MARTIN, Tenn. – Freshman Saphyra Coombs-James found the back of the net in the 83rd minute tonight to give The University of Tennessee at Martin soccer team a big 2-1 victory over Austin Peay in Ohio Valley Conference play. The Skyhawks improve to 4-4-3 and stretch their unbeaten streak to five matches.
Coombs-James’ goal was her fourth of the 2012 campaign and the first game-winner of her young career. Also starring tonight for UT Martin was sophomore Alyssa Curtis, who gave the Skyhawks the lead with a goal in the 56th minute and later assisted on Coombs-James’ goal. It was the first match in Curtis’ career that she had recorded both a goal and an assist.
A total of 10 Skyhawks attempted at least one shot tonight for UT Martin, who outshot Austin Peay 21-14 this evening, led by five attempts by Curtis.
Sophomore Mariah Klenke made seven stops in all 90 minutes tonight for the Skyhawks. It was the third time this season alone that Klenke notched at least seven saves.
Klenke’s first save came at the 22:28 mark and she came back with another crucial save in the 30th minute.
Dominika Conc (27th minute) and Coombs-James (31st minute) were responsible for UT Martin’s first two shot on goal attempts but Lady Govs’ goalkeeper Haylee Shoaff tallied a pair of saves.
Klenke would rack up two more stops before the half, snaring a save in the 34th and 42nd minutes.
Skyhawk senior Midori Sera lined a hard shot into the arms of Shoaff at the 39:39 mark. Abi Sanvee came very close to giving UT Martin a one-goal advantage with just 1:40 remaining in the half, but her attempt clanked off the left goal post.
Curtis’ goal off a corner kick got the Skyhawks on the scoreboard at the 55:16 mark. Hannah McGowen placed a perfect pass to the left edge of the box for Curtis, who rose above the crowd for a header goal – the seventh goal of her career.
Austin Peay responded less than two minutes later with a goal to even the score at 1-1. Klenke deflected a shot at the 57:03 mark and four seconds later, Tatiana Ariza scooped up the loose ball and came up with her fourth goal of the season.
Klenke made sure the match stayed tied 1-1 when she corralled her sixth save of the night at the 68:53 mark. UT Martin quickly moved the ball the other way, resulting in a shot on goal by Sera that Shoaff saved just 17 seconds later.
A little over nine minutes later, both goalkeepers made saves within 34 seconds of each other to keep the tie intact.
UT Martin broke through early in the 83rd minute. Curtis fired a hard shot from the left side that clipped Shoaff’s fingertips. Curtis then maintained possession of the loose ball and sent a pass across the box to a wide open Coombs-James, who scooted the ball past the endline.
The Skyhawk defense would only concede one more shot attempt the rest of the way – a blocked shot at the 84:14 mark.
UT Martin will look to sweep its brief two-match homestand on Sunday, Sept. 30 when it takes on OVC foe Murray State at 2 p.m.