By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information
BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – The Ohio Valley Conference's postseason awards list contains a shade of purple and gold thanks to the selection of two members from the Tennessee Tech soccer team.
Junior Kaitie Shipley was recognized on the All-OVC first team and freshman Chloe Smith reserved a spot on the conference's All-Newcomer team, as the Golden Eagles secured at least a pair on the prestigious list for the fourth straight year.
Shipley's spot on the All-OVC first team makes it four consecutive years in which a Golden Eagle has been named a first-teamer, extending the second-longest streak in program history. Tech had a run of six straight seasons of at least one first-teamer from 1998-2003.
The Barrie, Ontario native was one of two Golden Eagles to play in each and every minute this season, joining fellow junior Rachel Blow with 1,573 minutes on the pitch in 2018. Serving as a key member of the TTU back line, Shipley helped anchor a Golden Eagle defense that finished tied for third in the OVC with six shutouts during the regular season.
"Kaitie had a great year, especially when you consider that the position she played was brand new to her," Tech head coach Steve Springthorpe said. "She had had to transition from an attacking player to a defending player in a short period of time, with not a lot of experience at the position. Kaitie was a huge help in trying to rebuild our back line and had some fantastic games throughout the year. I'm glad that the coaches and media personnel in the conference recognized her as one of the best defenders in the OVC. We are really happy for her and excited that she is returning next year to help lead our defense."
Shipley, who secured an OVC Defensive Player of the Week honor on Oct. 9 after helping navigate Tech to back-to-back shutouts against Belmont and SEMO, is one of just three All-OVC first team defenders, joining UT Martin's Kaci Mitchell and EIU's Henar Urteaga. Mitchell was also named the 2018 OVC Defensive Player of the Year.
Chloe Smith continues a streak of four straight seasons in which a Golden Eagle has been named to the conference's All-Newcomer team, following up Kari Naerdemann's selection in 2015, Nora Vicsek's in 2016, and Tina Marolt and Kendall Powell in 2017. The freshman out of Cincinnati, Ohio collected two goals and produced two assists for a six-point showing during her rookie campaign.
"Chloe had a pretty good year, especially when you consider that she was only a freshman this season," Springthorpe said. "She played a lot for us and scored a couple of goals. I thought Chloe performed well and maybe even exceeded our expectations a little bit. We thought she was going to be good, but took advantage of an opportunity to get on the field right away and did some really good things for us. I'm glad Chloe was recognized for her achievements during conference play this year."
Smith secured a pair of game-winning goals in nods over Belmont on Oct. 2 and SIUE on Oct. 19. The 5-foot-8 defender registered her first career assist in a win at Purdue Fort Wayne on Sept. 2, and tabbed her second assist in Tech's 2-0 victory over Jacksonville State in the OVC opener on Sept. 14.
Overall, Smith ended the season fourth on the team with 18 shots, 14 of which occurred during OVC action.
Photos by Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information