COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – With just four games remaining in the 2012 regular season, the Tennessee Tech soccer team is looking to bounce back from a tough overtime home loss to Belmont on Sunday and make a push towards getting back to the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament for the first time since 2009 when it made it to the championship game against Murray State.
While there are several scenarios that can help the Golden Eagles make it to the six-team playoff, the only one that matters is winning the next game.
Tech will open the weekend with a match under the lights against in-state rival Austin Peay in Clarksville, Tenn. on Friday night. With the match slated for a 7 p.m. CT start, the Golden Eagles will look to break loose a bottle-neck at third place in the OVC. Currently four teams, including Austin Peay, sit at 3-2-1 in conference play.
"We're looking for a really good game on Friday," said head coach Daniel Brizard. "Our girls enjoy playing under the lights, so they'll be pumped for that. Austin Peay is an in-state rival. They're just a couple hours away and we compete for some of the same kids sometimes. It's going to be a good soccer match."
The team will follow up Friday's match with a tilt against Murray State in Murray, Ky. on Sunday. Game time is set for 1 p.m., when the Golden Eagles will fight to keep the Racers below themselves in the conference standings. Murray State currently sits in last in the OVC at 1-5-0.
"Every team is fighting right now for a spot in the post season, and no one is out of it just yet. The match against Murray is going to be a hard-fought battle, as most of our conference matches are, and hopefully we can come away with a couple wins this weekend."
Scouting Austin Peay
- Austin Peay sits in a four-way tie for third place in the OVC, owning a 3-2-1 conference record.
- The Governors are .500 this season, earning a 7-7-1 overall record.
- Friday's match will mark the 11th meeting between the two teams with Tech owning an 8-2-0 advantage.
- In last season's match, Tech defeated APSU 1-0 in an overtime battle.
- Tatiana Ariza leads the Governors with eight goals this season, along with six assists and 22 total points. She also leads the OVC in points and assists.
- Haylee Shoaff leads Austin Peay in the net, making 76 saves this season and racking up three shutouts.
Daniel Brizard on the Governors
"Austin Peay has a couple of crafty players in the Ariza twins. They're going to be a handfull, although last year we were able to shut them down. They're going to rely on those two a lot. We have to be disciplined and control what we do. Hopefully we can get some more fire power going forward. We've lacked that tremendously the last few games and we really need to get that figured out and some forward momentum going."
Scouting Murray State
- Murray State owns a 3-10-0 overall record this season and joins Tech and EIU as the only teams in the OVC without a conference tie.
- The Racers are 1-5-0 in the OVC with the lone win coming against Austin Peay.
- Sunday's match will mark the 14th meeting between the two teams, with Murray owning a 7-5-1 advantage.
- Murray State defeated the Golden Eagles 2-1 in last season's meeting in Cookeville.
- Veronika Pribyslavsk leads the Racers in goals and points this season with six and 12, respectively.
- Latisha Stevenson and Yi Du have split time in the net this season, each playing eight matches and combining for 73 saves. Stevenson owns all three victoris for the Racers.
Daniel Brizard on the Racers
"Murray State is going to be tough. They have a couple of kids who are big-time athletes and can show up. Both teams are going to look to put the ball on the ground and move it around.They've probably been a little unlucky in some of their results as I believe we have been. They'll look to get a win and get out from the bottom of the OVC and we'll look not to head in that direction."