By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – In-state intrigue highlights the middle of a three-match homestand for the Tennessee Tech soccer team, as the Golden Eagles are set to welcome No. 17 Tennessee to town Thursday evening. First kick with the Vols is slated for 7 p.m. CT.
The match will mark the third time in program history in which Tech will play host to an SEC school. TTU greeted Vanderbilt on Sept. 7, 2008 and knocked off Alabama in the last Cookeville meeting against a Southeastern Conference foe on Aug. 30, 2015.
A look at Tennessee Tech
The Golden Eagles (1-1-0) enter Thursday's tilt fresh off their first victory of the fall after registering a 1-0 nod over the defending ASUN Tournament champion, Liberty, in Sunday's home opener. Returning freshman Yao Giada Zhou collected her first career score in the win, breaking the nil-nil deadlock in the 19th minute with a free-kick goal from just outside the box.
Defensively, Tech fended off 12 shots on the way to its first clean sheet of the season. Senior Isabelle Austin picked up three stops en route to her seventh career shutout. The reigning OVC Goalkeeper of the Year has 12 saves over the first two contests, a mark that puts her in second in the league. Austin tabbed nine halts in a season-opening, 1-0, overtime loss at No. 18 Vanderbilt on Aug. 19.
The Tech goalkeeper is also one of four players that have not left the pitch at any point this season for the Golden Eagles, joining Selma Askildsen, Sarah Block and Macy Carter as TTU's quartet of players to appear in all 187 minutes over the first two affairs.
TTU is coming off a 4-5-1 spring, but paced the OVC in virtually every major defensive category, including goals allowed with seven scores yielded in 10 matches. Tech was chosen to finish in a tie for fifth in the conference's predicted order of finish.
A look at Tennessee
Thursday's tangle will serve as the first road match of the season for the 17th-ranked Volunteers (2-0-0) after kicking off their campaign with back-to-back shutout nods over Florida Gulf Coast on Aug. 19 and Miami (OH) on Aug. 22. UT has outscored its two opponents by a combined 8-0 margin behind a 6-0 victory over FGCU and a 2-0 win over Miami.
Claudia Dipasupil, Taylor Huff and Jordan Fusco lead the goal-scoring charge with two scores apiece, while Dipasupil and Huff are the club-leaders with five points behind an assist in their back pocket as well. Huff has also paced the squad with eight shots in two matches.
Junior goalkeeper Linsey Romig is the proud owner of back-to-back shutouts to begin the year, posting a combined seven saves in the pair of affairs.
The Vols are coming off an SEC Eastern Division title in 2020-21 thanks to a 4-1-1 divisional record. UT went 8-6-1 overall for its sixth consecutive winning season under Brian Pensky.
Inside the series
Thursday's meeting will serve as the first in the all-time set between the two schools. The match marks one of three first-time opponents Tech will play in 2021 with contests at Western Kentucky on Sept. 3 and Xavier on Sept. 5 serving as the other two.
Photo by Thomas Corhern