By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – A pair of second-half Cassidy Bereda goals helped pave the way for the Tennessee Tech soccer team, as the Golden Eagles sealed the deal on the first weekend of OVC play with a 3-1 win Sunday against Eastern Kentucky at Tech Soccer Field.
Bereda's first career two-score showing featured goals in the 66th and 89th minutes, with the sophomore's strikes aiding a Tech attack that produced a season-high three goals.
"I'm proud of the way we came back today after what was a little bit of a disappointment Friday night in a match where we thought we played well enough to win," Tech head coach Steve Springthorpe said, on his club's first OVC victory of the season. "We rebounded nicely from Friday and offensively we did a great job of finishing. We may not have had as many shots as we have had in recent games, but today we finished on our chances. It was a well-earned win from our team and I'm proud of our effort."
Eastern Kentucky (3-7-0, 1-1-0 OVC) outshot the Golden Eagles, 15-10, to snap a string of four consecutive contests in which Tech (3-4-3, 1-0-1 OVC) registered more attempts than the opposition. The shots on-goal were even at four apiece.
Bereda's first goal jumped the TTU advantage to 2-0 and was of the unassisted variety after the Bellbrook, Ohio native made an aggressive play on EKU keeper Zoe Aguirre in the 66th minute. With the ball attempting to be corralled by the Colonel keeper, Bereda found a way to wrestle it free and drill it into the back of the net.
EKU responded with a goal in the 80th minute on an unassisted Audrey Anderson goal, but Bereda and the TTU offense came right back with a score in the tilt's waning moments that put the match on ice. Senior Tina Marolt fed Bereda on a lengthy pass along the nearside, before Bereda went one-on-one with Aguirre and snuck one inside the far post to put the Golden Eagles in front 3-1.
"Cass is strong and aggressive and did the right thing on her first goal with a bouncing ball headed toward the goalkeeper," Springthopre said. "She ran right through it, and as you saw, she's not afraid to take some knocks out there. She finished well for us in that moment and then toward the end of the game I thought she was going to hold it. I was actually yelling for her to take it into the corner, but hey what do I know, she cut it to the other side and hit an unbelievable shot back post that kind of sealed it for us."
Tech jumped on the board late in the opening half on a well-executed play that resulted in the first career goal by freshman Camre Peirau. With the match scoreless in the 43rd minute, freshman Meg Ivey served one to the far side of the box that was hauled in by Taylor Hornback. The sophomore then immediately roped one to Peirau, who poured it home for the affair's first goal. Ivey and Hornback both notched their first career assists on the score.
"It was a great service by Meg, and then Taylor knocking it down to set up Carme was well executed," Springthorpe noted. "It gave us momentum and was great to get a goal like that late in the first half. Earlier in the period I don't' know if we played very well and EKU was organized throughout the half. We had a decent transition and found a way to score on our one real clear opportunity with Carme's first career goal."
Red-shirt junior Isabelle Austin secured three saves in between the posts for her third career victory. Zoe Aguirre recorded one save across the way.
Bereda tied EKU's Marian Wolski for the most shots in the match with four attempts. Bailey Taylor was the only other Golden Eagle with more than one try behind a pair of shots.
The win wraps up a program-long, five-match homestand that saw the Golden Eagles go unblemished in the club's first two OVC clashes, a point that did not go unnoticed by the Tech head coach.
"We needed to defend home field. When you are at home, you just need to be able to come away with points," Springthorpe said. "Coupled with Friday's draw, we now have four points which gives us a good start to the OVC season. This is just the beginning though and these games will come fast and furious at us. We will have a good challenge Thursday up at SIUE, which is a very tough place to play. They have a good team and it is a tough environment to play in and on turf. We will get a couple days of rest and get up there and see if we can find some points on the road."
Tech's battle at Edwardsville on Thursday, Sept. 26 begins at 7 p.m. CT.
Photo by Thomas Corhern