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MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin soccer team is set to host Big 12 Conference opponent Oklahoma State on Friday, Aug. 23 at 7 p.m. and new Conference USA foe Middle Tennessee on Sunday, Aug. 25 at 2 p.m. in a pair of weekend matches to open the 2013 season at Skyhawk Field.
The Skyhawks are coming off the most successful campaign in UT Martin soccer history and are primed to contend for their second consecutive league championship and third NCAA Tournament appearance in as many years.
Amongst UT Martin’s returnees are four All-OVC performers in Mariah Klenke, Ashley Reveiz and Hannah McGowen garnering first team honors while Alyssa Curtis was tabbed to the second team. Senior Abi Sanvee joins teammates Dominika Conc, Curtis and McGowen on the list of members to eclipse the double-digit point plateau in 2012.
The defensive unit returns three of the four defenders which should give the Skyhawks a quick jump start on the season. The back four will see the return of OVC All-Tournament selections Amy Maksimowicz and Lucy Pater. The duo will anchor the Skyhawk defensive unit which registered eight shutouts, including three consecutive clean sheets on two occasions.
In goal, Mariah Klenke will look to continue her historic start to her career setting a new UT Martin single-season record with 12 victories, passing her previous record of 10 set in 2011. Her performance on the pitch in the OVC Tournament earned her Most Valuable Player honors.
Oklahoma State is coming off an 11-6-3 season in which they finished seventh in the Big 12 Conference standing with a 1-4-3 mark. The Cowgirls return eight starters from last season’s squad, led by senior midfielder Kristen Kelley who was selected to the 2013 Preseason All-Big 12 team and junior Miriam Rhinehart. OSU has earned a berth in the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship in six of the last seven years and have claimed Big 12 titles in four of the last five seasons.
Middle Tennessee is coming off a historic season with an overall record of 14-5-1 and clinching a share of the Sun Belt Conference regular season title with a mark of 8-1-1. The Blue Raiders return 2012 Sun Belt Freshman of the Year Kate Loye, who was named to the Conference USA Preseason Player to Watch list, totaled 20 points in just 17 matches. Other top returners include Tori Hawkins and Amalie Anderdale, who each scored four goals last season. Goalkeeper Kelsey Brouwer returns from a strong rookie season, which saw her post an 8-2 mark with a 1.10 Goals Against Average.
UT Martin in conjunction with Army ROTC will be providing free food and prizes for students. Fans can tune into the OVC Digital Network for a free live stream of both matches at this link: http://ovcdigitalnetwork.com/showcase/. Live stats will be available here: http://www.utmsports.com/livestats/soccer/xlive.htm.