By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – A pair of in-state battles is on the slate for the Tennessee Tech soccer team as the Golden Eagles will rev it up for the second weekend of Ohio Valley Conference action.
Tech (5-4-0, 1-1-0 OVC) will travel to UT Martin Friday night for a 7 p.m. matchup with the Skyhawks before scooting back to Cookeville Sunday night for a 6 p.m. get-together with Belmont at Tech Soccer Field. Live stats are available for both matches and Sunday's tangle with the Bruins will be live streamed on the OVC Digital Network. Click here to watch.
Admission to Tech Soccer Field is free of charge.
A look at Tech
The Golden Eagles split their conference-opening weekend with a 2-0 home win over Jacksonville State on Sept. 14 and a 1-0 loss at Austin Peay on Sept. 16. Tech's two-goal effort over the Gamecocks marked the fourth time this season that the Golden Eagles have scored at least twice in a contest, already surpassing last year's total of three matches with at least a pair of scores.
TTU has already equaled last season's total of 12 goals, a mark that places the purple and gold in the top five in the OVC.
Sophomore Kendall Powell leads the club with five goals to put herself in a tie for second place in the conference. The Cookeville native is also the team leader with 19 shots and 12 shots on-goal.
Courtney Manning, Molly Kafader and Marta Moreno have each found the back of the net twice, joining Powell as the quartet of Golden Eagles to have split the pipes more than once so far this season. Nora Vicsek has also put one home with an 80th minute score against JSU in the squad's last home match.
Freshman Chloe Smith and junior Rachel Blow are the team leaders with two assists apiece, while Blow and fellow junior Kaitie Shipley are the only two Golden Eagles to play in each and every minute this season (813). Freshman Kaylee Sunders has tallied 810 minutes on the pitch this year.
A look at UT Martin
Picked preseason No. 7 in the OVC's predicted order of finish, the Skyhawks (6-2-0, 1-0-0 OVC) are off to their best start in program history and have won six of their last seven since a 2-0 season-opening loss to Arkansas State.
UTM played just one OVC match in the conference's first weekend of the season, a 1-0 win at SEMO in a match that saw Samantha Kelly score her second goal of the year in the 50th minute.
Sophomore Jaden Hildreth leads the club with four goals, while freshman Skylor Keane and sophomore Bella Roberts have each found the back of the net three times. Three different Skyhawks have appeared between the pipes this year, paced by Erica Myers who has allowed four goals and has made 15 saves in just over 400 minutes of action.
UTM narrowly leads the all-time series 11-10-1, however the Golden Eagles have captured the last two meetings behind a 1-0 win in Cookeville last year and a 2-1 nod in Martin in 2016.
A look at Belmont
Tied with Southeast Missouri for the No. 4 spot in the conference's preseason predicted order of finish, the Bruins (2-3-2, 0-0-1 OVC) have not lost since the calendar flipped to September with two wins and a pair of draws in the squad's last four matches.
Belmont tied its only OVC match, a 1-1 deadlock at Austin Peay on Sept. 14. The Bruins will host Morehead State Friday evening before heading to Cookeville on Sunday.
Sophomore Juile Garst is the only Bruin with more than one goal this season as the Franklin, Tenn. native has split the pipes twice so far in 2018. The 5-foot-2 forward also leads the club with 30 shots and 12 shots on-goal. Senior Jessi Boozer is the team leader with two assists.
Junior Lily Herman and sophomore Abby Hunt have shared time in goal this season, with Herman doing a bulk of the duties with over 540 minutes of action between the pipes. The Springboro, Ohio product has yielded 14 goals in seven matches, making 29 saves in the process.
The Bruins hold a 9-8-2 edge in the all-time series, but Tech has won four clashes in a row, including a 2-1 victory in Nashville last season. The Golden Eagles also knocked off the Bruins twice in Cookeville in 2016, highlighted by a 3-0 nod in the first round of the OVC Tournament.
Photo by Thomas Corhern