October 20, 2016

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MARTIN, Tenn. – Six players on the University of Tennessee at Martin soccer team set season highs in shots attempted, however the Skyhawks dropped a 2-1 overtime thriller to Morehead State (6-10-2, 3-5-1 OVC) on Thursday night at Skyhawk Field.

Saphyra Coombs-James (10), Amy McGivern (8), Danae Kaldaridou (5), Nicole Collins (5) and Sophia Sharos (4) each recorded season highs as UT Martin (4-13, 1-8 OVC) attempted 34 shots as a team. Coombs-James’ 10 attempts tied for third most ever in Skyhawk history.

“The girls were fantastic tonight,” said head coach Phil McNamara. “I am heartbroken for them but this game really sums up our season. We’ve been right there all year long, yet it’s almost as if we have been punished at every turn. It’s really unfortunate because they are good kids that are doing what we ask of them and we just can’t seem to grab a result.”

The first half started with neither team able to mount much offense in the rainy, windy conditions. The best chance for either team in the opening period came in the 30th minute when Coombs-James beat a Morehead State defender down the left side. Katelyn Colvin just missed finishing off the cross from her senior teammate and the game remained scoreless throughout the half.

The Skyhawks showed their class in the second period, dominating possession and pressuring the Eagle defense throughout. UT Martin broke through in the 55th minute as Amy McGivern collected a deflected pass from Kaci Mitchell and buried her fifth of the season in the top right corner to put the Skyhawks on top 1-0.

The Eagles answered almost immediately, as their leading goal scorer Ashley Ritchie collected a dangerous ball just three yards out and put it past Skyhawk goalkeeper MaKenzie Crawford in the 56th minute to tie the score 1-1. Despite the goal, UT Martin controlled the entire rest of the second half. The Skyhawks outshot the Eagles 25-3 in the second period but were unable to beat Eagle goalkeeper Eva Yr Helgadottir for a second time.

The overtime period was all Morehead State as they earned three corner kicks before finally tallying the game-winning goal just over two minutes into the first overtime period. Ritchie was able to grab a loose ball off a corner kick and beat Crawford to earn the win for the Eagles.

Although senior night did not end the way UT Martin wanted it to, their effort and determination, led by Coombs-James, was something the coaching staff was proud of.

“Saph was really great tonight,” McNamara said. “She really worked hard and it was unfortunate she wasn’t able to put one away. It is extremely difficult to score goals in this league and unfortunately we found that out again tonight, but the effort and determination were there. Her teammates fed off her energy and she really stood out.”

The Skyhawks conclude their season next Thursday, Oct. 27 as they travel to Southeast Missouri to take on the Redhawks. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. 

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