By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Tuesday turned into an award-driven afternoon for the Tennessee Tech soccer team, as a pair of Golden Eagles were honored by the Ohio Valley Conference.
Senior Kari Naerdemann was selected as the OVC's Goalkeeper of the Week, while junior Kaitie Shipley was chosen as the conference's Defensive Player of the Week. Both accolades were voted on by the league's sports information soccer contacts and it marks the first time that two Tech players received a weekly award on the same day in over two years. Both Naerdemann (OVC Goalkeeper of the Week) and former Golden Eagle Karigan Owens (OVC Defensive Player of the Week) took home their respective weekly achievements on Sept. 13, 2016.
Tech has now claimed three weekly conference honors this season. After recording a hat trick in a win over Purdue Fort Wayne, sophomore Kendall Powell secured the OVC Offensive Player of the Week award on Sept. 4.
Naerdemann was lights out in TTU's most recent week of action, accounting for 17 saves in two shutouts for the purple and gold. The Herne, Germany native started the stretch with a season-best 10 stops as part of a 2-0 blanking of Belmont on Oct. 2, marking just the third time in her career in which Naerdemann has registered double-digit halts.
The 5-foot-9 senior carried the momentum into another clean sheet over SEMO on Oct. 5 thanks to a seven-save showing in a scoreless deadlock with the Redhawks. Among the highlights, Naerdemann kept the contest knotted with a denial less than a minute into overtime that saw the three-time OVC Defensive Player of the Year climb the ladder and punch a potential game-winning drive over the crossbar.
Kaitie Shipley secured her first weekly honor in her Tech tenure after not leaving the pitch at any point in the two matches against Belmont and Southeast Missouri. In fact, the 5-foot-5 junior out of Barrie, Ont., Canada is one of just two Golden Eagles to play in each and every minute this season, joining fellow junior Rachel Blow with 1,193 minutes of action.
In total, Shipley appeared in 200 minutes in the two matches with the Bruins and Redhawks, serving as a key cog in Tech's back line. TTU's pair of shutouts gave the Golden Eagles five clean sheets this season.
Shipley, Naerdemann and the rest of the purple and gold are gearing up for the final two road matches of the regular season over the weekend. Tech will be at Morehead State Friday, Oct. 12 for a 5 p.m. CT get-together with the Eagles before tangling with Eastern Kentucky on Sunday, Oct. 14 for a 12 p.m. contest with the Colonels.
Photo by Thomas Corhern