By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The most significant time of the season has arrived for the Tennessee Tech soccer team.
The Golden Eagles will open up their 10-match Ohio Valley Conference slate over the weekend, kicking off their conference sheet with a Friday, Sept. 14 home match against Jacksonville State and a Sunday, Sept. 16 road affair at Austin Peay. Fridays night's tangle with the Gamecocks is set to begin at 7 p.m. CT and Sunday's get together with the Governors will start at noon.
Admission to Tech Soccer Field is free of charge.
Both weekend matches will be live streamed on the OVC Digital Network. Click here to watch.
A look at Tech
Selected to finish third in the OVC's predicted order of finish, the Golden Eagles (4-3-0) will unwrap a portion of the season that has been quite kind to the purple and gold of late. Murray State and Tennessee Tech are the only two teams in the OVC to finish in the top three of the standings in each of the last three years, while TTU's 18 conference victories during that time span are the most in a three-year stretch in program history.
The Golden Eagles greet the Gamecocks with a little bit of extra rest under their belt after Tech's last scheduled match with the University of Tennessee on Sunday, Sept. 9 was cancelled due to inclement weather in the Cookeville area. TTU was last spotted on Sept. 7 in a thrilling 2-1 overtime home victory against Troy in what turned out to be the final non-conference tilt of the year.
Leading with only 19 seconds left in regulation, the Trojans found the back of the net to square the contest and send the match into the extra session. The Golden Eagles would regroup and do so rather quickly as Tech would score just over three minutes into overtime to claim the captivating clash.
Sophomore Kendall Powell provided the game-winner for her fifth score of the season, a mark that places the Cookeville product in second in the OVC. Powell's game-ender was already her seventh game-winning goal in her short career to move the 5-foot-7 sophomore in a tie with current volunteer assistant coach Abi Gearing (2013-16) for the second most game-winning goals by a Golden Eagle. TTU Hall of Famer Jill Burns is tops on the all-time list with 10 during her Tech tenure.
Freshman Marta Moreno got the Golden Eagles off on the right foot with a goal in the eighth minute, her second in only three career matches. The Madrid, Spain native is one of three Tech players with at least two scores, joining Powell and senior Courtney Manning, who has also split the pipes twice.
The Golden Eagles head into Friday night's battle with back-to-back victories in their back pocket, the club's first winning streak of the season.
A look at Jacksonville State
Picked ninth in the OVC's predicted order of finish, the Gamecocks (2-4-2) have not checked the win column in the club's last six matches after starting the year 2-0. JSU's last three matches have all gone into overtime with a 2-1 loss at Mercer on Sept. 9, a 2-1 defeat by Samford on Sept. 7 and a 1-0 loss against North Alabama on Aug. 31.
Tech and the Gamecocks have shared three common opponents during non-conference play. The Golden Eagles defeated Georgia State and Troy, but dropped a contest to North Alabama, while Jax State went 0-2-1 against the same trio.
Claire Petersen leads the Gamecocks with three goals and seven points, while Madison Carruthers has paced the squad with 25 shots and 16 shots on-goal. Red-shirt freshman Morgan Lerch has played every minute in goal this season for the Gamecocks, recording 29 saves and allowing seven goals for a .806 save percentage and a 0.80 goals against average.
Jacksonville State holds a narrow 7-6-4 edge in the all-time series between the two teams, however the Golden Eagles captured last year's battle with a 1-0 win in Jacksonville.
A look at Austin Peay
Picked preseason No. 8 in the OVC, the Govs (5-2-0) tied UT Martin for the most non-conference victories as each club carded a 5-2 record. APSU tied a ribbon on the non-conference slate with a 2-1 win over Chattanooga on Sept. 9, erasing an early deficit with two second-half scores from Morgan Drawdy.
Drawdy and sophomore Claire Larose lead the Govs with three goals apiece. Drawdy also has an assist for a team-leading seven points, while Larose is the APSU leader with 19 total shots. Mary Parker Powell has played in all but 17 minutes this year between the pipes, collecting 24 saves and yielding eight goals for a .750 save percentage and a 1.18 goals against average.
Tech holds a 10-4-2 lead in the all-time series between the two clubs. The Golden Eagles seized a 2-1 win over the Govs in last year's meeting in Cookeville.
Photo by Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information