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Tech soccer hosts SIUE in matchup of OVC unbeatens Thursday night

Tech soccer hosts SIUE in matchup of OVC unbeatens Thursday night

By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – A battle pitting two of the OVC's three unbeatens takes center stage Thursday evening in Cookeville, as the Tennessee Tech soccer team will host SIUE in a big-time bout at Tech Soccer Field. Kickoff between the two unblemished in league play squads is set for 7 p.m. CT.

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

A look at Tennessee Tech

The Golden Eagles (4-4-4, 2-0-2 OVC) join SIUE and Morehead State as the trio of teams without a loss in conference play after the purple and gold secured its second-consecutive draw during the club's last tilt on Sunday. Trailing 2-1 with less than five minutes left at UT Martin, Chloe Smith struck the back of the net in the 88th minute for her team-best fifth score of 2022 that ultimately pushed the Golden Eagles to a 2-2 deadlock.

Smith's five goals tie the senior forward for the most in the OVC, while her 13 points thanks to three assists as well, place Smith in sole possession of first place in the league in points. Individually, Yao Giada Zhou puts a Tech name at the top of another offensive list behind her conference-best six assists, three more than any other player in the OVC.

As a team, the Golden Eagles lead the league in goals with 16, assists with 14 and points with 46. Meredith Nye, who split the pipes in Tech's Sunday knot in Martin, joins Chloe Smith and Allison Lee as TTU's trio with more than one score this season. Nye and Lee have each found the back of the net twice.

Defensively, the Golden Eagles became the last team in the OVC to surrender a score in conference play after the Skyhawks split the pipes a pair of times on Sunday. Tech had entered the affair with three consecutive clean sheets to start its league ledger, all of which went on the tab of sophomore keeper Maggie Conrad, the Cedar Rapids, Iowa product's first three shutouts of her career.

A look at SIUE

The two-time defending OVC Tournament champions, the Cougars (4-4-3, 3-0-1 OVC) come to Cookeville in deadlock with Morehead State for first place in the OVC with identical conference marks. SIUE is fresh off a scoreless draw with Southern Indiana on Sunday for the squad's third shutout in four league affairs. The Cougars have also claimed a 1-0 nod over EIU on Sept. 25, a 2-0 triumph at SEMO on Sept. 18 and a 2-1 victory at Lindenwood on Sept. 22 for the club's other conference clashes.

Junior Taylor Spiller has appeared in each and every minute in-net this season for the OVC's Preseason No. 1 squad and has allowed 16 goals to go along with 50 saves for a 1.45 goals against average and a .758 save percentage. The Cincinnati, Ohio native has turned it on during league play to the tune of just one goal allowed and three blankings in the quartet of contests.

Offensively, Lily Schnieders leads the Cougars goal-scoring charge with three-net finders this season, which includes the game-winning strike in SIUE's last nod that saw the Fenton, Mo. product power one home in the third minute of an eventual 1-0 victory over EIU on Sept. 25.

Inside the series

Thursday's duel will mark the 13th meeting in the all-time series, a set that has seen that two clubs go 5-5-2 against one another. This year's edition will mark the third-straight get-together in Cookeville, with SIUE capturing each of the last two matchups. The Cougars bested the purple and gold behind a 4-3, overtime triumph on Sept. 26, 2021 to go along with a 1-0 win on Mar. 30, 2021.

Photo by Jim Dillon

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