Defense leading Skyhawk soccer to solid OVC start
Posted: Thursday, October 2, 2008 3:53 pm
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. — Trailing 1-0 and in danger of losing their first Ohio Valley Conference match, the University of Tennessee at Martin got on the board in the 86th minute and sent the game into double overtime, where they settled for a 1-1 tie after 110 minutes of play.
Freshman Melissa Govea recorded the lone goal for UT Martin, which found itself in an early hole after Southeast Missouri’s Kristi Frick got the Redhawks on the scoreboard with a goal in the 41st minute. UT Martin’s defense then settled down, and the offense kept in attack mode for the second half.
For the game, the Skyhawks out-shot Southeast Missouri, 24-5, and held a 14-1 advantage on corner kicks. Govea’s goal was her second of the season and second in the last three matches. Nine different Skyhawks attempted a shot, led by Stephanie Nilica’s seven shots, one on goal.
Senior goalkeeper Johanna Rathbun earned one save in all 110 minutes.
The Skyhawks return to action on Sunday when they will travel to Murray, Ky., to take on rival Murray State at 2 p.m.
Skyhawks open OVC season with 1-0 win over EIU
MARTIN, Tenn. — If one thing is evident about freshman Katie Imperiale’s play so far nine games into her college career, it is obvious she has a knack for coming through in the clutch. Imperiale’s third game-winning goal of the season gave the University of Tennessee at Martin the win today over Eastern Illinois, 1-0, in both teams’ conference opener.
Imperiale, whose three goals on the season lead the Skyhawks, came off the bench and scooted the ball past EIU’s Jenny Williams in the 37th minute. Imperiale took a pass from fellow freshman Victoria Taylor and found the back of the net from about five feet out.
UTM senior goalkeeper Johanna Rathbun also had a huge game, earning her eighth career shutout, which now ties her for the best all-time in program history with Cara Sullivan (2006-2007).
Rathbun preserved the program’s 33rd shutout when she made a diving save on EIU’s best scoring opportunity of the whole match, which occurred in the 81st minute.
UT Martin (6-2-1) had controlled the ball for most of the second half, when Eastern Illinois made a run for the goal. Kaitlin Sullivan struck a shot from 30 feet out that looked to be bound to tie the game. However, Rathbun made an acrobatic save to her right, diving full extension to bat the ball away to Skyhawk defender Danielle Rogers, who cleared the ball past the midline.
For the game, the Skyhawks out-shot Eastern Illinois, 24-2. Sullivan’s shot was the only one on goal for EIU.
The shutout was also the 19th of head coach Craig Roberts’ tenure, and the match also continued the common trend that has defined Skyhawk soccer under Roberts’ watch. In Roberts’ 47 games as head coach at UT Martin, his defense has allowed either zero or one goal in 36 of them, including every 2008 contest so far.
The Skyhawks continued two streaks and set a new one. The 1-0 win makes UT Martin 3-0 all-time in OVC home openers, and also gave them their second straight win over Eastern Illinois, after not beating the Panthers the first 11 times they faced them. Previously, UT Martin had been 0-2 when facing Eastern Illinois in its OVC opener, but this win gave them their first season-opening OVC victory since 2002.
Roberts thought no one player stood out and the victory was a total team effort.
“We’re delighted with the win,” Roberts said. “Eastern Illinois came out strong, but as the game went on, we played the possession game and the opportunities we created were outstanding. Everybody showed up today and we were very consistent.”