September 25, 2016

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CHARLESTON, Ill. – The University of Tennessee at Martin soccer team wrapped up its first Ohio Valley Conference weekend road trip of the season with a 1-0 overtime loss to Eastern Illinois (4-6, 1-1 OVC) on Sunday afternoon.

The Skyhawks’ (3-7, 0-2 OVC) attack was on the move early earning quality chances in the opening 15 minutes. In the 11th minute Amy McGivern delivered a free kick just outside the 18-yard box that was saved by the diving Panther goalkeeper Sara Teteak.  Just two minutes later Bianca McFarland also sent a shot just over the crossbar and the game remained scoreless.

The UT Martin defense stood tall limiting the EIU chances and clearing away any attempts from the Panthers offense. MaKenzie Crawford got the start in net for the Skyhawks and was the most active player on the pitch. Not only was she solid in net, but she was also heavily involved in taking free kicks as well.

With both defenses playing well, scoring chances were scarce throughout regulation time. Saphyra Coombs-James had perhaps the best chance to break the scoreless tie in the 72nd minute, when she headed a free kick just off the crossbar.

After a diving save from Crawford in the 89th minute to keep the game scoreless, the Skyhawks and Panthers were headed to overtime. For UT Martin, it was the first time they have played a sudden death overtime period this year.

Just over a minute into the overtime period, an unlucky deflection off a Skyhawk defender sparked an EIU counter-attack. The Panthers took advantage of the fortunate break as Rachel Pappas scored her first goal of the year to down UT Martin. Despite outshooting EIU 12-8, the Skyhawks could not find the mark.

Head coach Phil McNamara says he hopes these tough losses will help the Skyhawks grow moving forward.

“It’s a learning curve for our team and a lesson for the remainder of the season,” McNamara said. “We have to start taking our chances and this weekend simply indicates how difficult it is to win a Division I game. Credit to EIU, they had a good game plan. They were patient and took advantage of their opportunity to win the game. Now we have to dust ourselves off and get ready for a big home weekend.”

UT Martin returns to Skyhawk Field this weekend as it hosts Austin Peay on Friday, Sept. 30. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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