By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech soccer team could not overcome an early deficit, as the Golden Eagles were unable to pull even in a 2-1 loss to UT Martin amid heavy rainfall Friday afternoon at Tech Soccer Field.
The Skyhawks (7-5-5, 5-2-2 OVC) unwrapped the scoring in the third minute, before the club eventually padded their lead with a goal in the 80th minute to provide some separation from their in-state counterparts. Tech showed resiliency behind a Kaitie Shipley late to cut the deficit to 2-1 inside the tilt's final minute, but at the end of the day, UT Martin would go on to spoil TTU's regular-season home finale at Tech Soccer Field.
The loss drops the Golden Eagles (6-6-5, 4-2-3) to a tie with SIUE for fourth in the OVC with 15 points during conference play. The Skyhawks jump into sole possession of third place with 17 points. The top two teams in the conference earn a double-bye straight to the OVC Tournament semifinals, while the third and fourth place squads earn a single-bye to the quarterfinals.
TTU keeper Isabelle Austin collected a career-high 10 saves in the match, surpassing her previous best of nine halts as part of a 3-0 win over Murray State in Tech's last home match on Oct. 11. The 5-foot-8 red-shirt junior was kept especially busy in the first half with eight of her 10 stops coming in the first 45 minutes of the contest.
UT Martin wasted no time in denting the scoreboard with a goal in the match's third minute, courtesy of a Hendrikje Baurmann strike for the Meerbusch, Germany native's fifth score of the season. Jill Hildreth slipped a ball past Tech's back line, connecting with Baurmann who split the pipes to put the Skyhawks on top 1-0. Hildreth earned an assist on the goal.
The early strike was one of 11 first-half shots by the Skyhawks, nine of which were on-goal.
The Golden Eagles would go on to fend off UTM's attack for a sizeable portion of the match, but in the affair's final 10 minutes, the Skyhawks struck again. A cross by Alice Adams found Isable Almarsdottir inside the box, before the 5-foot-7 freshman caromed one home in the 80th minute to pad the UTM lead to 2-0. Adams was credited with an assist on the play, while Kamryn Chappell earned one as well after starting the threat with a feed to Adams.
Tech would respond to the setback with a goal by Kaitie Shipley in the contest's waning moments for the senior's second this season and third of her career. Fellow senior Rachel Blow knocked a free kick inside the box that ultimately hooked up with Shipley, who drove it past UTM keeper Erica Myers to chop the Skyhawk lead to 2-1 with under a minute remaining. Blow secured her third assist of the season on the score.
Myers needed just one save in the match, stopping a Blow shot in the seventh minute.
UT Martin outshot Tech 18-9 in the clash. Cassidy Bereda paced the purple and gold with four attempts, while Bella Roberts led the Skyhawk charge with three tries.
With significant postseason implications still in play, the Golden Eagles will hit the road for their final match of the regular season on Sunday, Oct. 27. Tech will square off against first-place Southeast Missouri in Cape Girardeau with a scheduled 2 p.m. CT first kick.
Photo by Thomas Corhern