|Friday, October 22, 1999||
Volume 65, Issue 44
1999 World Series Preview
|Bragging rights on the table
Houston and UNCC match up for conference bragging rights
By Josh Gajewski
If the UH soccer team is to win its first-ever Conference USA Championship, its going to have to earn it the hard way.
UH will face its toughest test of the season at home this weekend when it plays North Carolina-Charlotte and South Florida, two teams also in the hunt for the C-USA crown.
The UH women's soccer team, shown above in a game against Southern Miss, will meet its toughest conference opponent when it hosts UNC Charlotte tonight.
"The championship is very much in our grasp," said coach Chris Huston. "We really need to step up our play."
UH (7-1 C-USA) and UNC-Charlotte (8-0 C-USA) mirrored each other until last week, when UH's eight-game winning streak finally came to an end in Birmingham.
UNC-Charlotte took both of its matches last weekend and, for the first time this season, claimed sole possession of first place.
UH will get a chance to reclaim a tie for the conference lead tonight, however, when the 49ers visit O'Quinn Field at Robertson Stadium. The defending C-USA Tournament Champions are coming off of a 3-2 double overtime win over North Carolina State last Sunday.
Junior Meredith Mayo leads the 49ers in points, goals and assists. She was named the C-USA Player of the Week for the week of Sept. 6. Mayo joined teammate Jill Curry on the preseason All-C-USA team.
Things won't get any easier on Sunday when the Cougars square off against defending C-USA regular season champion USF (6-2 C-USA).
The Bulls lead the conference in shots-on-goal (202 on the year). Goalkeeper Valerie Wetzel leads the league in goals-against-average (0.45), while Siri Nordby ranks second in scoring (22) and first in shots (50). USF was shut out by Marquette in its last outing.
"We're facing some really tough opponents this weekend," Huston said. "We're going to have to give it 100percent for the whole 90 minutes if we want to win."
The winner of tonight's game will clearly be in the driver's seat for the regular season title. UH, USF and UNC-Charlotte will each have one more conference game after this weekend.
Looking ahead, UH will have to face another quality opponent next Friday to close out conference play. Saint Louis (5-1 C-USA) comes into town for the finale and is also very much in the title hunt.
The good thing for UH is that the games will be in the friendly confines of Robertson Stadium, where the Cougars have not lost a game since their season-opener vs. Texas last year.
If UH maintains its home winning streak over the next three games, chances are the Cougars will bring home their first conference title in school history.
If they are to accomplish that feat, thought, they will have to do it against the best teams C-USA has to offer.
Only time will tell.
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