By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information Coordinator/Soccer Contact
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. --Three late scores halted the Tennessee Tech's soccer team's chance at a comeback Sunday afternoon, as the Golden Eagles (0-1-0) fell 5-1 to East Tennessee State (2-0-0) in the squad's 2014 opener amidst a packed house at Tech Soccer Field.
Trailing 2-0 midway through the second stanza, Tech changed the complexion of the affair, using an Abi Gearing goal off of a corner to chop the deficit right in half, sending the energetic crowd into a frenzy. Junior Taylor Blazei set up the score for her first assist of the season, soaring the corner kick right into the box, before the sophomore Gearing ultimately got her head on it for the momentum-changing goal.
Minutes later, the Golden Eagles found themselves with a chance for the equalizer after a deflection caromed over the end line, giving Tech a second straight corner kick. Senior Kelsey McGohan lined up for the chance, one of five TTU corner kicks in the match, but the ETSU defense stood tall in preventing the potential deadlocking score.
The Buccaneers would go on to capitalize off the missed chance, scoring three goals in the span of just six minutes, finding the back of the net in the 73rd minute on a Hannah Short goal off of a corner, using an unassisted Molly Collinson net-finder in the 75th minute, and then a Simona Koren goal off of a pass from junior Sarah Zadrazil in the 79th minute to essentially put the game on ice.
Koren's goal would cap off a stellar afternoon for the sophomore forward after the Graz, Austria native split the pipes in the 39th minute to jump the Bucs out to a 2-0 lead. Koren's goal came off of a corner, one of three registered for ETSU with senior Jasmin Dutton responsible for the assist on all three set pieces.
TTU was outshot 20-9 on the afternoon with junior Taylor Sutton pacing the way with three shots for the Golden Eagles, two of which were on-goal. East Tennessee was led by Simona Koren, who notched 10 shots, six of which were on-point.
Despite allowing five goals, senior Rebecaa Toler recorded four saves in her first Golden Eagle match since 2011, three of which were highlight reel worthy, including a pair on Koren who found herself on a breakaway with only Toler to beat. Across the way, sophomore Jasmine Elliott recorded the victory with three saves.
On deck for Tech is a trip to Troy, Ala. to take aim in the 2014 Trojan Classic on Aug. 29 and Aug. 31. The Golden Eagles will lock up with South Alabama on Friday, before matching up with the host Troy on Sunday.