SKYHAWKS SHOW PROMISE DESPITE FALLING 1-0 TO WESTERN KENTUCKY IN EXHIBITION
August 15, 2014
MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin women’s soccer squad proved to be aggressive on the offensive side of the ball, outshooting Western Kentucky 18-9 while placing nine shots on goal despite dropping the team’s lone exhibition match of the preseason 1-0 at Skyhawk Field.
Before taking to Skyhawk Field a week from tonight on Aug. 22 to play host to Atlantic-10 Conference power Saint Louis in the season opener, the Skyhawks played host to familiar preseason foe Western Kentucky for the third consecutive season for a friendly exhibition. UT Martin would have 16 players see action with only three Skyhawks playing the full 90 minute friendly.
The Skyhawks saw a mixed cast of returners and newcomers in the starting lineup. Eight returners, including six seniors, earned starting nods for the Skyhawks while three players saw their first action in a Skyhawk uniform, earning their first career starts.
UT Martin would outshoot Western Kentucky 18-9, but the visiting Lady Toppers would push across the deciding goal in the game’s 38th minute to win their second straight exhibition contest against the Skyhawks.
A total of nine UT Martin players attempted at least one shot on the evening, led by three shots each by Dominika Conc, Alyssa Curtis and Rianna Jarrett. The Skyhawks would put nine shots on goal, but could not find the game’s equalizer in the contest’s final 52 minutes.
Senior goalkeeper Mariah Klenke tallied six saves on the evening, logging all 90 minutes in goal.
“It’s always disappointing to lose, especially at home but I think we can take a lot of positives from this evening’s game,” said UT Martin soccer coach Phil McNamara. I thought we had a lot of position and good build ups, including a lot of good opportunities as the shot count indicates. Unfortunately the scoreboard did not. I was really impressed with the way the girls worked tonight. We are very happy with what we did with the ball. The finishing will come.”
“I think we are going to be a much bigger threat this year, going forward,” said McNamara. “I think that is what cost us last year at the end of the year we did not have the attacking presence to make an NCAA Tournament appearance. I feel like this year we could have that if we develop as individuals and as a team.”
Western Kentucky tallied just nine shot attempts on the evening, led by Iris Dunn who registered three attempts on goal. Goalkeeper Allison Leone preserved a clean slate after holding the Skyhawks scoreless through 90 minutes of play, tallying nine saves on the evening.
The Skyhawks would nearly break the scoreless tie early in the match as Curtis found a clearing in the box in the 17th minute. After a nice touch found a streaking Curtis right inside the box, she quickly turned to rifle a shot from 14 yards out which would deflect off the right post to keep the match scoreless.
The Lady Toppers would break the previously scoreless tie in the 38th minute. Bria Mosley would find a streaking Haley Baldridge with a cross from the right side for a five yard strike from the middle of the box to break the stalemate.
The Skyhawks would make their final push in the final minutes of the game, placing a pair of shots on goal in the 89th minute by Curtis and Myrick but WKU goalkeeper Leone would notch two of her nine saves on the evening to end the threat and seal the victory.
UT Martin will now shift their focus to the final week of the preseason before opening the regular season on Friday, Aug. 22 against Saint Louis. Action from Skyhawk Field is slated to get underway at 7 p.m.