MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin soccer team could not capitalize on late game opportunities, falling to Ohio Valley Conference foe SIU Edwardsville, 1-0 at Skyhawk Field.
Despite the loss, UT Martin still controls their own destiny as they search for their second consecutive regular season conference title. The Skyhawks (9-8-1, 7-2 OVC) currently sit atop the OVC standings with 21 points. With losses by Eastern Illinois and Morehead State on Sunday, the Skyhawks still hold a slim margin over their next opponent, Southeast Missouri, by one point in the overall conference standings.
The Skyhawks looked to senior Hannah McGowen who led the team with six shot attempts while freshman Aoife Lennon followed with four attempts of her own. Both McGowen and Lennon paced the team with two shots on goal on the afternoon. Eight other Skyhawks tallied shot attempts on the afternoon, outshooting the Cougars 18-9.
Junior goalkeeper Mariah Klenke turned in yet another solid performance between the posts. Klenke tallied three saves on the afternoon despite allowing one goal.
SIUE (11-4-3, 5-3-1 OVC) looked to Erin DiGiovanni for their lone goal, her third of the season. Tory Pitts tallied the game’s lone assists and paced the team with four shot attempts for the Cougars. SIUE goalkeeper Jennifer Pelley notched her seventh shutout of the season, tallying nine saves on the day.
“It was a typical Sunday game which was a little flat coming off Friday night’s game,” said UT Martin head soccer coach Phil McNamara. “We missed an opportunity today and we’ve got to come out this week in practice and look forward to a good Southeast Missouri team to close out the season next Friday. We’re disappointed that we couldn’t have put it to bed today and left the field celebrating, but we hope it will make us focus even more moving forward.”
SIUE came out firing to begin the match, proving to be the aggressor as they tallied the first three shots of the match. The Cougars needed just three opportunities before tallying the only goal they would need on the afternoon in the 10th minute. SIUE marched down the left side as Pitts sailed a cross into the box, finding DiGiovanni. DiGiovanni found Pitts pass and quickly fired an eight-yard dart past Klenke for the 1-0 advantage.
The Skyhawks would try to respond to the early goal by firing five consecutive shots, but would not find the equalizer before heading into the halftime break.
UT Martin would come out of the break with an increase in intensity, placing seven of the game’s next eight shot attempts. The Skyhawks nearly got on the board in the 68th minute as both Lennon and McGowen placed shots on goal but SIUE’s Pelley would tally the saves.
McGowen would fire the Skyhawks final attempt at an equalizer at the 89:12 mark, but Pelley was once again there for the save, sealing the 1-0 victory for the visiting Cougars.
The Skyhawks will look to clinch their second consecutive OVC regular season championship when they host second place Southeast Missouri on Friday, Nov. 1. Friday’s match will decide the league’s championship with the match schedule to get underway at 7 p.m.