By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech soccer team made the most of its lone match of the week. After heavy rainfall and soggy field conditions postponed Friday night's match against MTSU, the Golden Eagles smacked an exclamation point on the weekend with a 1-0 win over Georgia State Sunday evening at Tech Soccer Field.
TTU has now won eight straight in Cookeville dating back to last September, while Sunday's victory over the Panthers (1-3-1) marked the third-straight shutout win for the purple and gold, all by 1-0 margins. The Golden Eagles (3-1-0) still have not allowed a goal in regulation, with only an overtime score at Vanderbilt in the season-opener serving as the squad's only blemish in an otherwise lights out defensive start to 2017.
"First credit goes out to Georgia State, they came in not knowing what the field conditions were going to be and I appreciate the fact that they were willing to come on a weekend where we had some bad weather and the field probably wasn't in the best shape," TTU head coach Steve Springthorpe said. "They battled hard tonight, both teams did and I'm happy we came out with a win."
"We've been able to get some shutouts this year, which is definitely been a positive for our team," Springthorpe continued. "I do wish we'd score more goals, but our team has lived by playing good defense and finding a way to score a goal at some point throughout the course of the game."
Fresh off her first career assist in last Sunday's 1-0 win over Western Carolina, freshman Kendall Powell found the back of the net for the first time in her career, scoring in the 27th minute to give Tech an early 1-0 edge. Following a pair of passes from juniors Mayra Tarraga Manzanal and Tina Marolt, Powell made sure that she would not be denied with a relentless effort that saw two-straight attempts in the box carom off GSU goalkeeper Brie Haynes, before a third try by the Cookeville native finally soared between the pipes.
Both Tarraga Manzanal and Marolt earned assists on the goal, TTU's first score in a first half of a match this season.
"Kendall really scrapped for the goal tonight," Springthorpe said. "We saw her do that in the assist she had in the last game, by just scrapping. I'm happy for Kendall. She's done well for us, especially as a young player getting her career started and contributing to the success of our team."
Leading 1-0 at intermission, junior goalkeeper Kari Naerdemann and the rest of the Tech defense made the lead stand, holding the Panthers to just three shots on-goal over the course of the match. Naerdemann's 21st career shutout, and third in as many matches, featured three saves for the Herne, Germany native. Across the way, red-shirt senior Brie Haynes was kept busy with seven saves as the Golden Eagles paced the shots on-goal battle with an 8-3 discrepancy.
Overall TTU tallied 10 shots, led by Kendall Powell's four, all of which were on-goal. Georgia State's Siobhan Wilson notched five of the club's eight attempts.
"I will say that tonight was a complete team effort and a strong defensive showing on our part," Springthorpe said. "There were times when we could've been better and a little more composed, but overall we did what we needed to do and our team deserves this win."
With three-straight victories in their back pocket, the Golden Eagles will embark on a four-match road trip, the club's longest of the year. Tech will begin its quartet of tilts away from Cookeville with a Friday night matchup at UAB. First kick is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT.
Photo by Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information