By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – An equalizing score in the final 10 minutes of the second half pushed the Tennessee Tech soccer team to a 1-1 draw against WKU Sunday evening at Tech Soccer Field for the purple and gold's first deadlock of 2022.
Trailing 1-0 in the stanza's waning moments, Katie Toney provided the Golden Eagles with a fair share of dramatics, as the freshman forward found a way to split the pipes for her first career goal, squaring the score in the 81st minute to help lead Tech (1-2-1) to an unblemished homestand. Toney sped down the far side of the pitch, turned the corner past a WKU defender and navigated her way into the box with a chance to knot the match.
Lyric Schmidt converged on Toney, but in her attempt to clear, the Golden Eagle freshman batted back the try and into back of the net for TTU's first goal of the tilt.
"That's just Katie, she's a 100%, get after it kind of a player," Golden Eagle head coach Steve Springthorpe said. "I mean she battled for that goal. Once she turned the corner, she has an opportunity and just ran through things to find a way to capitalize. I'm excited for her to get that goal in that sort of situation.
"We came out in the second half with some urgency and made it a real emphasis to put some more pressure on them," Springthorpe continued. "Our team battled and battled hard tonight against a good WKU team. We aren't excited that we didn't win, but to come back like that and at least get a draw out it was certainly good for us."
Toney, who nearly opened the scoring but was denied by a diving Alexis Bach just three minutes into the match, was responsible for two of Tech's four shots on-goal. Bailey Taylor's three attempts tied for tops in the match, while Chloe Smith rounded out the trio of Golden Eagles with more than one shot behind two tries.
WKU (1-2-1) jumped on the board in the 27th minute thanks to a Lily Rummo unassisted goal, the Franklin, Tenn. product's first of the season. A Briana Sayoc corner ricocheted off the Golden Eagle defense and into the waiting shoe tops of Rummo toward the back of the box, who then peppered one home to put the Lady Toppers ahead.
"I liked our work ethic tonight," Springthorpe noted. "In the early part of the game, like the first 10 or 15 minutes we played pretty well. WKU is the kind of team that puts a lot of pressure on you and they have some great athletes. I thought we struggled for a decent part of that first half, but we stayed organized and limited their chances, which is what you have to do sometimes when things are necessarily working for you. But we were scrappy, remained organized and I thought we did a great job of defending hard with numbers and gave a lot of effort while we did that."
Maggie Conrad secured four stops in-net, while Bach registered three saves. WKU outshot the Golden Eagles 18-8, with Katie Erwin and Lyric Schmidt tying Taylor for the most attempts behind three shots apiece.
With an unbeaten home stand that included a 4-1 win over Furman Thursday night now in the books, Tech will set its sights on the largest road swing of the regular season with three straight away from Cookeville. The Golden Eagles will remain in the Volunteer State for all three affairs, starting with a Thursday, Sept. 1 clash at Chattanooga. Kickoff in the Scenic City is scheduled for 5 p.m. CT.
"Going forward there is still a lot of work to do," Springthorpe said. "I think we found out some things about ourselves that we needed to as far as our playing style and what we need to do during certain situations in the game. To come out with a win and a tie on this homestand kind of shows us where we can be, but at the same time there's still a lot of work to be done going into the next couple of games."
Photo by Jim Dillon