Golden Eagles to face Marshall, Kentucky at UK Tournament

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee Tech soccer team will wrap up its seven-game road trip this weekend with two challenging opponents in the University of Kentucky Tournament in Lexington, Ky.

Tech will square off with undefeated Marshall to open the tournament on Friday at 5 p.m. Marshall enters the week with a perfect 6-0 record this season, and has not allowed a single goal in any match, out-scoring their opponents 9-0.

Tech will then face tournament host Kentucky on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. The Wildcats enter the tournament with an even 2-2-2 record on the year.

The challenging tournament comes after Tech has faced three opponents who advanced tot the 2008 NCAA tournament in its last five matches.

"We are hoping to use our non-conference schedule as preparation for our tough OVC opponents," head coach Becky Fletcher said.

The Golden Eagles will be meeting both teams for the first time in program history. In addition to Tennessee Tech, Marshall and host Kentucky, Western Kentucky rounds out the four-team field at the University of Kentucky tournament this weekend.  The Hilltoppers are the only team Tech won't play in the tournament.

"I think the UK Tournament will be a good experience for the team," Fletcher said. "We play quality MAC and SEC teams, and being a part of the tournament atmosphere will be good for us."

The Golden Eagles have been led offensively by a pair of freshmen in 2009. Freshman Andrea Meloff leads the team in goals and points. Meloff has scored three goals for the Golden Eagles, and is the only player on the team with more that one goal. She holds a team-leading six points.

Fellow freshman Kris Cambron is the team's assist leader. Cambron has two helpers thus far. She is also second on the team in points with four, with one goal to go along with her two assists.

Sophomore goalkeeper Kaitlyn Thacker has been dynamite at times for the Golden Eagles. Thacker earned votes for OVC goalkeeper of the week after playing 110 minutes of shutout soccer last week. Thacker kept Belmont out of the net for the entire second half and two overtimes in a 0-0 tie with the Bruins. That proved to be a trying task as it took 12 saves, including a diving save in the final minute of the second overtime, to keep Belmont off the scoreboard. Two days later she helped the Golden Eagles to a 1-0 halftime lead against UNC Asheville before freshman keeper Megan Polk took over in the second half. Thacker's 15 saves on the week moved her past Lisa Wourms and into fourth place on Tech's all-time career saves list with 156 saves in just over one season.

After the tournament the team will return to Cookeville to play for the first time since Aug. 28 when it begins Ohio Valley Conference play against UT Martin on Sept. 25. The Golden Eagles will also host OVC foe Murray State that weekend on Sept. 27. Murray State and UT Martin were picked to finish No. 1 and No. 2 in the OVC by the league's coaches and sports information directors.

"Both of those teams are quality teams that set the standard in the conference last year," Fletcher said. "We open with two of the best in the conference back-to-back."

Admission to all Tech home soccer matches is free.