By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech soccer team will welcome Eastern Illinois to town for the final Sunday home match of the regular season for the Golden Eagles. Tech's tangle with the Panthers is slated for a 1 p.m. CT start time.
Sunday's clash will serve as Tech's annual Senior Day affair, with a pre-match ceremony scheduled just before first kick to honor Isabelle Austin, Cassidy Bereda, Ashley Grimes, Bry Hack, Megan Henry, Taylor Hornback and Natalie Rolen.
A look at Tennessee Tech
The Golden Eagles (2-5-1, 1-2-0 OVC) are coming off their first conference victory of the season after upending UT Martin on the road in a dramatic affair Thursday night in Martin. Trailing 1-0 late in regulation, Bailey Taylor split the pipes in the 71st minute to square the score, before the Golden Eagles saved the best for last behind a Gabby Garcia goal with less than two minutes remaining in double overtime.
Garcia's winner was her first score of the season and third of her career. Taylor's net-finder was her club-leading second of the campaign and eighth of her Tech tenure. Taylor Hornback registered an assist on Taylor's score, while Chloe Smith notched an assist on Garcia's heroics. Isabelle Austin secured six saves in the win.
After combining for just one goal over the first five matches of the season, Tech has collected a total of five scores over the last three matches. The Golden Eagles split the pipes a season-high three times in a 4-3 overtime defeat to SIUE in the club's last home match on Sept. 26.
Chloe Smith leads the squad with 13 shots, one of two Golden Eagles with double-digit attempts this year behind 10 from Yao Giada Zhou. Smith and Bailey Taylor each possess a team-leading six shots on-goal this season.
A look at Eastern Illinois
The Panthers (3-6-2, 1-1-1 OVC) scoot to Cookeville after the club's last match against SIUE was halted at the half Thursday night in Charleston. Trailing 2-0 at intermission, severe weather postponed the rest of the contest. The match will be played against in its entirety on Tuesday, Oct. 19.
EIU has checked each column during OVC action thanks to a 1-1 draw with Morehead State on Sept. 26, a 4-1 loss at UT Martin on Sept. 30 and a 2-1 win over Murray State on Oct. 3. The club's narrow nod over Murray featured two first-half scores from Zenaya Barnes that pushed the 5-foot-6 junior's goal total to a team-leading three this season. Barnes' pair of scores were two of only four total Panther shots in the match, as the club was outshot 25-4 in the victory.
Barnes is the squad leader with seven points, while Michaela Danyo paces the Panthers with three assists. Faith Davies has played each and every minute in between the pipes and possesses a 2.01 goals against average and a .747 save percentage. The Lombard, Ill. product has surrendered 23 goals and has picked up 68 saves this season.
Inside the series
The Panthers possess a 19-5-7 advantage in the all-time series, but the Golden Eagles did claim the last meeting behind a 1-0 overtime win in Tech's 2020-21 home opener on Mar. 12, 2021. Gabby Garcia scored four minutes into overtime on a blast from well outside the box that concluded the contest.
Photo by Jim Dillon