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MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin soccer team can clinch its second Ohio Valley Conference regular season championship in program history this weekend when it travels to Jacksonville State (7 p.m.) on Friday, Oct. 26 before returning home to face Tennessee Tech (2 p.m.) on Sunday, Oct. 28.
The Skyhawks (9-5-3, 6-1-1 OVC) currently lead the conference by three points and automatically clinch at least a share of the league title with one victory over the weekend. UT Martin has not lost to Jacksonville State since 2005 and hasn’t lost to Tennessee Tech at home since 2004.
On Sunday, the career contributions of Skyhawk seniors Kendyl Wilson and Midori Sera will be recognized before the match. A four-year member of the UT Martin program, Wilson ranks in the top-10 of five career categories: assists (17, second); matches played (74, fourth); points (39, fifth); goals (11, seventh) and matches started (64, ninth). An All-OVC Newcomer in 2011, Sera has been a valuable piece of the Skyhawk offense in her two seasons, racking up 17 points (eight goals and an assist) and three game-winning goals.
UT Martin currently leads the OVC in the top four offensive categories: points (5.53 per match); goals (1.94 per match); assists (1.65 per match) and shots (16.65 per match). The Skyhawk offense has been paced by freshman Saphyra Coombs-James, who has combined for three goals and an assist in her last two outings. Coombs-James ranks second in the league in points (20), goals (eight) and game-winning goals (three).
Wilson ranks atop the OVC in assists (seven), while teammates Hannah McGowen and Dominika Conc each rank in the top-five in the league with four assists apiece. Sera also leads the team and is fourth in the OVC in shots attempted (47).
The Skyhawk defense will look to continue its spectacular run this weekend. UT Martin has gone 8-2-1 in its last 11 matches, thanks in large part to a defensive unit that has not allowed a multi-goal outing in that span. The Skyhawks have shut out three straight OVC foes for just the third time in program history.
Sophomore goalkeeper Mariah Klenke has been clutch for UT Martin, ranking fourth in the OVC with four shutouts. On the season, she boasts a 1.11 Goals Against Average while making 70 saves in 1459:04.
Jacksonville State (10-6-2, 3-4-1 OVC) won 10 of 12 matches early in the season but has gone 0-4-1 in the month of October. Three of those five matches have gone into overtime.
Offensively, the Gamecocks are led by the duo of Courtney Hurt and Kelsey Bright. The pair has combined for exactly half of Jacksonville State’s goals (14 of 28), each ranking fourth in the OVC with seven goals apiece. Kaitlin Manns’ six assists for the Gamecocks rank third in the league.
Katelyn Geddings has seen the majority of minutes in goal for the Gamecocks, as her 120 saves lead the OVC. She also ranks in the top-three in the league in shutouts (5, second), save percentage (.870, second) and GAA (1.02, third).
The Golden Eagles enter the weekend with a 5-10-1 overall record, including a 3-5 OVC mark. Tennessee Tech has dropped two straight decisions (2-1 in overtime against Belmont on Oct. 14, 2-0 at Austin Peay on Oct. 19).
Ellie Iaciofano accounts for half (eight of 16) of Tennessee Tech’s goals, ranking second in the league in that category. She also ranks second in the OVC in points (20) and fifth in both assists (four) and points (44).
In goal, Jordan Brown has played every second (1469:28) between the pipes for the Golden Eagles. She leads the OVC with 7.12 saves per match and has tallied a 1.53 GAA to go along with an .820 save percentage.