By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech soccer team prepares themselves for a lighter week of action, as the Golden Eagles (3-10-0, 1-3-0) take aim at Jacksonville State on Sunday, Oct. 13 for the team’s only match of the weekend. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. CDT in Jacksonville, Ala.
“It’s kind of nice to only play one this week,” fourth-year head coach Daniel Brizard said in preparation for Sunday’s duel. “One game is good for us, our team just has to have the proper mindset. We took the first two days off this week and are going to train all the way up to Saturday, instead of taking a mid-week day off. Hopefully that can help us right the ship.”
TTU enters the matchup in a bit of a slide after dropping three consecutive Ohio Valley Conference affairs. The Golden Eagles began OVC play with a determined 1-0 road victory against one of the better teams in the conference in SIU Edwardsville on Sep. 27, but since then Tech has been outscored 12-2 in its trio of defeats, including 8-0 this past weekend in home losses to Austin Peay and Murray State.
“I mean we are just going to have to find a way to turn the page and get past last weekend,” Brizard said when asked about moving forward. “It’s not really a matter of wanting to, it’s a matter of having to. It’s in the past.”
Jacksonville State comes into the tilt scuffling in their own right after coming out of the OVC gates to the tune of an 0-4-0 record. The Gamecocks put together a solid non-conference mark, going 4-4-1, but since the start of conference, JSU has managed just two goals in four matches.
Before Jacksonville State plays host to Tech, the Gamecocks will make a trip to 1-2-1 Belmont Friday evening in Nashville.
TTU is on the short end of a 3-6-3 all-time series record with JSU, including last year’s 2-1 home loss on Sep. 23. Senior Ellie Iaciofano was responsible for Tech’s lone goal in last season’s meeting, scoring in the 71st minute with the Golden Eagles already down 2-0.
This year, Iaciofano currently leads the team with three goals and four assists. The four assists puts the Loveland, Ohio native in a tie for second in the OVC, while her ten points is good enough for seventh in the conference.
As far as Jacksonville State is concerned, its offensive attack starts and ends with junior Jackie Rush. The 5-6 midfielder from Trophy Club, Texas has a team-leading five goals, a mark that puts her in a tie for fifth in the OVC. Rush won’t hesitate to fire away either, leading the conference in shots with 58 and shots per match with 4.46.
Sunday’s match will officially make it halfway through the OVC slate in the ten-tilt campaign. For Brizard, the opportunity to finish strong in the second half of the conference year is still out there for his team.
“The OVC is kind of wide open this year, we still have a chance to do some things in conference,” Brizard claimed. “Our mindset and heart will be a big factor for us. We are only four games in, there are still six left so anything can still happen.”