By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information
FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Behind a history-making performance by sophomore Kendall Powell, the Tennessee Tech soccer team finished its road trip up north in prime fashion with a 4-0 win at Purdue Fort Wayne Sunday afternoon.
Powell scored three times to lead the Golden Eagle offensive surge, becoming only the fourth player in program history to record a hat trick and first since Jen Hoffman accomplished the feat back on November 5, 2009. Overall it is just the seventh occurrence in school history. TTU Hall of Famer Jill Burns recorded four hat tricks in her career and Tania Desmarais was the first Golden Eagle to score three goals in a match with her hat trick on October 6, 2001.
"What a game for Kendall today, she was fantastic," Tech head coach Steve Springthorpe said. "It took a lot of strength and individual effort to score those three goals. Our team did a good job of feeding her the ball and giving her opportunities and Kendall took full advantage of it. I know the team was very excited that she was able to get a hat trick. It was great to see."
Senior Courtney Manning accounted for the other Tech score with a penalty-kick goal in the 85th minute as the Golden Eagles (3-3-0) put four on the board in a match for the first time since a 4-1 victory at UNC Asheville on August 28, 2011.
Powell jump started the Tech offense with her first net-finder in the 22nd minute, the lone goal scored in the first half. After navigating through heavy traffic, the Cookeville native found herself one-on-one with Mastodon keeper Haley Lydon before eventually splitting the pipes to give the Golden Eagles the early edge.
Powell's second goal came in the 53rd minute and was courtesy of a Chloe Smith pass on the outside that saw Powell use her left foot to sneak a strike inside the near post. Smith registered her second assist of the season on the goal that put Tech ahead 2-0.
Viviana Lomeli assisted on Powell's third goal in the 59th minute with a bicycle kick from outside the box that ultimately connected with Powell who took care of the rest to push the TTU edge to 3-0.
Courtney Manning put the finishing touches on the Golden Eagle offensive outburst with her second career goal on a penalty kick in the tilt's waning moments.
Overall Tech set season-highs in both shots with 14 and shots on-goal with nine. Powell's five shots bested all players in the match and her three goals give the dynamic sophomore four this season. Hannah Kroger paced the Mastodons (1-4-1) with four of the club's seven shots.
"We didn't have a lot of shots in the first half in what was a physical battle with the ball in the middle third a lot," Springthorpe said. "I felt we did do a good job of handling their pressure and in the second half things opened up a little more that led to a couple of more goals. I'm very happy with our team and their effort today, especially coming off a disappointing loss Friday night at Evansville. They knew we needed a positive result and we were able to accomplish that."
Kari Naerdemann collected two saves in between the pipes for her second shutout this year and 30th in her career to extend an already Ohio Valley Conference record. Purdue Fort Wayne used a pair of goal keepers as Haley Lydon allowed one goal and made one save in the first half, while Lorah Pund surrendered three goals and recorded three stops in the second half.
The Golden Eagles will return home for the squad's final two non-conference matches of the season. TTU will host Troy on Friday, Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. CT before welcoming in the University of Tennessee to Tech Soccer Field Sunday, Sept. 9 at 6 p.m. Admission to both matches is free of charge.
Photo by Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information