COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - After opening up Ohio Valley Conference play
with a split against two of the top teams in the league, the
Tennessee Tech soccer team will hit the road for the first time in
conference play. Tech will face Eastern Kentucky on Oct. 2 in
Richmond, Ky., before returning home to take on Morehead State on
Oct. 4 in Cookeville.
The Golden Eagles are coming off a 1-0 double-overtime win over UT Martin on Oct. 25, and a 3-1 loss to Murray State on Sept. 27.
"I think that the girls are excited that conference play has started, and they're really excited to be going into this weekend," head coach Becky Fletcher said. "We split 1-1 with the top two ranked teams preseason, so it was a good weekend for us. There are still some things that we need to focus on to get better. I still don't feel like we've put together a full 90 minutes."
The Golden Eagles look to take the all-time series edge against EKU Friday as the teams head into the week all square at 2-2 in four all-time meetings. The Colonels are one of five teams in the OVC to head into the second week of the conference season at .500 (TTU, 1-1-0; UTM, 1-1-0, SEMO, 0-0-1; EIU, 0-0-1; EKU, 0-0-1).
Tech defeated the Colonels 2-1 in overtime in Cookeville a season ago. EKU was picked to finish fourth in the OVC, one spot ahead of Tech, and received two first-place votes in the 2009 preseason poll.
Tech will return to Cookeville to wrap up the weekend on Sunday when they host a Morehead State team picked to finish second in the OVC. The Golden Eagles have not beaten MSU since 2003, going 0-4-1 in that time.
Morehead's Jillian Birchmeier led the OVC with nine goals and 21 points in 2008, and is currently second in goals in 2009 with five and third in points with 11.
Eastern Kentucky enters the week at 3-6-1 overall and 0-0-1 in OVC play, while Morehead State is 4-6-1 overall and 1-0-0 in conference play.
"I feel that they're records don't reflect the quality of teams that they are," Fletcher said. "EKU plays very good soccer. Both of them are quality soccer teams and we have a lot of respect for both programs."
Morehead State will be the fourth team that advanced to the 2008 NCAA tournament that Tech will face in 2009. MSU earned an automatic bid to the tournament after winning the OVC tournament as the No. 3 seed a season ago.
"The parity in our conference is unreal. I think every game we are going to be fighting tooth and nail for every inch," Fletcher said. "We're definitely expecting this weekend to be just as tough as last weekend."
Freshman Andrea Meloff leads the Golden Eagles with four goals and eight points this season. She is the only Golden Eagle to have a multi-goal game this season, as she scored twice against Alabama State.
Fellow freshman Kris Cambron has three goals and an assist this season, and is second on the team with seven points. Kerri Reid leads the Golden Eagles with two assists on the season.
Sophomore goalkeeper Kaitlyn Thacker, who is already fourth on Tech's all-time career saves list, has 54 saves on the season and 175 in her career. Thacker's 54 saves rank second in the OVC, despite the fact that she shared time with freshman keeper Megan Polk earlier in the year. Thacker also ranks third in the league in save percentage at .809.
The Golden Eagles will stay at home next week to wrap up their 2009 home schedule. Tech will host a non-conference match up with Longwood on Thursday, Oct. 8 before welcoming OVC rival Austin Peay to Cookeville on Oct. 11 for the home finale. That match will be Tech's senior day, were TTU's lone senior Brittany Rogers, a four-year player for Tech, will be honored before the match.
Admission to all Tech home soccer matches is free.