By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech soccer team will tie a ribbon on its season-long, three-match away swing with a Thursday, Sept. 8 battle at Middle Tennessee State. Kickoff in the latest edition of the in-state rivalry is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT from inside Dean A. Hayes Track & Stadium in Murfreesboro.
A look at Tennessee Tech
With two weeks remaining in non-conference action, Tech's matchup in Murfreesboro will serve as the last road non-conference clash of the regular season. Thursday will conclude a busy road stretch for the Golden Eagles (1-3-2) that featured a 1-1 draw at Chattanooga on Sept. 1 and a 7-0 loss at the University of Tennessee on Sept. 4 in the first two legs of the swing.
Tech's knot with the Mocs saw TTU score late to force the deadlock behind a Meredith Nye goal in the 86th minute that erased a 1-0 deficit. The Jackson, Tenn. product became the fifth different Golden Eagle with a goal this season, joining Allison Lee, Chloe Smith, Bailey Taylor and Katie Toney as Tech players to have clipped the back of the net this year. Smith's two goals, two assists, six points and nine shots all lead the purple and gold. The senior forward is tied for second in the Ohio Valley Conference with six points.
Yao Giada Zhou's three assists, which were all registered in Tech's 4-1 win over Furman on Aug. 25, still sit atop the league leaderboard. Sophomore goalkeeper Maggie Conrad's 26 saves rank fourth in the conference.
Selma Askildsen and Macy Carter have not left the pitch and any point this season, tallying 540 minutes apiece. Emily Carlevato's 526 minutes round out Tech's trio of field players with over 500 minutes of action this year.
TTU's tussle with MTSU is the second of three matches Tech has against a Conference USA foe in 2022. The Golden Eagles played WKU to a 1-1 tie on Aug. 28 and TTU will host UAB on Sunday, Sept. 11.
A look at Middle Tennessee State
The Blue Raiders (2-2-1) host the Golden Eagles in the midst of a current hot stretch that has seen MTSU rattle off a three-match unbeaten streak. After playing Belmont to a 1-1 draw on Aug. 28 in Nashville, the Blue Raiders secured back-to-back home victories behind a 3-0 nod over Mississippi Valley State on Sept. 2 and a 3-1 triumph against Austin Peay on Sept. 4. The win over the Govs marked head coach Aston Rhoden's 200th career victory as MTSU head coach.
Thursday night's tangle with Tech is the third tilt in a season-long, four-match home stand. MTSU will welcome Vanderbilt to town on Sunday in the squad's final non-conference contest of the regular season.
Like the Golden Eagles, five different Blue Raiders have split the pipes this season, with Manon Lebargy and Kirstine Lykke leading the charge with two goals apiece. Hannah Suder has shouldered the bulk of the goalkeeping duties and has allowed seven goals in five matches to go along with 19 saves for a .731 save percentage.
Inside the series
Thursday's get-together will mark the 19th meeting in the all-time series. MTSU holds a 15-3 edge, but Tech bested the Blue Raiders in the last battle with a 3-0 decision on Sept. 9, 2016 in Murfreesboro.
Photo by Jim Dillon