DENVER, Colo. – The University of Tennessee at Martin soccer team battled throughout the opening match of the Denver Invitational against nationally ranked host No. 20 Denver, before falling to the Pioneers 1-0 at CIBER Field in Denver, Colorado.
The Skyhawks (1-3-1) held the host Pioneers (5-0) scoreless before allowing the deciding goal in the 71st minute. Denver came into the match averaging 2.50 goals per game while UT Martin has averaged just 0.96 goals against.
Freshman Ellie Myrick led the Skyhawks with two shots on the night while classmate Aoife Lennon, senior Hannah McGowen and juniors Lucy Pater and Dominika Conc each added a shot of their own. McGowen, Myrick and Pater each tallied one shot on goal.
Junior Mariah Klenke kept the Pioneer strikers at bay throughout the evening, tallying five saves while allowing just one goal.
Denver came out firing in the tournament opener, recording the first five shots of the game. Klenke recorded her first save of the evening at the 7:11 mark, beginning the barrage of Pioneer shot attempts. Denver would fire three shots over a five minute span, with Klenke earning her second save at the 17:12 mark.
UT Martin would answer with a run of their own, firing three shots at the Pioneer defense over the course of two minutes. Lennon got the Skyhawks in the shot column at the 20:20 mark with Myrick tallying a shot of her own, just seven second later. Conc would wrap up the run with a shot at the 21:28 mark which was blocked by a Denver defender.
McGowen placed the Skyhawks first shot on goal at the 27:10 mark, but Cassidy Rey would wrangle her first save of the evening.
Denver would threaten at the end of the first period, pushing a header into the box that Klenke would smother at the 44:28 mark, wrapping up the period with a 0-0 tie.
The Pioneers, much like the first period, came out of the break with seven consecutive shots before finding the game-winning goal in the 71st minute. After rifling a shot of her own, Nicholette Digiacomo recovered her failed attempt before firing the deciding goal into the back of the net from seven yards out.
The Skyhawks would attempt to respond after the goal by placing their final two shots on goal within 20 seconds of each other. Myrick placed a shot on goal at the 71:12 mark before Pater fired an attempt of her own as Rey tallied her final two saves of the evening.
UT Martin will look to quickly flip their fortunes as they change their focus to Pac-12 Conference power Colorado on Sunday, Sept. 8. Action against the undefeated Buffaloes (5-0) is set to begin at noon CST in the Denver Invitational at CIBER Field.