Golden Eagles host Chattanooga Friday, Belmont
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. — After an encouraging preseason camp,
the Tennessee Tech soccer team will find out how it stacks up
against Division I competition in a season-opening homestand this
The Golden Eagles begin their quest to rebound from last
season’s four-win campaign when they host Chattanooga at 4
p.m. Friday and Belmont at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Both matches will serve as measuring sticks for second-year head
coach Daniel Brizard, who says his team is still developing its
“We just want to see if we can play our style of
play, see if we can control the game the way we want to and not
worry about the other team so much,” Brizard says. “The
way we play is important, and going into these first couple of
games, we’re going to figure out what works for us and
hopefully get a lineup and a rotation that will work.”
Friday’s home opener will also serve as an opportunity for
the Golden Eagles to show off facility upgrades that include a new
scoreboard and new bleacher seating on the west side of the field
designed to enhance fan experience on sunny afternoons.
As for the product on the field, Brizard says his team has set
high expectations and is ready to redeem its 2010 performance.
“I think we are ahead of where we were this time last
year,” he said. “The girls have stepped it up in their
offseason workouts and really come into camp prepared. I think they
are realizing they are better than what they showed last year. They
want to know they can compete and play against anybody in the
For Tech, which ranked near the bottom of the Ohio Valley
Conference in offense last season, putting more goals on the board
is a top priority, and something Brizard believes his team is
equipped to do behind forwards Andrea Meloff and Ellie Iaciofano,
as well as Sarah Gawthrop.
“Ellie and Andi have both stepped up and come into camp
determined to score some goals,” he said. “They made a
commitment over the summer to get us on the scoreboard. Sarah is
also going to help our offense, hopefully in the form of
Others who made a particularly strong impression on the coaching
staff over the course of camp include Kris Cambron, who played for
a Women’s Premier Soccer League club over the summer, and
goalkeeper Becca Toler, who tried out for and made the USA Deaf
Soccer Women’s Team.
Several newcomers may make an immediate impact for the Golden
Eagles, including Chelsea Ladd, who Brizard says is in line for a
starting position as a holding midfielder. Freshman Brooklyn
Kimball has also impressed the staff with her versatility during
camp while Katie Phillips should also see time at a holding mid
Brizard also mentioned returning All-OVC second team selection
Kerri Reid, midfielder Jacquie Watkins and the team’s back
line, which includes Taylor Hicks, Lindsey Reed, Leigh Heffner and
Julie Thompson as integral parts to Tech’s success.
Similar to Tech, Chattanooga endured a trying 2010 season and is
looking to rebound this year with an experienced roster that lost
just two starters.
After finishing 4-13-2 last fall and coming in at
11th of 12 teams in the Southern Conference, the Mocs
started their 2011 campaign with a 2-1 preseason victory over OVC
opponent Murray State on Aug. 13 in Chattanooga.
Senior midfielder Donna-Kay Henry leads Chattanooga offensively,
having scored nine goals and distributed two assists in 2010 to
accumulate 20 points. Taylor Mangrum, who posted a 2.09
goals-against average and a .787 save percentage last season,
returns as the Mocs’ starting goalkeeper.
Chattanooga finished near the middle of the pack in the Southern
Conference in most offensive statistical categories in 2010, but
brought up the cellar in the league defensively, allowing 2.16
goals per game and a 2.08 goals-against average. The Mocs led their
league in saves with 7.74 per game.
Tech is 4-9 all-time against Chattanooga with the most recent
meeting between the two schools being a 3-0 Chattanooga victory at
Tech Soccer Field in 2009.
In Belmont, the Golden Eagles will get a preview of a squad that
will become a league foe in 2012 as the Bruins join the OVC.
Belmont finished the 2010 season with a 5-11 record and went 4-6
in the Atlantic Sun Conference, placing ninth out of 11 teams. The
Bruins have split two exhibition games so far this season,
defeating Tennessee Wesleyan 5-0 before falling in their only
encounter with another Division I squad, a 3-0 loss to Middle
Junior forward Lauren Paynter is Belmont’s leading
returning point-scorer — she had three goals and four assists
in 2010 — and the Bruins return two goalkeepers who saw time
last season — sophomore Nicole Berner and senior Sari Lin.
Berner started 11 of 16 games in 2010 and posted a 1.32
Belmont ranked near the middle of their league in most defensive
categories in 2010 while they came in toward the bottom of the pack
Tech is 4-5-2 all-time against Belmont with their latest meeting
being a 0-0 tie in 2009 in Nashville.