Youth movement: Freshmen playing major role in soccer season

With such a young team, Tech’s soccer team is looking to get their rhythm and play like the team they feel they have the potential to be.Brooke Mayo, a center mid and Jen Hoffman, an outside mid and forward, are optimistic about the 12 new freshmen on the team. Despite the adjustments so far, the freshmen are playing a big role this year, with the team off to a 1-1 start in the Ohio Valley Conference.

“We are finally starting to click and learn each other,” Mayo said. “We are becoming a team.”

Tech (2-8-1, 1-1 OVC)) has very unusual circumstances with so many freshmen on the field at once.

“There are only like 2 or 3 upperclassmen on the field at a time, the rest are freshmen,” Hoffman said.

“Not only did [the freshmen] have to get used to playing at the college level, they had to get used to playing together,” Mayo said.

The women have been fine-tuning the young team. Early in the season, they played against some top-tier teams and came up a goal short.

Marshall was undefeated and had not been scored on before edging Tech 3-2. Tech also played Belmont, who made it to the NCAA tournament last year, to a scoreless tie. They dropped a 1-0 decision to preseason-ranked Radford, the defending Big South conference champs and NCAA tournament participant last year.

Tech kicked off conference play with a 1-0 victory in double overtime against UT-Martin. The Golden Eagles scored in the first 20 seconds of the second overtime, which was a big improvement for them, having lost several games last year in overtime.

Despite their 3-1 loss on Sunday against Murray State, the team remains confident in its destiny this season.

“Playing all those really hard schools with such a young squad was a challenge for us but has made us stronger as team,” Mayo said. “It gave us confidence in ourselves which will really help us for OVC.”

Last year Tech made it to the first round of the conference tournament for the first time in five years. This year they are “looking to not only make it to the tournament, but make it to the finals,” Mayo said.

Mayo and Hoffman believe the team has been working hard ever since their first day of training on August 4th. “This is a whole new team,” Mayo said. Out of all her years she said this is “definitely the team to make it, we are a lot better than before.”

The team continues its road towards an OVC championship as they travel to Eastern Kentucky this afternoon.

They will return home on Sunday to face Morehead State at 2 p.m. Admission is free to the public and will cap off Parents’ and Family Weekend on campus.