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Tech’s final home match of the regular season moved up to a 5 p.m. start time on Thursday

Tech’s final home match of the regular season moved up to a 5 p.m. start time on Thursday

By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Originally slated for a Thursday 7 p.m. meeting with Murray State, the Tennessee Tech soccer team's final home match of the regular season against the Racers has been pushed up to 5 p.m. CT due to the threat of inclement weather later in the evening.

Admission to Tech Soccer Field is free of charge. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN+. Click here to watch. Live stats are also available. Click here to view.

A look at Tennessee Tech

With still much at stake in terms of playoff positioning in the OVC Tournament, the Golden Eagles (4-5-2, 3-2-1) enter their final home affair of the regular year in fourth place in the conference behind 10 points, but sit just two points back of Belmont and SIUE who are tied for second in the league. Murray State is currently one point off the pace of TTU. The top two teams in the league will receive a double-bye straight to the semifinals of the OVC Tournament, while the third and fourth place squads will receive a single bye and hosting rights in the quarterfinals.

Tech has put itself in a position for a single or double bye thanks to a hot Golden Eagle surge since the calendar flipped to the month of October. After an 0-2 start in OVC play, Tech is currently riding a four-match unbeaten streak that has seen the purple and gold collect three wins and a draw over the quartet of contests.

Chloe Smith and Bailey Taylor are the Golden Eagle offensive leaders with two goals apiece. Smith, who captured last week's OVC Offensive Player of the Week award, sits atop the Tech leaderboard with three assists and seven points. The Cincinnati, Ohio product is riding a hot streak of her own that has featured two goals and a pair of assists over her last four tilts. Smith is currently fifth in league with 25 total shots.

Defensively, Tech has allowed one goal or less in nine of 11 matches this season. Isabelle Austin, last week's OVC Goalkeeper of the Week, has surrendered a combined three goals over the last four contests, securing 11 saves over the unblemished stretch.

A look at Murray State

Similar to Tech, the Racers (8-7-0, 3-3-0 OVC) have also rebounded after a sluggish start to conference action. After a 1-2 beginning to OVC play, Murray has fought back with wins in two of the last three affairs. The Racer run began with a 1-0 nod against Morehead State, before the club took down SIUE with a 3-2 triumph on Oct. 14. Murray did drop its last match behind a 2-1 loss at UT Martin on Oct. 17.

The Racers feature the league's most potent offense thanks to an OVC-best 27 goals in 15 matches. Chloe Barnthouse and Lauren Payne are the team leaders with four scores apiece, a mark that places each Racer in a tie for fifth in the league. Morgan Bodker's club-best five assists is tied for first in the conference.

Jenna Villacres has played each and every match in between the pipes for the Racers. The 5-foot-7 junior is third in the OVC with 63 stops and enters Thursday's matchup with a 1.59 goals against average and a .724 save percentage.

Inside the series

Thursday's get-together will mark the 24th meeting in the all-time series. The Racers hold a 13-8-2 edge in the set, which includes a 1-0 victory in last spring's battle in Murray, Ky. on Mar. 23. Tech captured the last Cookeville clash with a 3-0 win on Oct. 11, 2019, which at the time was one the fourth Racer defeat in OVC play over a four-year stretch.

Photo by Jim Dillon

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