COOKEVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Tech soccer team dropped its regular season opening match against East Tennessee State Friday afternoon 2-0, despite matching the Lady Bucs with 13 shots throughout the match.
ETSU midfielder Sarah Zadrazil scored a clutch goal with two seconds left in the first half to take a 1-0 lead into halftime. The Lady Bucs added to their lead in the 68th minute when forward Kristi Davis picked up a touch pass from Zadrazil and sent it flailing into the net.
"It's hard to recover from a goal like that," said head coach Daniel Brizard. "It's a deflating goal and it's hard to remain upbeat when you give up a sloppy goal like that."
TTU senior midfielder Kerri Reid nearly evened the score in the 55th before her shot caught the crossbar. Four minutes later, senior forward Andrea Meloff looked sure to score after beating ETSU goalkeeper Sierra Campbell, but defender Hannah Short pulled off an incredible save by heading the ball away from the goal.
"I think we had some chances in the second half to pull level," added Brizard, "but we couldn't finish our chances. You can't let a team like this escape without finishing your chances. That's what they did today. They capitalized a lot on their opportunities and looked to have less unforced errors than we did."
Tech played a strong first half and looked poised to tie things up in the second half of the match. The ETSU defense, however, had other thoughts in mind. The Lady Bucs' defense knocked the ball out of the zone quickly and often, making it tough for the Golden Eagles to squeeze in some shots-on-goal.
With the win, ETSU improved to 1-0 on the season while Tech fell to 0-1.
Despite the loss, Brizard focused on the future and kept the team focused on its next opponent.
"This is definitely a hurdle for the team," he said. "Last year, I think this would have deflated us morally. But I think this year's team is different. I think they're going to bounce back. We're looking to rebound well against Tennessee-Chattanooga. It's another team I feel we can win against. We just have to finish our chances and not give up the ball. We're looking for another good game."
The Golden Eagles will travel to Chattanooga on Sunday with the match against the Mocs slated for a 12 p.m. CT start. The match-up against the Mocs will mark the start of a three-game road-trip for the Tech soccer team.
"This season's not easy," said Brizard. "It's long, but we'll get through it. I think the girls want it and we deserve some wins, but we have to go out and finish some games first."