By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - Despite racing out to a scorching start, the Tennessee Tech soccer team was unable to seal the deal in its home opening affair, falling 2-1 to the University of Evansville amongst a packed house at Tech Soccer Field.
After being blanked in their first match a mere two days ago, the Golden Eagles (0-2-0) wasted no time in jumping on the scoreboard, using an Ellie Iaciofano goal just 48 seconds into the tilt to take the early one-score advantage. The talented senior forward from Loveland, Ohio dribbled up the right side before letting loose on one just outside the box that snuck past Evansville's Simone Busby for the match's opening goal. Junior Katie Phillips would be credited with the Golden Eagles' first assist of the season.
Even with the impressive offensive beginning, Tech was forced to shift its attention toward the defensive side of things. The Purple Aces (1-1-0) responded to the early score with an onslaught that included ten shots on goal in the tilt's first half.
In the 37th minute, Evansville finally converted on one of its chances, as freshman Emily Griebel picked up a loose ball and transitioned it into a blast off the hands of Golden Eagle sophomore goalkeeper Jordan Brown for the deadlocking score.
Things stayed knotted up at 1-1 into intermission, before the Purple Aces struck first in the early stages of the second stanza. In the 49th minute senior Stephanie Thompson took a feed among traffic from sophomore Abby Springer, prior to smacking one off the aforementioned Brown's fingertips for the go-ahead goal.
Down 2-1, Tech was unable to muster many chances at the knotting score, earning just one shot in the second half. It did appear as if the Golden Eagles finally broke through with just under 30 minutes remaining in the affair, as Iaciofano knocked one into the back of the net from a brilliant ball from redshirt senior Leigh Heffner, but the equalizing score was taken off the board because of an offsides call.
Ultimately, Tech couldn't get anything going offensively because it was forced to focus on its defense for most of the match. The Golden Eagles were outshot 27-5, including 15-1 in the shots-on-goal department, and 15-0 after the Iaciofano score.
"We scored the first goal early and then decided we wanted to defend for the rest of the half and you just can't do that," remarked fourth year head coach Daniel Brizard. "You can't defend for a whole match and expect to not concede at least one goal, if not two or three."
Brown showed off her impressive defensive prowess with 13 saves, one away from her career-high of 14 in a 1-0 home victory over SIUE on September 28th of last year. The Purple Aces Simone Busby ended the match relatively untested, as the sophomore from Chattanooga, Tenn. did not record a save in the affair.
"Evansville knew their roles and they did what they were supposed to do," said Brizard, shedding some light on the defeat moments after the match. "They did their job better than us and that's really all there is to it."
The Golden Eagles will try to dust themselves off as they prepare for their next match, at home on Friday, Aug. 30 at 4:00 p.m. CDT against Alabama State.