By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech tennis team is set to take aim in its first OVC road match of the year, as the Golden Eagles will travel to Morehead State for a Thursday evening showdown with the Eagles. First kick in the battle of the birds is slated for 5 p.m. CT.
A look at Tennessee Tech
The Golden Eagles (1-4-1, 0-1-0 OVC) are coming off a 4-3 overtime setback at the hands of SIUE in Sunday's OVC opener at Tech Soccer Field. The wild seesaw affair, which was the highest-scoring match TTU has been a part of in over two calendar years, featured two different lead changes.
Trailing 2-0 with consecutive Cougar scores in the span of 75 seconds from the 15th-17th minutes, the Golden Eagles responded in a big way behind three straight goals to take a lead early in the second half. Meredith Nye found the back of the net in the 25th minute for her second-career score, before Tech showcased its own quick-strike attack with two goals in the span of just 65 seconds shortly after intermission.
TTU scored off an own goal in the 56th minute to knot the count at 2-2 and Bailey Taylor gave the Golden Eagles the lead with her first score of the season, and seventh of her career, in the 57th minute.
Tech's three-goal output was the first of its kind since a 3-0 nod over Murray State on Oct. 11, 2019. The Golden Eagles had scored just one goal in their first five matches of the season prior to Sunday's league opener.
Individually, Nye, Taylor and Yao Giada Zhou have each split the pipes this season for the purple and gold. Chloe Smith is the club leader in shots with nine and shots on-goal with six, despite playing in just four matches this season.
A look at Morehead State
The Eagles (2-5-3, 0-0-1 OVC) played EIU to a 1-1 draw in the squad's Ohio Valley Conference opener on Sunday for Morehead's second-consecutive tie after knotting Chattanooga on Sept. 19 in the non-conference finale. Trailing 1-0 early in the second half, Katie Kiolbassa squared the score with a 62nd-minute net-finder for her-team leading third goal of the season.
Michelle Jerantowski's eight stops in net helped secure the knot. The junior out of Lemont, Ill. is second in the OVC with 47 saves this season.
Colleen Swift is the only other Eagle outside of Kiolbassa with more than one score behind a pair of goals. Abby VanHoeve, Kate Larbes and Sidney Palla have all found the back of the net once. VanHoeve leads Morehead with two assists.
Inside the series
Thursday's affair will mark the 26th meeting in the all-time series. Tech holds a 12-9-4 advantage, which includes a 1-0 victory in Morehead in last spring's get-together on Mar. 9. Scoreless late in regulation, Chloe Smith pushed the purple and gold to the finish line with an 88th-minute goal on a feed from Bailey Taylor, who earned an assist on the winner. Isabelle Austin collected six saves in the clean sheet.
Photo by Jim Dillon