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Golden Eagles soar to Little Rock for Sunday’s regular-season finale

Golden Eagles soar to Little Rock for Sunday’s regular-season finale

By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Fresh off winning the program's second-ever OVC regular-season title, the Tennessee Tech soccer team will turn its attention to the regular-season finale Sunday afternoon in Little Rock. The Golden Eagles will travel to the Trojans with a chance to complete the OVC's first undefeated conference slate since 2018, with kickoff at Coleman Sports Complex set for noon CT.

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 (7-4-4, 5-0-2) flock to Arkansas for their first-ever meeting with Little Rock as members of the same conference as the league's only undefeated squad following Thursday's 1-0 win over Morehead State that pushed the purple and gold to the program's first regular-season championship since 1998. Tech's nod also clinched the No. 1 overall seed in the OVC Tournament, a double-bye straight to the semifinals and hosting rights in Cookeville for the semis and championship match.

Scoreless late in the dramatic showdown with the Eagles, Bailey Taylor drilled one into the back of the net in the 74th minute to ultimately send Tech to the title. Taylor's score was her third this season, and second in as many matches, while Allison Lee tabbed her second assist of the season on the go-ahead goal. Lee, who scored in Sunday's 3-0 victory over SEMO for her third net-finder of the season, joins Taylor and Chloe Smith as the trio of Golden Eagles with at least three goals in 2022.

Smith leads the OVC with six scores, and with five assists in her back pocket as well, the Cincinnati, Ohio product paces the conference with 17 points, five more than any other player in the league. Yao Giada Zhou still leads the OVC with six assists.

Defensively, Tech heads into the regular-season finale with an OVC-best two goals allowed in seven conference clashes. The Golden Eagles are coming off their sixth clean sheet in the seven league affairs in Thursday's triumph over Morehead State in a match that saw TTU stifle the Eagles to the tune of just four total shots surrendered, tied for the second-lowest Tech has yielded in a contest this year.

Maggie Conrad picked up three stops against MSU on Thursday en route to her sixth shutout this season and third in a row. In OVC play, the Cedar Rapids, Iowa native sits atop the conference with a 0.29 goals against average.

A look at Little Rock

The Trojans (5-6-4, 2-3-2 OVC) entertain Tech having secured a spot in the OVC Tournament in the club's first season in the league. Currently sitting in sixth place, Little Rock still has an opportunity to jump into fifth place with a victory. The Trojans are coming off back-to-back 1-1 draws behind a deadlock at SIUE on Oct. 9 and a knot against Eastern Illinois on Oct. 16.

Amaya Arias leads the team with four goals this season and is tied with Bronte Peel with a club-best eight points. Peel has scored the lone Little Rock goal in each of the last two matches to jump her total to three net-finders this year. Natalee Geren sits atop the Little Rock leaderboard with four assists to tie for third in the conference.

Peyton Urban and Paige Henry have shared goalkeeping responsibilities this season, with Urban earning the bulk of the duties with 14 matches and over 1,083 minutes under her belt. The 5-foot-7 freshman possesses a 0.75 goals against average and a .824 save percentage.

Inside the series

The Trojans have won all three previous meetings in the set, including a 2-1 victory in the season opener in 2015 in the first-ever night match in Tech Soccer Field history, the last time the pair of squads locked up. Little Rock took home a 1-0 nod in the last meeting between the two in Arkansas on Sept. 14, 2014.

Photo by Jim Dillon

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