By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - After four straight on the road, the Tennessee Tech soccer team returns home to begin the team’s final week of non-conference action of the 2013 campaign. TTU (1-6-0) locks up with UT Chattanooga Friday at 4 p.m. CDT, before jumping right back on the road for a Sunday tilt with East Tennessee State at 12 p.m. CDT to conclude non-conference play.
“This week means a lot for us,” fourth-year head coach Daniel Brizard commented on the pair of matches. “Besides these past two games with Ball State and MTSU we have been in every match. By the time conference comes, which is the season that matters, we will have our stuff worked out.”
Friday’s match promises to be a special occasion, as it will be the first ever Tech soccer web stream on the OVC Digital Network. Produced by the Golden Eagle Sports Network, it was also be the first ever full-scale production, which will include play-by-play and color commentary, multiple cameras, instant replays, graphics, and an in-match interview.
“A lot of players’ families have been requesting webstreams like this, because the reality is they can’t make it to a lot of the matches,” TTU Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Information and Broadcasting Rob Schabert said. “We are excited to be able to bring them a first-class production from top to bottom, and we know it will be something that they will be proud of and a broadcast they will enjoy.”
Tech had just one match last week, a Sunday 3-0 defeat at the hands of Middle Tennessee. The Golden Eagles ran into a fast start by MTSU, as the Blue Raiders found the back of the net three times in the affair’s first 25 minutes. The road swing is over though, and the prospects of playing at home are enticing for Brizard and the rest of the Golden Eagles.
“It’s going to be nice, it’s always nice to be at home,” Brizard said. “Our players just have to get a chance to decompress coming from classes and get ready to play.”
Friday’s meeting will mark the 17th time that Chattanooga and Tech will square off, with the Mocs leading the all-time series 11-5-0. TTU did get the better of the Mocs in an early-season battle last year in Chattanooga, coming away with a 2-0 victory on Aug. 19. The Golden Eagles scored at the beginning of each half to earn the hard-fought win, with senior forward Ellie Iaciofano racking up a goal and an assist in the affair, and sophomore goalkeeper Jordan Brown notching her first career shutout.
Iacifoano currently leads the Golden Eagles with three goals and seven points, and Brown sits atop the Ohio Valley Conference and is fourth in the nation with 53 saves.
As far as this year’s matchup is concerned, Brizard cites taking control early as a pivotal key for success. “It’s vital that we start off at a good pace and that we dictate how we want to play,” the fourth-year head coach said. “Can we look within ourselves to set the pace and dictate the game.”
UT Chattanooga comes into Cookeville with a 3-3 overall record, outscoring its opponents 12-2 in the three wins, and being outscored 10-2 in the three losses.
Sunday’s match with East Tennessee State will be the 12th all-time meeting with the two schools, and so far nothing has been decided with a series record of 4-4-3. The Buccaneers have the latest bragging rights with a 2-0 win last year in Tech’s home opening match on Aug. 17. ETSU sophomore Sarah Zadrazil had a goal and an assist in the match. The midfielder from St. Gilgen, Austria currently leads the team with six goals and 12 points.
East Tennessee State has a 3-3-1 overall record, and will clash with Francis Marion University on Thursday.