COLUMBIA, Mo. – The Tennessee Tech soccer team went into Columbia Sunday afternoon expecting to be pushed to the limit by the #10 ranked Missouri Tiger offense, and it was. But after a 90-minute barrage of 34 shot attempts by the Tigers, the Golden Eagles walked away allowing only two goals.
The Golden Eagles accomplished what only one other team has been able to all season; hold the Missouri attack to two goals or fewer. UC Santa Barbara, the other to accomplish the feat, also lost 2-0. Arizona State and Memphis gave up four and five goals, respectively, to the Tigers. Even the 15th ranked California Bears couldn't stop Mizzou, allowing three goals in their loss to the Tigers.
"I'm really proud of the girls today," said head coach Daniel Brizard. "It's always tough to lose, but when you're playing a top-10 program, it's great to limit what they can do offensively. I thought we played really well and we played like the team we can be."
The Tech defense was outstanding; saving its best for the toughest team it has faced all season. The defense kept the Tiger attack at bay, allowing just nine shots-on-goal on 34 shot attempts. Three different Golden Eagle defenders (Katie Phillips, Taylor Hicks, and Julie Thompson) logged 90 minutes on the day, showing grit and determination while fending off the Missouri offense.
"I think we showed how far we've already come this season," said Brizard. "We played fantastic defensively. Everyone on the back-line played a great role in today's match. I think this is a good step in the right direction for us."
Freshman goalkeeper Jordan Brown also provided a gutsy performance on the day, making seven saves and playing like a veteran against the toughest offense she has faced in her young career. Brown finished the weekend with 11 saves, the second straight weekend she put up double-digit save numbers.
"Jordan's been steady all year and that's what we want," said Brizard. "She has the confidence of the back-line and she was a huge factor in keeping us in the game today. She proved that she's going to have a great career both as a Golden Eagle and as an OVC [Ohio Valley Conference] goalkeeper."
The strong performance from the team came at a crucial junction in the season as the OVC opener creeps closer.
"Missouri would win the conference if they were in the OVC this year," said Brizard. "But I think if we can bring this same work ethic and mentality to every match, we're going to have a strong season and strong showing in the OVC."
The Golden Eagles have just three non-conference matches remaining before opening OVC play. Tech will get two of those matches out of the way next weekend when it hosts Middle Tennessee on Friday, September 7, and travels to Western Carolina on Sunday, September 9.