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September 11, 2009

Golden Eagles battle Belmont

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Tennessee Tech soccer coach Becky Fletcher knew it would take a hard-fought 90 minutes to compete with a Belmont squad one year removed from an NCAA tournament appearance. But 90 minutes wasn't enough. Neither were two 10-minute overtime periods, as the Golden Eagles and Bruins battled to a 0-0 tie Friday night.

"It feels like a different game once you get to overtime," Fletcher said. "Belmont's chances in regulation didn't scare me, but in overtime the game can end just like that." "

And both teams had their chances in overtime. First it was Tech who hit the post on a shot during the second overtime. Then with about a minute to play in the second overtime it took a diving save from sophomore goalkeeper Kaitlyn Thacker to keep the Bruins off of the scoreboard.

"It's exciting when there is a lot of pressure like that," Thacker said. "Our team moral is definitely lifted and everybody is working for each other."

Thacker finished the match with 12 saves despite playing only the final 66 minutes. Freshman keeper Megan Polk got the start for Tech, but left with under a minute to play in the first half after getting kicked in the eye.

"I couldn't be more proud of our team," Fletcher said. "They worked extremely hard. The reason we didn't score in overtime wasn't because of our legs, we just didn't convert an opportunity. Kaitlyn came up with some great saves, and our defense really kept us in the game."

Andrea Meloff led the Golden Eagles with two shots, while Krista Kaump finished with one.

"Our goal is to get better every time we step on the field, and we did that today," Fletcher said. "Belmont is a quality opponent, so this will help our confidence moving forward."

The Golden Eagles are now 1-4-1 on the season, and will continue their seven-game road trip with a visit to UNC Asheville on Sunday. Fans can watch all the action against UNC Asheville via live video streaming at www.bigsouthsports.com up to an hour after game-time for a charge of $4.95.

Tech will return home to open up Ohio Valley Conference play on Sept. 25 to take on UT Martin. Admission to all Tech home soccer matches is free.