By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech soccer team is back in Cookeville and ready for its OVC home opener, as the Golden Eagles host Murray State Thursday night at Tech Soccer Field. First kick with the Racers (6-1-0, 1-0-0) is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT.
The match will be broadcast live on the Golden Eagle Sports Network via the Ohio Valley Conference Digital Network. Click here to watch.
Tech (4-4-0, 1-1-0) is back home for the first time nearly three weeks following a season-long, four-match road trip that bridged the gap between the end of non-conference action and the start of OVC play. The Golden Eagles ended the swing away from Cookeville with a split in their first two conference clashes, first falling, 1-0, in overtime at SEMO Friday night, before bouncing back for a 1-0 nod at Jacksonville State Sunday afternoon.
Freshman Kendall Powell collected the tilt's lone score in Sunday's battle with the Gamecocks, splitting the pipes in the 53rd minute for the Cookeville native's second goal of the season, the only Golden Eagle with more than one score this year. Junior Tina Marolt set up the winner, earning her club-leading second assist of the 2017 campaign.
The blanking of JSU put TTU in a tie for first in the OVC with four shutouts, while Tech's stout defense currently leads the conference in goals allowed (5) and goals against average (0.63). The Golden Eagles have held the opposition scoreless in regulation in six of eight matches this year.
Junior goalkeeper Kari Naerdemann is the only player in the conference to post four shutouts and the Herne, Germany native's .875 save-percentage is the best in the OVC, with no other goalkeeper holding at least a .800 mark.
TTU hosts Murray State riding an eight-match home winning streak dating back to last September. The Racers, the preseason No. 1 ranked team in the OVC, enter Thursday night's affair with just one loss this year, a 1-0 home defeat against Saint Louis on Sunday. Murray State knocked off Morehead State in the club's only conference match, 1-0 in overtime on Sept. 14.
The Racers have not lost an OVC tilt since 2014, a string of 22-straight matches that includes 19 wins and three draws over that span.
Senior Harriet Withers sits atop the conference with eight goals this year, and is just one score away from the Murray State all-time career mark of 34. Junior Alex Steigerwald has played each and every minute between the pipes this season, posting a .784 save-percentage and a 1.13 goals against average.
The Racers lead the all-time series with Tech, 11-7-1.
Admission to all Tech home regular season matches is free of charge.
Photo by Tony Marable