August 22, 2014

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MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin women’s soccer team got the season off on the right foot on Friday evening, as the Skyhawks received three goals from a pair of newcomers, led by the play of junior Rianna Jarrett who tallied two goals on the evening including a late goal in overtime to seal the 3-2 victory at Skyhawk Field.

The Skyhawks (1-0) won their regular season opener for the first time since 2011 after notching the golden goal in the 95th minute of the match. With the overtime victory, the Skyhawks have held their opponents scoreless in eight consecutive overtime periods dating back to last season. The Skyhawks used a pair of goals from Jarrett in the 17th and 95th minute, along with a Jarrett putback goal by freshman Olivia Bohlman in the 42nd minute to round out the offensive front.

Jarrett led all players with eight shot attempts, including five shots placed on goal in 88 minutes of action. Senior Alyssa Curtis tallied four shot attempts while Saphyra Coombs-James, Bohlman and Ellie Myrick each tallied a pair of attempts on the night.

Senior goalkeeper Mariah Klenke (1-0) played all 95 minutes for the Skyhawks, tallying eight saves on the evening. She allowed just two goals on 20 shot attempts by the Billikens.

“It was one of those really crazy games,” said UT Martin head coach Phil McNamara. “We lost two starters really early and unfortunately we were not qualified enough to overcome that. It was a fantastic win, and I give the girls a lot of credit for finding the character and work rate to come from behind. It’s an amazing win against a very good opponent, against a big school, from a large city. We will take the positives from it tonight.”

“I was slowly able to get into the groove of the game and was lucky enough to get the two goals, could have had a third but thankfully Olivia was there to knock it in,” said Jarrett. “I feel that I am gradually getting into the gameplay. I’ve only been here a couple weeks with this being my second game – including the exhibition – and I feel like I am slowly getting back to being the type of player I was back home and getting a feel for the tempo of the American game.”

Saint Louis (0-1) battled the Skyhawks tough, scoring their first goal of the evening just over one minute into the game by Kirsten Clemens. After giving up a pair of unanswered goals to the Skyhawks, the Billikens would strike again in the 85th minute to find the equalizer off the foot of Lindsay Elking. Goalkeeper Hanna Benben played the entirety of the game, notching seven saves despite allowing three goals.

The match got off to a rough start for the Skyhawks as just over a minute into the match, starting defenseman Kaci Mitchell went down with an injury, allowing the Billikens a slight advantage which would be punctuated by Clemens with a goal at the 1:16 mark of the first.

Just two minutes later, starting midfielder Deborah Schaudt suffered an injury which would end her night, leaving the Skyhawks down two freshman starters just four minutes into the game.

The Skyhawks would respond in the 17th minute as they fired three shot attempts on goal against the Billikens before finding the needed equalizer at the 16:19 mark. Curtis got the action started with a clear shot which ricocheted off the cross bar and into the path of Myrick for a shot attempt of her own. Benben would tally the save off Myrick’s shot, but Jarrett would find the rebound off the save and fire a missile of her own into the back of the net for her first career goal.

Both teams would jockey for field possession in the closing minutes of the first half before the Skyhawks would strike yet again at the 41:02 mark. Jarrett dribbled into the box, and fired a shot at goal before Benben got just enough of a deflection to push the ball away. With the ball teetering on edge of the goal, Bohlman – a fellow newcomer – got the final touch to score her first career goal and give the Skyhawks the 2-1 advantage right before the half.

The Billikens would come out as the aggressors in the second half, outshooting the Skyhawks 10 to 5 in the second period. Their aggression would pay off in the 85th minute as Elking sailed a deep lob from the right side of the pitch, over Klenke’s outstretched arms for the game’s equalizer.

With the matched knotted at two as regulation came to a close, the Skyhawks and Billikens would head to sudden-death overtime.  As the 10 minute overtime period got underway, the Billikens controlled much of the tempo, firing three shot attempts in just a matter of minutes. Their momentum would be short-lived however as Jarrett tallied her second goal of the evening, and first game-winner, with a five yard strike to lift the Skyhawks to a 3-2 victory in the regular season opener.

UT Martin will have to wait to return to action after the Sunday, Aug. 24 scheduled non-conference matchup between Southeast Missouri has been postponed indefinitely due to excessive heat expected over the weekend. The Skyhawks will be back at Skyhawk Field on Sunday, Aug. 31 when they play Indiana State at 1 p.m.

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