Tech begins stretch run with trip to Jacksonville State

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. —  With just five matches remaining on Tennessee Tech's 2011-12 slate, scrapping their way into the top six of the Ohio Valley Conference standings is the goal for the Golden Eagles on the homestretch.

With qualifying for the six-team OVC Tournament field and having a chance to play for at title the ultimate goal, Tech is beginning to feel a sense of urgency as it prepares to take on Jacksonville State at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7 in Jacksonville, Ala.

"We're still focused, and our goals are to make the conference tournament, win the conference tournament and make it to the NCAAs," said head coach Daniel Brizard. "We're trying to get better every game. I think if we can win three of the five we have left, we're going to be in position to make the tournament based on points, depending on how the rest of the conference shakes out."

The Golden Eagles find themselves in such a position after two home matches this past weekend in which Tech played some of its best soccer of the season, but came out on the losing end of a 2-1 decision to Eastern Kentucky and a 1-0 result against Morehead State.

"I think we played three good halves, two against Eastern Kentucky, and the first against Morehead," Brizard said. "I think we're starting to find our style, and it's pass-and-move, put-it-on-the-floor, looking for seams and diagonal runs. I think we did a good job of those things, but in the end, we just weren't able to finish."

CLIMBING THE LIST

Junior forward Andrea Meloff moved into fifth place on Tennessee Tech's all-time leading goal-scorers list, netting her 15th career goal when she chipped a shot over the keeper and into the back of the net in Friday's game against Eastern Kentucky.

The goal was Meloff's second of the season and brought her into a tie with Kristin Stegeman (2000-01) and Jocelyn Daniel (2003-06). She is just two goals away from fourth place and three away from third. Here is the top five list:

1.     Jill Burns, 40 goals (2002-05)
2.     Angela Freund, 24 (1998-01)
3.     Joni Simmons, 18 (2003-05)
4.     Robyn Vince, 17 (2001-02)
5.     Kristin Stegeman, 15 (2000-01)
        Jocelyn Daniel, 15 (2003-06)
        Andrea Meloff, 15 (2009-11)

IRONWOMEN

Sophomore goalkeeper Becca Toler ranks fifth in NCAA Division I in goalkeeper minutes played through games played Oct. 2. Toler has played all 1,288 minutes of soccer for the Golden Eagles this season, as has senior defender Lindsey Reed.

Toler also ranks 28th in Division I in saves with 69 to her name.

GET YOUR PINK READY

Help the Golden Eagles paint Tech Soccer Field pink for the Friday, Oct. 14 game against Murray State, which has been designated the squad's "Pink Out" game in conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The team will toss out pink T-shirts to the crowd prior to the game and don pink wristbands during the action.

Donations to the Susan B. Komen For the Cure foundation will be accepted at the gate.

SCOUTING JACKSONVILLE STATE

Jacksonville State comes into Friday's game with a 2-10-2 overall record and a 1-1-2 mark in the OVC. The Gamecocks are coming off back-to-back ties against Morehead State (0-0) and Eastern Kentucky (1-1) last weekend in Jacksonville.

JSU's conference victory came against SIU Edwardsville in a 1-0 decision on Sept. 23.

Tech is 2-4-3 all-time against Jacksonville State and defeated the Gamecocks 3-1 in Cookeville on Oct. 22, 2010. Brooke Mayo, Andrea Meloff and Ashley Smith provided goals in that game, while Kerri Reid, Jen Hoffman, Meloff and Smith were credited with assists.

JSU is scoring 0.50 goals per game while surrendering 1.43 per contest. The Golden Eagles, on the other hand, are scoring 1.00 goals per outing and giving up 1.71.

The Gamecocks are led offensively by Nathalee Lariviere, who has notched two goals and one assist on the season and leads the team with five points. Courtney Hurt and Chelsea Pelletier each have a goal and an assist to their names.