EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The University of Tennessee at Martin soccer team dropped its first match of the young season to Evansville this evening, falling by a narrow 2-1 margin.
UT Martin (1-1) continued to show its defensive prowess for most of the match before allowing a late goal to the Purple Aces, who improved to 1-1 after the game-winning goal was secured in the 88th minute. The physical match resulted in four total yellow cards between Evansville and the Skyhawks, all coming in the second half.
Sophomore Nicole Collins accounted for UT Martin’s only goal tonight, finding the back of the net with 32 minutes remaining in regulation. It was the first goal of the season and second career score for the Newark, NY native.
Freshman Ashley Levingston racked up a team-high five shots (two on goal) in the outing while Danae Kaldaridou (two shots) also showed off her footwork. The Skyhawks outshot Evansville 13-6 with 10 shots coming in the second half alone.
For the second straight match, freshman Erica Myers played between the posts for the full 90 minutes, tallying one save on the evening.
“Tonight was a fantastic learning curve for our team and especially our new players to the squad,” UT Martin head coach Phil McNamara said. “Winning on a Sunday requires a different level of quality and commitment, which we need to understand better. Evansville is always a difficult opponent especially at home and deserves credit for a hard working defensive set up which offered them the foundation to win the game. We’re disappointed not to be 2-0 on the season but we’re encouraged with the early contribution from the new players and the potential of the group moving forward.”
The first half was an offensive struggle until the Purple Aces broke a scoreless tie with a goal with 2:53 to go before the halftime intermission.
UT Martin answered in the 58th minute when Collins converted her goal off a pass from Katelyn Colvin, tying the score 1-1.
Both squads nearly came away with the potential go-ahead goal in the span of under two minutes. After Evansville’s Montana Portenier’s shot clanked off the crossbar in the 76th minute, Levingston fired an attempt that also hit the crossbar in the 78th minute.
After Evansville’s Sara Osinski put the Purple Aces ahead 2-1, the Skyhawks made one last charge by forcing two corner shots on the Evansville goal in the final 30 seconds. The corner kicks by Colvin and Maggie Burkett weren’t able to find a connection as the final horn sounded.
The Skyhawks look to get back on track as they return home to the friendly confines of Skyhawk Field to take on Conference USA opponent UAB on Friday, Aug. 25. Opening kick is set for 7 p.m.