By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. –Saturday's match had it all. Two overtimes, heavy rainfall, frigid temperatures, soggy field conditions, and 53 combined shots, yet ultimately a winner was not decided as the Tennessee Tech soccer team played to a 2-2 draw with Eastern Illinois.
The Golden Eagles (2-11-1) produced a season-high 32 shots and 14 shots on-goal in notching the club's first tie of the year in what was a wild back and forth affair that was played a day later due to Friday's rough weather conditions.
Trailing 2-1 18 minutes into the second half, the Golden Eagles broke through to knot up the tilt at 2-2 thanks to a Tarah Piccirilli goal for the sophomore's first score of her collegiate career. Junior Taylor Blazei started the equalizing goal with a shot just outside the box that caromed off the sprawling attempt by EIU (2-10-2) junior goalkeeper Emily Hinton, giving Piccirilli a chance to lock things up after Hinton couldn't hang on to the rebound.
The match-tying score sparked a barrage of TTU opportunities. With 20 minutes left in the affair freshman Karigan Owens ripped one from well outside the box that came within inches of giving the Golden Eagles a late 3-2 lead, but thanks to a leaping save by Hinton Tech was kept off the board. With 13 minutes remaining, senior Kelsey McGohan smacked one from in close, but another diving stop by Hinton kept the match squared away.
Hinton ended the match with 12 saves, while Tech senior goalkeeper Rebecca Toler made five saves over the course of 110 minutes.
In the final moments before the end of regulation, TTU nearly slipped one into the back of the net off of a Taylor Sutton corner with just 1:30 left in the match, but among a whole host of Golden Eagles the chance was upended.
Tech's offense came alive throughout the course of the first half, producing 16 shots, the most that the Golden Eagles have had in a half all year long, and just one off the most they've had in an entire match all season. In addition to the plethora of TTU shots, Tech also lined up seven corners in the first half, applying constant pressure throughout the course of the first 45 minutes.
The Golden Eagles came out of the gates rolling with five shots in the first 10 minutes, including a pair of shots-on-goal, one of which split the pipes to give TTU a 1-0 advantage a mere nine minutes into the tilt.
Junior Taylor Sutton presented Tech with their first opportunity at breaking the scoreless tie after nearly converting on a set piece chance eight minutes into the match, slamming a free kick from 30 yards out that was eventually gobbled up on a diving save by the aforementioned Emily Hinton.
Moments later the Golden Eagles officially broke through with 35:44 left in the first half, scoring on a corner kick after Taylor Blazei ripped one into the box that was drilled into the back of the net by freshman Mary Francis Hoots, the Nashville native's first score of her collegiate career.
With the momentum on its side after tie-breaking goal, Tech's defense stood tall in not allowing a Panther shot for the first 16 minutes. When EIU finally did notch its first shot of the afternoon, it came in a big way as the Panthers provided the equalizer with a Madison Carter goal. The senior from Lawrenceburg, Ky. capitalized off an initial chance by junior Samantha Roumayah after her shot was deflected away by Rebecca Toler and into the waiting grasps of Carter, who buried it to tie up the match at 1-1.
With just over 12 minutes remaining until intermission, EIU's Madison Carter struck again to push the Panthers to a 2-1 lead, scoring off a corner in what was only the Panthers fourth shot of the half and only second on-goal in the first 45 minutes of the match. Carter managed to give the Panthers the slim advantage in the midst of heavy traffic inside the box on the Allie Lakie corner-kick, as the Golden Eagles were unable to find a way to dispose of the Eastern Illinois scoring chance.
The Golden Eagles will now set their sights on their second consecutive home match, welcoming in Belmont on Oct. 17 for a 3 p.m. CT start time.