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Golden Eagles see second half lead evaporate in 3-1 loss on Senior Day


By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information Coordinator

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Momentum shifted quickly in the Tennessee Tech soccer team's final home match of the 2013 campaign, as Eastern Kentucky used a trio of late goals to spoil the Golden Eagles' Senior Day with a 3-1 comeback win.

Scoreless into the 70th minute, TTU (3-14-1, 1-7-1) sent the packed house at Tech Soccer Field into a frenzy, breaking the knotted affair with an Abi Gearing goal. The freshman forward from Libertyville, Ill. scored off a booming free kick from senior Leigh Heffner, as Heffner tabbed her first assist of the year.

A minute-and-a-half later the tide turned completely. The Colonels (5-11-2, 4-4-1) knotted the score behind senior Nikki Donnelly's second goal of the year after junior Kaylynn Brown's initial attempt smacked off the crossbar on an EKU corner kick.

The equalizing goal appeared to spur Eastern Kentucky as just over five and half minutes later, the Colonels were at it again. This time it was sophomore Katie Bright who did the honors, heading in a corner kick by senior Brittany Nomady to push EKU to a 2-1 advantage.

The Colonels capped off its quick scoring strike in the 86th minute, getting an insurance goal off the shoe tops of sophomore Amani Thomas to essentially put the match on ice. A beautiful ball from freshman Cassie Smith allowed Thomas with some space to sneak one past Tech sophomore goal keeper from Jordan Brown, as Smith recorded the assist on the play.

Brown would end up with eight saves on the day, giving her 125 on the season, two more than last year's total of 123 for the third most in program history.

On the opposite side of things, EKU sophomore Erika Wolfer was forced to make just one stop on the afternoon, with the Golden Eagles unable to put more than two of its 12 shots on-goal. In comparison, the Colonels rattled off 26 total shots, 11 of which were on-point.

Not to be lost throughout all the second half drama, Tech began the day by saying farewell to its five senior players as Shannon Rountree, Jessica Wilson, Taylor Hicks, Leigh Heffner, and Ellie Iaciofano honored in a pre-match ceremony to recognize their careers.

The Golden Eagles will officially close out the regular season next Friday, traveling to Belmont for a schedule 5 p.m. CDT start.