By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – In-state flavor is the theme for the Tennessee Tech soccer team, as the Golden Eagles hook up with a pair of schools from the Volunteer State in the third weekend of OVC action.
Tech heads to Nashville on Friday, Oct. 4 for a 6:30 p.m. CT showdown with Belmont, before returning home for a Sunday, Oct. 6 meeting with Austin Peay at 6 p.m. Sunday's matchup against the Govs is TTU's annual Senior Day contest, with a special pre-match ceremony honoring the careers of Rachel Blow, Tina Marolt, Kaitie Shipley and Nora Vicsek scheduled shortly before first kick.
Admission to Sunday's match at Tech Soccer Field is free of charge.
A look at Tech
The Golden Eagles (3-4-4, 1-0-2 OVC) are coming off a brief weekend on the books that featured just one conference clash with a 2-2 draw at SIUE on Sept. 26. Tech controlled the early stages of the tilt thanks to two scores in the first 50 minutes, but were unable to hold on after SIUE struck late with goals in the 71st and 87th minutes to force overtime.
Offensively, the purple and gold were carried by sophomore Cassidy Bereda and junior Kendall Powell. The duo each collected a three-point evening with a goal and an assist apiece. Bereda has now found the back of the net three times in the last two matches following her first career multi-score effort with a pair of net-finders in Tech's last home affair against Eastern Kentucky on Sept. 22.
The Bellbrook, Ohio native is tied with freshman Bailey Taylor for the most goals on the club with four, a mark that places the duo in a tie for fifth in the conference in that department. Bereda is also knotted for third in the conference with a team-high three assists.
As a team, Tech is in the top five in the OVC in most offensive categories, including fifth in shots per match at 12.64 and fifth in goals with 13 in 11 contests.
A look at Belmont
After three consecutive losses to begin conference play, the Bruins broke through in the win column with a 1-0 double overtime nod against Eastern Illinois on Sept. 29. Scoreless late into the second extra session, senior AB Hawkins split the pipes off a Niki Clements corner for Hawkins' third-career score.
Belmont (2-7-2, 1-3-0 OVC) took a season-high 26 shots against the Panthers, including a match-high seven by junior Julie Garst, who ranks second in the conference with 35 attempts this season. The Franklin, Tenn. product leads the Bruins with three goals this year to account for a third of the club's nine scores.
Defensively, senior Lily Herman has started all 10 matches between the pipes for the Bruins. The Springboro, Ohio product has yielded 18 goals and has made 62 saves for a .775 save percentage and a 1.57 goals against average.
The all-time series between Tech and Belmont is even at 9-9-2, however the Golden Eagles have bested the Bruins in four straight meetings, outscoring their in-state counterparts 7-1 over that stretch.
A look at Austin Peay
Before coming to Cookeville, the Govs (1-6-3, 0-2-1 OVC) will play at Eastern Kentucky on Friday, Oct. 4 in the beginning of a three-match road swing. After two straight draws, including a 2-2 deadlock against SIUE in the club's first OVC contest of the year, APSU is coming off back-to-back home losses to SEMO and UT Martin over the weekend.
Austin Peay's lone win this season is a 2-0 home triumph over Evansville on Sept. 15.
The Govs are tied for the fewest goals in the OVC with six in 10 matches and do not have a player that has scored more than one goal this year. Claire Larose and Ashley Whittaker pace the squad with three points apiece behind a goal and an assist each.
Senior Mary Parker Powell has been in charge of the goalkeeper responsibilities with action in all 10 matches this season. The Germantown, Tenn. native has surrendered 16 goals and has registered 39 saves for a .709 save percentage and a 1.70 goals against average.
Tech leads the all-time series 10-5-2 over Austin Peay, but were upended, 1-0, by the Governors last year in Clarksville. The Golden Eagles had gone 2-0-1 in the previous three matches against APSU, including a 2-1 victory the last time the two teams locked up in Cookeville in 2017.
Photo by Thomas Corhern