MARTIN, Tenn. – For the second straight season, The University of Tennessee at Martin soccer team clinched the Ohio Valley Conference’s automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament with a 2-0 victory over Austin Peay in the league championship this afternoon.
In front of a record-setting crowd of 773 fans at Skyhawk Field, UT Martin (13-5-3) scored both goals in the second half. Alyssa Curtis broke the scoreless tie in the 73rd minute while Midori Sera added a big insurance goal just nine minutes later. For the match, the Skyhawks outshot Austin Peay by a 13-11 margin.
Once again, UT Martin’s defense came up strong this afternoon, compiling its sixth shutout in the last seven matches. In goal, Mariah Klenke came up with four of her five saves while the match was scoreless on her way to OVC Tournament Most Valuable Player honors.
Along with Klenke, Lucy Pater, Amy Maksimowicz and Mary Thompson also were named to the OVC’s All-Tournament team.
The first half featured three shots on goal on each side. Klenke made stops in the 20th, 30th and 44th minutes, while Kendyl Wilson, Curtis and Dominika Conc were responsible for UT Martin’s shots on goal.
Pater almost scored the first goal of the match at the 59:58 mark but her shot nailed the crossbar before being cleared by the Lady Govs’ defense. Klenke came out to make a great save in the 65th minute, setting up the first goal of the match.
In the 73rd minute, Hannah McGowen delivered a pass into the box off a free kick from 30 yards out. Curtis rushed in from the left side for a header that cleared Austin Peay goalkeeper Haylee Shoaff at the 72:41 mark. The goal was Curtis’ fifth of the season and 10th in less than two years in a Skyhawk uniform.
UT Martin’s next shot attempt was also true, as Sera registered her sixth goal of the year at the 81:36 mark. Jessica Horvatich dribbled the ball near the end line on the right side and sent a pass towards the middle of the box for Sera, who fired a shot into the upper left corner of the net.
Klenke made her fifth and final save of the day in the 84th minute, securing her fifth shutout of the 2012 campaign.
The Skyhawks will find out their opponent in the upcoming NCAA Tournament tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. Central time. Stay tuned for the latest updates involving a Selection Show party.