Tech soccer fights back from tough start to secure 2-1 win

Tech soccer fights back from tough start to secure 2-1 win

By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech soccer team proved that an early deficit simply wouldn't be a problem in Sunday night's match against Austin Peay. Despite a Govs' goal just two and a half minutes in, the Golden Eagles responded with two scores late in the first half en route to a 2-1 win at Tech Soccer Field.

With the victory, TTU (6-4-1, 3-1-1) runs its unbeaten streak to four straight, and has not dropped a match in Cookeville in its last 11 affairs dating back to early September 2016. The Golden Eagles have also combined four goals in the last two matches, following a two-score effort Friday at Belmont.  

Sophomore Nora Vicsek provided the equalizer in the 32nd minute, before junior Mayra Tarraga Manzanal put Tech on top with a goal in the 38th minute. Senior Karigan Owens assisted on both scores, while junior Tina Marolt collected an assist on the first goal and freshman Viviana Lomeli was credited with one on the second score.  

"I'm happy with our team and the way we responded after a tough start tonight," TTU head coach Steve Springthorpe said. "I thought we were a little flat when we came out and Austin Peay took advantage of it. They really had a great goal so give them credit to come out and start off the way they did. We bounced back though and had two quality goals tonight. It was a great ball over to Nora that she struck well and then Mayra's goal was just fantastic."

Vicsek knotted the affair with her second goal of the season, capitalizing on a pair of passes from Owens and Marolt that set the Budapest, Hungary native up. Vicsek received the ball in the box and proceeded to beat APSU goalkeeper Mary Parker Powell with a missile in the upper left corner to square the match at 1-1. The 5-foot-6 forward had come into the contest only two minutes prior, entering the pitch in the 30th minute.  

A mere six minutes later, Tarraga Manzanal put the Golden Eagles in control with her second goal of the year. The Gerona, Spain native beat the defender along the left sideline, before maneuvering the ball in the box and drilling one inside the right post for her second score in as many matches.

With assists on both goals, Karigan Owens tied TTU Hall of Famer Jill Burns for third most on the all-time career list with 16.

Leading 1-0 at intermission, the Tech defense took it from there. The Golden Eagles limited Austin Peay (7-5-1, 2-3-1) to just three shots in the second half. Overall, Tech paced the shot battle, 10-8. APSU senior Kirstin Robertson tallied a match-high four shots. Vicsek led the Tech charge with three attempts, two of which were on-goal.

 "In the second half I thought we just did a good job of defending," Springthorpe said. "We didn't really have many opportunities ourselves, but we did exactly what we needed to do to come out on top and I'm happy with our effort."  

The Governors raced out to the fast start, thanks to Shelby Stewart's third goal of the season in just the third minute of action. The Phoenix, Ariz. native slammed one from just outside the box and into the back of the net, using passes from Pamela Penaloza and Jennifer Smith to set up the quick score. Penaloza and Smith both earned assists on the play.

Kari Naerdemann posted three saves. Across the way Mary Parker Powell made four stops.

The Golden Eagles will now hit the road for the final time in the regular season. Tech will be at SIUE Friday, Oct. 6 for a 7 p.m. CT first kick with the Cougars, before heading to Eastern Illinois Sunday, Oct. 8 for a 1 p.m. clash with the Panthers.

Photo by Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information