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Golden Eagles host UT Chattanooga before hitting road for first time in 2009

Weekly Game Notes (PDF)

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - It's back to the drawing board for the Tennessee Tech soccer team after it opened its season with a 4-0 loss to Middle Tennessee last Friday. The Golden Eagles prepare for a pair of games this coming weekend, as Tech will host UT Chattanooga on Aug. 28, before visiting Radford on Aug. 30.

"This whole week we've been calling it football practice because we all have black and blue marks all over our bodies," said junior captain Brooke Mayo. "We've been getting a lot more physical with each other, then making up after practice."

Tech started eight freshmen against the Blue Raiders in the season opener, and at times it showed. Coach Becky Fletcher hopes the young team will grow up quickly on the field.

"I think a lot of them had the first-game jitters," Fletcher said. "This week everybody is focused on improving the areas they weren't successful in last week."

Leigh Heffner was one of the freshmen who earned a starting spot, and is looking forward to getting back on the playing field to show what she learned during her first collegiate match.

"It's a lot more physical than I was expecting. After this week's practices I know what to expect," Heffner said. "A lot of the freshmen were really nervous for that game. We really lacked in communication, and we need to learn how to pick each other up. I'm ready to pick up the pace and I'm excited to push myself. A lot of us felt like we didn't do as well as we can, and we're excited to go out there and show what we are really capable of doing."

But The Golden Eagles don't have an easy task ahead of them. UT Chattanooga had Tech's number a year ago, as the Mocs stole a 1-0 decision from Tech in Chattanooga in 2008. UT-C finished 5-14-1 in 2008, and will open its 2009 season on Friday at Tech Soccer Field.

"We need to play more for each other rather than individually," said senior defender Brittany Rogers. "As a back line we need to create more opportunities up top, because we didn't the last game, and that makes it hard to generate offense."

Tech will go on the road for the first time in 2009 when it travels to Radford, Va. The Highlanders posted an impressive 14-2-6 record in 2008, and look to be a factor again this season.

"Radford is good," Fletcher said. "They were picked to win the Big South this year, so we know they're going to be a tough team."

The trip to Radford will kick off a seven-game road trip for the Golden Eagles. After Friday's match, Tech won't play in Cookeville again until Sept. 25.

"Being on the road is going to bring us together," Mayo said. "We're playing a lot of really tough teams, so it's going to give us a test. If were successful then, we should be successful throughout the rest of the season."