SKYHAWK SOCCER PICKED SECOND IN QUEST FOR THIRD CONSECUTIVE OVC CROWN
August 6, 2014
BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin soccer team has been picked to finish second in the quest for the 2014 Ohio Valley Conference women’s soccer title as voted on by the league’s head coaches and sports information directors. The Skyhawks, who won their second consecutive OVC regular-season title last year, received eight first-place votes and 187 points.
Morehead State was picked to win the OVC after tabbing 12 of the 22 first-place votes and 192 points while SIUE took the remaining two first-place votes for 151 points to be selected to finish third. Southeast Missouri earned 150 points to be picked to finish fourth while Austin Peay received 114 points to round out the top five. Eastern Illinois (101), Belmont (96), Eastern Kentucky (84), Murray State (62), Jacksonville State (48) and Tennessee Tech (25) complete the poll.
UT Martin is coming off its third OVC regular-season crown after going 11-9-1 overall and 8-2 in league play. Phil McNamara will enter his fifth year as the head coach of the Skyhawks and will have nine starters among 13 letterwinners returning from last year’s championship squad to mesh with a talented incoming class of six newcomers. Among the top returnees is senior goalkeeper Mariah Klenke. The Highland, Ill., native ranked first in the league with a .833 saves percentage and seven shutouts. She made 90 saves over 20 games while posting a 0.96 goals-against average to rank third in the OVC. Senior forward Alyssa Curtis and sophomore forward Ellie Myrick will also be back in 2014. Curtis recorded 46 shots to rank 10th in the OVC last year while recording four goals to rank second on the squad. Myrick led the Skyhawks with three assists and finished the 2013 season second on the team with three goals and nine points.
Morehead State finished 2013 with a 7-3 overall mark and a 10-11-1 overall record while winning its third OVC Tournament title. Warren Lipka enters his fifth season at the helm of the Eagles after earning his third OVC Coach of the Year honor last year. He will have the reigning OVC Player of the Year returning in senior forward Jade Flory. The Chambersburg, Pa., native was second in the league in goals (14) and points (33) while ranking first with five game-winning scores. She was also third with five assists last season. Sophomore forward Angela Black, who was named the 2013 OVC Freshman of the Year, will also be back this season. She was second on the team with six goals, four assists and 16 points. Senior forward Macy Cobb will also be returning after recording five goals, one assist and 11 points in 2013.
SIUE is picked to finish third after placing fourth last year with a 13-5-3 overall mark and a 6-3-1 OVC record. Derek Burton enters his seventh season at the helm of SIUE and will have one of the league’s top goalkeepers back in net this season in Jennifer Pelley. The junior from St. Charles, Mo., led the OVC with seven shutouts and a 0.73 goals-against average. She was also second with a .822 saves percentage and made 74 saves over 21 games last year. Also coming back this year is sophomore forward Kayla Delgado and junior midfielder Cassidy Sherman. Delgado finished 2013 third in the league with nine goals and fourth with 68 shots. Sherman recorded five goals, one assist and 11 points last season.
The 2014 season gets underway on Aug. 22 with conference play beginning Sept. 26. The 2014 OVC Soccer Championship will be held on the campus of the highest seed on Nov. 6-9.
2014 OVC WOMEN’S SOCCER PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
(As selected by the OVC Women’s Head Soccer Coaches and Sports Information Directors)
1. Morehead State (12 first-place votes) - 192
2. UT Martin (Eight first-place votes) - 187
3. SIUE (Two first-place votes) - 151
4. Southeast Missouri - 150
5. Austin Peay - 114
6. Eastern Illinois - 101
7. Belmont - 96
8. Eastern Kentucky - 84
9. Murray State - 82
10. Jacksonville State - 48
11. Tennessee Tech - 25