MARTIN, Tenn. – Junior Abi Sanvee registered the fifth hat trick in school history to help The University of Tennessee at Martin soccer team claim its first-ever outright Ohio Valley Conference championship in a 6-0 victory over Tennessee Tech this afternoon.
UT Martin (11-5-3, 8-1-1 OVC) enters the upcoming OVC Tournament as the No. 1 seed for the first time in program history. The tournament will take place on Nov. 1-4 at Skyhawk Field.
Sanvee’s three goals in today’s match was the first hat trick since Katie Jackson accomplished the feat against Eastern Kentucky on Sept. 30, 2005. Sanvee struck for goals in the ninth, 16th and 67th minutes to cap off her remarkable day.
Saphyra Coombs-James (34th minute), Ashlie Watson (43rd minute) and Dominika Conc (52nd minute) also contributed goals for UT Martin, who scored at least five goals for the fourth time in 2012.
Defensively, the Skyhawks locked up their fourth shutout in their last five matches today. Mariah Klenke made three saves in the first half while Sarah Tompkins snared 10 saves in the second stanza to keep the Golden Eagles off the scoreboard.
Sanvee picked up her first goal of the day off a deflection by Tennessee Tech goalkeeper Jordan Brown at the 8:06 mark. After teammate Melisa Erturk’s shot attempt was blocked by a Golden Eagle defender, Sanvee scooped up the loose ball and sent a hard shot past Brown’s fingertips to give the Skyhawks an early 1-0 advantage.
Less than 20 seconds later, Klenke came up with her second save of the afternoon to keep UT Martin’s lead at one.
Sanvee once again was in the right place at the right time for her second goal. Alyssa Curtis snuck a shot past a diving Brown but the ball was saved by a Tennessee Tech defender. However, the ball landed right in front of a wide open Sanvee, who tapped the ball in from point blank range at the 15:12 mark.
Less than three minutes after checking into the match, Coombs-James made her presence felt with a goal at the 33:32 mark. Klenke sent a high goal kick out past midfield, where Coombs-James maintained possession and lined a long shot past Brown to put UT Martin on top by a 3-0 margin. It was the team-best 10th goal of the season for the freshman out of Brampton, Ontario.
Shortly after that, Watson gave the Skyhawks a four-goal advantage. Morgan Brandon dribbled down the right side and lifted a pass into the box for Watson, who tallied her second goal of the season at the 42:41 mark.
Klenke made one more tough save before halftime to keep the score at 4-0 at the break.
After Hannah McGowen’s long shot attempt hit the crossbar, Conc perfectly played the rebound, finding the back of the net at the 51:36 mark. The goal put the Skyhawks ahead 5-0 and was Conc’s fourth of the 2012 campaign.
Sanvee accumulated her third and final goal of the afternoon at the 66:20 mark. Jessica Horvatich lined a hard pass from the right flank that found Sanvee, who guided the ball past Brown for the 13th goal of her career.
From that point on, Tompkins closed the door on Tennessee Tech, making six saves in the final 23:14 – including three challenging stops in a span of 3:05.
As one of the top two seeds in the OVC Tournament, the Skyhawks receive an automatic berth into the league semifinals. UT Martin will return to action on Friday, Nov. 2 at 4 p.m., facing the winner of the Southeast Missouri/Belmont match at Skyhawk Field.