By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee Tech soccer team marches through the middle portion of an early four-match road swing, as the Golden Eagles prepare to travel to the University of Findlay on Friday and Ball State University on Sunday.
Having dropped the first of four straight on the road this past Sunday, a late 1-0 loss at Northern Kentucky, Tech continues its search for that first win of the 2013 campaign. Although the Golden Eagles have started the year 0-4, it's important to note that all four losses have been by just one goal.
"It's frustrating because we are a better team than our record indicates," fourth year head coach Daniel Brizard said on the season's early stages. "We are playing well, we do have lapses, but any team will have a lapse every now and then. Our scores are indicative of us being in games. If we just keep doing what we are doing then we will be successful and get over the hump."
Sunday's 1-0 defeat at Northern Kentucky can help sum up Brizard's previous sentiment. Deadlocked 0-0 in the 84th minute, Norse senior Allison Ponzer smacked one into the back of the net to push TTU to another tough-luck loss.
On Friday, it was a similar situation in a home match with Alabama State. The Golden Eagles were unable to secure a 2-1 second half lead, eventually falling 3-2 in double overtime.
"That really is the frustrating part, we know we are close," Brizard remarked. "We had plenty of opportunities on Sunday, but just couldn't capitalize. On Friday it was the same kind of thing, we had plenty of opportunities."
Despite the early rough patch, TTU continues to receive outstanding play from its sophomore goalkeeper Jordan Brown. On Sunday, the League City, Texas native recorded double-digit saves for the second time in four matches, giving Brown an Ohio Valley Conference leading 37 stops to begin the year.
"Jordan Brown has definitely kept us in games," Brizard said on the play of his talented sophomore keeper. "She has been stellar and continues to rack up saves. We feel comfortable with her in goal, sometimes maybe even too comfortable because we know she is going to pull out a save. Hopefully she can keep her form and be on this weekend."
Tech will open its pair of weekend tilts with a trip to the University of Findlay on Friday at 3 p.m. CDT. The match will mark the first of the 2013 season for the Oilers after finishing 8-9-1 under then first-year head coach Crystal Dye. The meeting will be the first in the history of the Tech soccer program.
Sunday's matchup with Ball State will also be the first-ever meeting between the two schools, but there is some familiarity with Cardinals' head coach Craig Roberts and TTU. Roberts was at the helm of Tech's OVC rival UT Martin from 2006-09, amassing a 34-27-12 overall record during his tenure, highlighted by a pair of second place conference finishes in 2008 and 2009. Ball State enters Sunday's affair 2-1-0 with both wins coming at home. Action is slated to begin at 12 p.m.