Tiger women's soccer coach sees similarities to undefeated 2011 squad

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - One more day until the University of Memphis Women hit the field at the Mike Rose Soccer Complex, and the hype around Tiger women's soccer is high.

American Athletic Conference Coaches picked the U of M to win the league title in their preseason poll.

Memphis returns junior defender and team captain Olivia Gauthier along with junior forward Marie Levasseur and sophomore midfielder Jessica Lisi. All three are on the preseason all-conference team.

Tigers head coach Brooks Monaghan, who has 5 league titles and 6 NCAA tournament berths under his belt, says this year's squad has the potential to be special.

"2011 we were undefeated. Ranked as high as third in the country, you know." Monaghan said. "It's hard to compare to that, but that group was a group that I could say was a 100 percent bought in. The talent was there. The leadership was there. It's too early to really compare, but some of the pieces are very similar to that year."

Midfielder Rebecca Starnes says the team is ready.

"The commitment here I see it this year," Starnes said. "Everyone seems to be working well together. The chemistry's really here this year. I just see us working well together and putting the results we need."

The Tigers kick it off Friday at the Mike Rose Soccer Complex against the Samford Bulldogs. The match is set for 7 p.m.

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