Golden Eagles face in-state bouts in final non-conference weekend

Brizard calls for more heart from squad

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Tech will play its seventh-consecutive game away from home at Middle Tennessee State on Friday before finally returning to Tech Soccer Field to host Lipscomb on Sunday.

The pair of matches mark the Golden Eagles’ final non-conference games of the season before opening up OVC play next week.

After getting off to a 2-2-1 start, Tech has dropped three consecutive matches and is looking to get back on the winning track against two in-state rivals beginning Friday in Murfreesboro.

“We need to play with some heart,” says second-year head coach Daniel Brizard. “We need to dig deep and play for each other. We have the skill, we have the knowledge and the tactical ability, we just give up too easily. When the going gets tough, we have tended to fold.”

The Golden Eagles returned from their longest road trip of the season this past weekend, where they took Longwood to overtime on Friday before falling 2-1. On Sunday, Radford got the best of Tech by a 3-1 score.

Brizard doesn’t expect things to get any easier against Middle Tennessee and Lipscomb.

“They’re going to be two good teams,” he said. “These might as well be conference games. Middle Tennessee has played some big-time teams and lost by narrow margins. Lipscomb is going in the right direction, and they’re fighting and battling. But we can’t worry about the other team right now. It’s ourselves beating ourselves.

NEWS AND NOTES:

- Tennessee Tech continues to spread the wealth offensively this season. No player has scored more than two goals while seven different Golden Eagles have scored at least one.

- Senior defender Lindsey Reed and sophomore goalkeeper Becca Toler have yet to sit out during a game this season. Reed and Toler have each played non-stop for Tech, notching 749 minutes apiece.

- Four Golden Eagles have accumulated a team-leading four points this season: Jacquie Watkins, Sarah Gawthrop and Kerri Reid. Each player has scored two goals.

SCOUTING MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE

-En route to accumulating a 2-5 record, Middle Tennessee has played and lost to three Southeastern Conference squads. The Blue Raiders have faced two OVC opponents, defeating Jacksonville State 1-0 in overtime on Aug. 21 and beating UT Martin 1-0 on Sept. 4.

-Tech holds a 2-11 all-time record against Middle Tennessee. The Blue Raiders won 2-1 in double overtime in the last meeting between the two schools on Aug. 29, 2010 in Murfreesboro. Kerri Reid scored an unassisted goal for Tech in the game.

-MTSU is averaging 1.29 goals per game while opponents are scoring an average of 2.14 against the Blue Raiders.

-Offensively, Middle Tennessee is led by Whitney Jorgenson, who has accumulated five points on the season, scoring two goals and distributing one assist. At goalkeeper, Rebecca Cushing has started six of the Blue Raiders’ seven games and has a goals-allowed average of 1.95. She has collected 19 saves and has a .633 save percentage.

SCOUTING LIPSCOMB

-Lipscomb is 2-4-1 overall and is coming off a 2-1 overtime loss at Mississippi State in Starkville, Miss. The Bison play host to Austin Peay on Thursday before coming to Cookeville on Sunday.

-Tennessee Tech and Lipscomb have one common opponent in Chattanooga. The Golden Eagles fell to the Mocs 2-1 in the season-opener on Aug. 19 while the Bison dropped a 2-0 decision to Chattanooga on Sept. 2. Lipscomb has faced one OVC opponent, defeating UT Martin 1-0 on Aug. 28.

-Tech has never lost to Lipscomb in five games. Not only are the Golden Eagles a perfect 5-0, they have outscored the Bison 14-0 in those meetings. TTU took a 2-0 victory in the two schools’ most recent meeting on Oct. 29, 2008 in Cookeville.

-Lipscomb has scored an average of 1.14 goals per game this season and has surrendered an average of 1.29.

-Meghan McGuire leads the Bison offensively, having scored four goals in 2011 and accumulated eight points. Goalkeeper Erin Zerio has 33 saves to nine goals allowed.

-Tech sophomore midfielder Jessica Wilson will be squaring off against a high school teammate on Sunday, facing Lipscomb freshman Ariel Vinson. Both played at Cookeville High School.