The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga soccer team dropped a tough 2-0 match to visiting Tennessee Tech at Finley Stadium today. The Lady Mocs outshot the Golden Eagles 14-10 and held a 5-0 advantage in corner kicks, but could not find the back of the net. UTC falls to 1-1 on the year while TTU evens its record at 1-1.
Tennessee Tech got on the board early, scoring after a missed offsides call in the third minute. Golden Eagle Amanda Koch sent a pass over the top down the right side that found Ellie Iaciofano in full stride. Iaciofano was offsides but play continued. She sent a perfect cross into the box that Andrea Meloff put in the back of the net for the 1-0 lead.
UTC held nearly all of the possession in the first half, but TTU was more dangerous on counters. Golden Eagle Kerri Reid blasted a shot from just outside the box that went over the crossbar in the 10th minute while Koch missed on a 1v1 with the keeper three minutes later.
Lady Moc senior Becca Smith had a chance early in the match. She worked her way into the box on the near left side, but missed wide from the difficult angle. UTC forced TTU keeper Jordan Brown to make a pair of saves in the opening minutes, but shots by freshman Logan Higgins and senior Lauren Wilson were both from 20 yards out.
Smith had another good look in the 21st minute. She sized one up from the top of the box on the right side, trying to blast the ball to the near post. Smith didn't get all of it and TTU keeper Lauren Brown dove to her left to tip the ball wide. That gave UTC one of its three corner kicks in the first half, but the Lady Mocs did not generate much opportunity off of set pieces.
"We possessed the ball very, very well in the first half," stated head coach J.D. Kyzer. "We have five freshmen on the field, so they are all getting used to the speed and physicality of this level. However, I was very pleased with how we played in the first half."
Tennessee Tech packed it and played tough defense to open the second half, only countering with a few players when the opportunity came. That strategy paid off early as Meloff broke free in the 55th minute. Her shot hit the post and bounced back to the middle of the box. Iaciofano was there to put it away for the 2-0 lead.
Chattanooga continued to control the middle of the field, but could not get shots on frame. Freshman Hannah Wyatt nearly closed the gap to one goal with just over five minutes to play. Freshman keeper Lauren Thomas bombed a free kick to sophomore Crystal Mackezyk in the middle of the field, 35 yards out. Mackezyk headed the ball forward to Wyatt who found herself one-on-one with the TTU keeper. Wyatt fired a quick shot, but it was right to Brown for her fifth save to preserve the shutout.
"This is a great lesson for us," stated Kyzer. "We are not panicking. We are going to go right back at it the way we have been and we will be fine. Our training has been excellent, we just need to continue to gain game experience and get comfortable with the level of play."
The Lady Mocs wrap up a three-match season-opening homestand when they host Alabama State on Sunday, Aug. 26, at 2:00 p.m. (E.D.T.) at Finley Stadium. Admission is always FREE for UTC Soccer and fans can also follow live stats and MocsVision video on GoMocs.com.