August 27, 2014

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– The University of Tennessee at Martin women’s soccer team scored early and often on Wednesday night as they hosted Bethel University in their second match of the season, scoring six goals on the night while dishing out a five assists en route to a decisive 6-0 victory at Skyhawk Field.

The Skyhawks (2-0) saw big contributions from a variety of players, but no one came up bigger on the night than senior forward Ashlie Watson. Watson set new career highs in both goals and assists with two apiece to give the senior six points on the night, the highest individual output since 2012.

Watson was joined in the scoring column by former Ohio Valley Conference Freshman of the Year Saphyra Coombs-James who tallied two goals on a pair of shot attempts. Adding goals to the score sheet were newcomers Rianna Jarrett and Eva Heller. As a team, the Skyhawks tallied six goals a feat which has occurred three times in the Phil McNamara era.

Defensively the Skyhawks were impressive as well, not only shutting out the visiting Wildcats, but keeping the visitor out of the shot column as well. Tonight marked just the second time in program history that the Skyhawks held an opposing team to zero shot attempts, matching the previous record set against Missouri-Kansas City on Sept. 11, 2009.

Senior goalkeeper Mariah Klenke logged 90 minutes between the post, seeing zero shot attempts and notching her school record 16th career shutouts, giving her 35 career victories.

“Really delighted, first and foremost to get a game in after losing a game this past Sunday,” said McNamara. “This time of year you need to be playing, it’s all about getting game minutes in a game environment. I think we got a good bit closer tonight, stretch the legs and work on our fitness levels. I’m very happy with this evening’s play.”

UT Martin came out on the offensive to start the game, firing its first shot attempt just two minutes into the game. The Skyhawks would tally seven shot attempts before finding their first goal of the evening in the game’s 15th minute. Coombs-James got the scoring started when she took a goal kick from Klenke all the way down the field, setting up an 1-on-1 opportunity against the keeper which resulted in an eight yard strike into the back of the net. The goal was Coombs-James’ first of the season.

Coombs-James would not waste much time getting her second goal of the year, scoring just two minutes later. Sophomore Ellie Myrick set up for a corner kick on the right side, hooking a near goal into the closest post before the Wildcat goalkeeper punched the attempt away. Coombs-James would keep her head in the play quite literally and figuratively, placing a header off the rebound into the back of the net for her 12th career goal.

Watson would join in the party in the 21st minute, scoring her first goal of the night off an assist from Myrick. After a series of nice passes, Myrick would find Watson in the middle of the box where she fired a five yard strike to give the Skyhawks the 3-0 lead, her first goal of the season.

The offensive juggernaut that was the Skyhawk offense would once again get on the board in the 23rd minute, the team’s fourth goal in the span of eight minutes.  Tallying her first of two assists on the night, Watson would find Jarrett – who scored two goals in the season opener – for a strong 10-yard shot which sailed to the back of the net. The goal was Jarrett’s third of the season.

The Skyhawks would turn to Watson yet again in the 25th minute, notching the team’s fifth and final goal of the first half. The freshman Heller would find Watson to the right of the goal where the senior forward would beat a charging keeper for an open net strike from five yards deep. The goal set a new career high for Watson, notching her first multi-goal match of her career.

After slowing down the tempo and working on their ball movement in the second half, the Skyhawks would punch one final goal in the final minutes of the match. The Skyhawks attempted just 10 shot attempts in the second period, but it was the team’s final attempt which spelled the team’s last goal of the evening. It was in the game’s 85th minute that Watson found Heller with a perfect assist. Heller took the pass – beating one defender – setting up a 1-on-1 showdown with the goalkeeper. The freshman would win the bout, catching the keeper off balance before punching in an attempt from three yards out. The goal was Heller’s first of her Skyhawk career, combined with an earlier assist gave the freshman three points on the evening.

The Skyhawks will return to action on Sunday, Aug. 31 when they play host to Missouri Valley Conference power Indiana State. Action from Skyhawk Field is scheduled to get underway at 1 p.m.

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