By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information Coordinator/Soccer
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The 2014 Tennessee Tech soccer season
is upon us, and the "new look" Golden Eagles are ready to christen
the campaign with a season-opening matchup against in-state foe
East Tennessee State on Sunday at Tech Soccer Field. Kickoff is
slated for 1 p.m. CT.
Admission to Sunday's home opener is free of charge. The match
will also be streamed live on the Ohio Valley Conference Digital
Network via the Golden Eagle Sports Network with Dylan Vazzano
calling all the action for the second consecutive season. CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE.
Sunday will mark the official TTU coaching debut of first-year
head coach Steve Springthorpe, who joined the Golden Eagle ranks
last December after enjoying success as an assistant coach at Duke
and head coach at NC State and Fresno State. Heading into the 2014
opener, Springthorpe's focus remains on improving his squad day-in
and day-out with just a few practices remaining before Sunday.
"I'm assuming when game day comes I'll be pretty excited about
it, but right now it's about our team getting better every day and
we are going to continue to do the best we can to do that," the
first-year head coach claimed. "We are continuing to learn and
practice to the best of our abilities. We are still learning to
play with each other and are using different combinations of
players and formations to help accomplish that. Hopefully we are
putting ourselves in the best position to be successful on
Springthorpe and the rest of the Golden Eagles have already
unofficially kicked off the year with an exhibition tilt on Aug. 14
against Middle Tennessee, a 4-0 Tech loss. Despite the defeat, 19
players saw action and with a TTU club that is made up of 11
freshmen, the experience should pay dividends heading into the
matchup with ETSU.
"The win or loss wasn't a big deal to us, it was more about
evaluating the team to see where we are and how we want to improve,
and ultimately because of that game we are doing some things
differently to prepare for Sunday," Springthorpe said on the
meeting with Middle Tennessee. "After I went back and relaxed
outside of the game setting and looked at film, I thought we were
doing some things that we wanted to do in terms of the type of
soccer that we wanted to play."
Senior forward Amanda Koch led
the Golden Eagles with two shot attempts against the Blue Raiders,
looking sharp after missing the majority of the 2013 season with a
knee injury. A pair of freshmen, Karigan Owens
Brewer, each notched a shot as well, two of the 11 Golden Eagle
rookies that are expected to see a number of minutes for Tech in
"With 23 players on our roster, literally half of them have no
collegiate experience whatsoever," Springthorpe noted. "These
younger players are going to have to play a lot for us with the
roster that we have. Some of them are going to be expected to play
quality minutes and some of them will start, too."
TTU wrapped up last season with a 3-15-1 record, going 1-8-1 in
the Ohio Valley Conference while the Buccaneers posted a 7-9-2
overall mark, finishing 3-5-1 in the Atlantic Sun. The two teams
locked up in Johnson City last year with the Golden Eagles claiming
a 1-0 victory behind a third-minute score and lights out
This year East Tennessee State has moved to the Southern
Conference, taking last year's A-Sun Player of the Year, Sarah
Zadrazil, with them. The St. Gilgen, Austria native topped last
season's Bucs with eight goals and 11 assists, running her career
assist total to 21 goals, second-most on ETSU's all-time list.
The Buccaneers will open up their season on Friday, hosting
Radford University under the lights at 7 p.m. EST.
Admission to all Golden Eagle home regular season games is