By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information
CHARLESTON, Ill. – It took 110 minutes on Friday, and even though the Tennessee Tech women's soccer team struck first on Friday against Eastern Illinois, the Panthers quickly evened the match back up and the score stayed knotted through the second overtime session, a 1-1 tie.
The Golden Eagles extend their unbeaten streak to four games as they improve to 6-5-5, 4-1-3 in Ohio Valley Conference play.
"It was a close, hard-fought game and I couldn't be prouder of our effort," said Tech head coach Steve Springthorpe. "It went back and forth through the first half, but we played well in the second half. I really liked our intensity as we were focused and attempted to get things going.
"While we didn't come away with the win, we are coming home with a point, which is crucial as we're coming down the stretch in OVC play and for tournament seeding."
The result is a familiar one for Springthorpe, who saw the Golden Eagles come away from Charleston with a scoreless tie two seasons ago and a 1-0 loss in 2015.
"It's a tough place to play, no doubt," he said. "Every time we come up here, it's a battle. Give credit to EIU for buckling down and give us their best shot. We're coming away with a point from an unfamiliar field and a tough team on the road, so we'll take it."
Kendall Powell, who has scored four goals in the last three games, took a one-timer off a deflection and knocked it in past keeper Sara Teteak to break the scoreless tie with 68:10 gone in the match.
"That was a nice goal for KP," Springthorpe said. "It was a scrum set-piece about 15 or 16 yards out. She saw the rebound and was in a great spot to get the score."
Just five minutes later, DeWolf lofted a rebound over keeper Isabelle Austin's head, knotting the score at one with 73:16 gone.
"That one was unfortunate," Springthorpe said. "The shot was blocked, but it took a very strange bounce upward. Even on the sidelines, that one looked tough to stop with a lot of crazy top spin. Izzy made a valiant try on it, but it went just over her head."
The match, for the first half and into the second, saw a lot of shots from the Panthers, outshooting Tech 13-3 at one point, but each side only had one on-goal for the longest time.
That changed as the Golden Eagle offense picked up the intensity, outshooting the homestanding Panthers 5-1 down the stretch.
Tech took two shots in the first overtime session, but nothing fell true, sending the game to a second golden-goal period. The last 10 minutes saw EIU outshoot Tech 3-1, but Tech was able to slow down the late home attack. Austin turned away two EIU shots in the second OT.
"Izzy had an amazing game in goal," Springthorpe noted, as the redshirt junior has only allowed one goal in her last three starts. "Eastern Illinois put a lot of pressure on her, but she continued to make quality saves. They continued to come at her one-on-one and she was there when we needed her."
Austin ended the game with five saves as she faced 17 shots. Her counterpart, Teteak, faced down 11 shots and recorded four saves.
In all, EIU (3-8-3, 2-4-2 OVC) outshot Tech 17-11, but the Panthers only had a slim 6-5 margin on-goal.
Up next for the Golden Eagles, UT Martin comes into Cookeville next Friday for Tech's home finale, a 3 p.m. affair. Admission to the game is free to the public.
Photo by Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information