By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – The Tennessee Tech soccer team's bid at smacking an exclamation point at the end of the regular season fell short, as the Golden Eagles were tripped up at Southeast Missouri with a 3-2 loss Sunday afternoon.
Coupled with an SIUE victory over Morehead State on Sunday, Tech's chance at a first-round bye in the OVC Tournament narrowly went by the books. The Golden Eagles (6-7-5, 4-3-3 OVC) will open the conference tournament as the No. 5 seed and will square off with No. 8 Eastern Illinois in a first-round clash in Edwardsville, Ill. on Friday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. CT.
Tech kicked off Sunday's regular-season finale against the league's first-place squad in promising fashion with a goal in the tilt's 27th minute to unwrap the scoring. Junior Kendall Powell collected her seventh goal of the season with a drive into the upper left corner that pushed the Golden Eagles to an early 1-0 edge. The Cookeville native's seventh score tied a single-season best after finding the back of the seven times as a sophomore in 2018. Powell also ends the regular season with five goals in the last five matches.
SEMO (11-4-1, 8-1-1 OVC) responded to the initial set back with a goal of its own a mere three and half minutes later, as the Redhawks knotted the affair on a Jennifer Brien goal in the 31st minute.
Deadlocked at 1-1 into the half, SEMO raced out of the gates to a quick advantage in the second stanza with a goal less than two minutes into the period. Lexi Grote put the Redhakws on top with a strike in the 47th minute on one of 11 second-half shots for Southeast Missouri.
The Redhawks padded their lead with a score in the 80th minute, using a Megan Heisserer net-finder to jump ahead 3-1.
Facing a two-goal deficit late in the match, the Golden Eagles showed that they would not goal quietly with a score in the 85th minute to chop the SEMO lead in half. Senior Tina Marolt buried a penalty kick with just over five minutes remaining to give Tech a look at a potential comeback, with the Golden Eagles now trailing 3-2.
The Redhawks outshot TTU 18-3, including 11-1 in the second half. Isabelle Austin was kept busy with six stops in between the pipes, with SEMO's Bailey Redden stopped one attempt during her day in net.
With the regular season in the rearview mirror, the Golden Eagles will make their fourth OVC Tournament appearance in the last five seasons. As the No. 5 seed, Tech will take on EIU in a first-round battle, hosted by SIUE, on Friday, Nov. 1. First kick in Edwardsville is slated for 7 p.m. CT.
Photo by Thomas Corhern