By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Offense proved to be aplenty in the OVC opener for the Tennessee Tech soccer team, but when the dust finally settled, the Golden Eagles fell 4-3 in overtime to the defending OVC champion SIUE in Sunday's seesaw type of affair at Tech Soccer Field.
Mackenzie Litzsinger scored less than a minute into the extra session to conclude the captivating contest in what was the reigning OVC Forward of the Year's second score of the tilt. The SIUE red-shirt sophomore now leads the conference with five goals.
Litzsinger's heroics capped off a combined seven-goal output for both sides, the highest-scoring match Tech has been a part of in over two calendar years. The Golden Eagles (1-4-1, 0-1-0 OVC), who had just one goal in the first five matches of the fall, found the back of the net three times for the most goals in a contest TTU has scored since a 3-0 win over Murray State on Oct. 11, 2019.
Trailing 2-0 after SIUE (4-4-0, 1-0-0 OVC) scored twice in the span of 75 seconds from the 15th-17th minutes, the Golden Eagles responded with three consecutive scores to take the narrow edge. Meredith Nye started the purple and gold scoring brigade with her second career goal in the 25th minute, capitalizing on a loose ball in front of the net before rocketing it in between the pipes to cut the deficit to 2-1.
Still down a goal early in the second half, Tech exploded for a pair of scores in the span of only 65 seconds to take the lead. Bailey Taylor played a pivotal role in the TTU attack, first drilling a shot of SIUE's Andrea Vollmer that went into the back of the net for a Cougar own goal that squared the score in the 56th minute. Taylor then illuminated the back of the net moments later with the go-ahead net-finder in the 57th minute.
The Powell, Tenn. product took advantage of a Gabby Garcia pass that led her to a clean look right in front of the net and Taylor finished it off with the drive that pushed Tech on top for her seventh-career goal. Garcia was credited with her first assist of the season.
Tech's lead would prove to be short lived after SIUE knotted the affair minutes later on a Lily Schnieders drive off a feed from Litzsinger in the 61st minute. Litzsinger's assist helped lead her to a five-point showing after wrapping up the match early in overtime.
SIUE led 27-5 in the shots department, including 11-2 in shots on-goal. Litzsinger's five tries were the most in the match, while Chloe Smith's two attempts paced the purple and gold. Tech goalkeeper Isabelle Austin secured seven saves and SIUE's Jensen Schoch did not make a stop throughout the course of the contest.
The Golden Eagles will hit the road for their first away OVC match of the year, traveling to Morehead State for a Sept. 30 match at 5 p.m. CT. TTU will return home for a Sunday, Oct. 3 night tilt against Belmont at Tech Soccer Field. First kick with the Bruins is scheduled for 6 p.m.
Photo by Jim Dillon