern Miss is holding opponents to just 1.14 goals per game and a talented, experienced back line along with junior keeper Lindsey Schwaner are the reasons why. Schwaner has allowed just eight goals in 648 minutes while Caitlin Leumas and Shelbi Moeller have provided consistency in front of her.
Both games are set for 7 p.m. kickoffs on Friday in Birmingham and Sunday in Memphis.