Tech soccer responds with two quick goals to down JSU

Tech soccer responds with two quick goals to down JSU

By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – A one-goal deficit in the Ohio Valley Conference opener to Jacksonville State?
No problem.
The Golden Eagles used corner kicks to break down the Gamecock defense to score back-to-back goals early in the second half, then turned up the defense to hold off JSU to take a 2-1 victory on Friday afternoon at the Tech Soccer Field.
The win puts Tech in atop the conference standings after the first games of the league slate.
"It feels great to get that first win and be standing on top at 1-0," said Tech head coach Steve Springthorpe. "Jacksonville's a good, solid team and they played well (Friday). At times, we played pretty well. But to get that first W on the very first game, it lifts a lot of pressure off of you. You feel good about it, but we'll feel good for maybe 24 hours, then Belmont comes in here and they're a good side. We'll have to have a lot of energy to play that game as well."
Tech (5-4-1, 1-0 OVC) and Jacksonville State were knotted up in a scoreless tie through the first half, and neither team really created many offensive opportunities.
"It was just very even," said Springthorpe. "It was just two teams that came out for their first conference match, so there was a lot of energy. But I think we did a great job defending and we had a better second half."
Jacksonville State (3-6-1, 0-1 OVC) got on the scoreboard first as Cheyenne Carden blasted a shot to the upper left corner of the goal, just over the reach of Tech keeper Kari Naerdemann at 56:25.
But only four minutes ticked off the clock before the Golden Eagles knotted the game again as Karigan Owens scored her third goal of the season, bending the corner kick past JSU's Caroline Robinson.
Nearly two-and-a-half minutes later, Tech was on the board again as Owens delivered the free kick into the box and Kalyn Pruett was there to head the ball into the goal to give the Golden Eagles a 2-1 advantage.
"Ultimately, the goal they scored was a cracker," Springthorpe said. "It was probably about 28 yards out and she whipped it, but I was happy with our team's response. We came back to score on a corner kick. We had a set piece where Karigan bent one in and we're pretty good at that. She responded and we responded within five or six minutes, then we got another set piece goal right after that.
"We're really good at set piece goals, and we really took advantage of it (Friday)."

Responding to scores – that seems to be Tech's forte.

"We've had some ups-and-downs," Springthorpe said, "but we have been able to respond. Against ETSU, we were down a goal, and it was the same thing (Friday). We were down a goal and we responded. That's a quality you want your team to have. You don't give up. You continue to fight. We had that fighter's mentality in the final 20, 25 minutes."

Then Tech played defense by maintaining offensive possession, keeping the ball away from the Gamecocks in the waning moments.

"Some of it is definitely defending your half," Springthorpe said, "but we tried to transition forward and keep the ball a little higher up the field. It worked for us. You get a lead and you fall back into a shell and try to defend and defend and don't allow them over the top. Our team responded pretty well with that."

The Golden Eagles return to action on Sunday as they host Belmont in another OVC tilt. First touch is set for 7 p.m.

 "We've watched a lot of film on them," Springthorpe said, "We've watched them play a number of time. They're in a different place than they were last year. They're a little bit more of a possession-oriented team and they have some skill and pace. They will always press. They're known for pressing and being aggressive. It's probably going to be a very similar game to (Friday's). Both teams will be scrapping and trying to win that second game."