MARTIN, Tenn. – A flurry of shots in the second half paid off in a big way for the University of Tennessee at Martin soccer team today, as two goals in the final six-plus minutes sent the Skyhawks to a 2-1 Ohio Valley Conference victory over Eastern Illinois in the 2017 home finale.
Battling through drizzling rain and chilly windy conditions, UT Martin outshot the visiting Panthers by a 14-2 margin in the second half to improve to 6-9-3 on the season (4-4-1 OVC). Today’s win officially earned an OVC Tournament spot for the Skyhawks, who are currently in fifth place in the league standings with one match remaining in the regular season.
Both of UT Martin’s goals came in the span of 40 seconds today as the Skyhawks fought back from a 1-0 deficit with some late match drama. In the 84th minute, Danae Kaldaridou was fouled in the box and knocked in the ensuing penalty kick for her team-leading seventh goal of the season. Just 40 seconds later, freshman Bella Roberts came away with the game-winning score after retrieving a loose ball from five yards out and finding the back of the net for the first goal of her career.
“We were a bit disappointed to be behind at halftime because I thought we played really well with the ball against the wind and the conditions in the first half,” UT Martin head coach Phil McNamara said. “In the second half, it was all about finding a way to win and we did that. I must give a lot of credit to Eastern Illinois today – I thought they really played hard and battled, finding themselves within 10 minutes of winning the game. It wasn’t our best performance but we are certainly delighted to cap off a big home weekend with six points.”
Eastern Illinois took advantage of the whipping 15 mph winds in the first half, as Kayla Stolfa bent a corner kick directly into the right edge of the goal to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead in the 27th minute.
That would be the only goal that Skyhawk goalkeeper Erica Myers would concede, as she made five of her six saves in the first 45 minutes to keep UT Martin within striking distance.
Alice Adams (game-high five shot attempts) and Kaldaridou each accounted for shots on goal in the first half but Eastern Illinois escaped the first half holding a 1-0 advantage.
The Skyhawks’ second-half offensive barrage started early and often as UT Martin started to wear down the Panther defense. Kaldaridou had an open look in the 59th minute that caromed off the crossbar as four of the next five Skyhawk attempts were on goal.
Kaldaridou’s equalizer came at the 83:50 mark and UT Martin wasted little time before delivering another scoring opportunity. Adams soon took a corner kick and found Amy McGivern for a point-blank shot that grazed the left post. Roberts then emerged from the scrum to guide the ball past reigning OVC Goalkeeper of the Week Sara Teteak for the eventual game-winner.
The Skyhawks close out the regular season on Sunday, Oct. 22 when they travel across the state to take on OVC foe Tennessee Tech. First touch from Cookeville is scheduled for 1 p.m.