Six soccer seniors say so long

The Tennessee Tech soccer team wrapped up its 2010 campaign on Sunday, falling to Austin Peay 2-1 and marking the end of the careers of six seniors.Taren Brown, Michelle Decker, Jen Hoffman, Brooke Mayo, Ashley Smith, and Kathryn Lally laced up their cleats for the final time as Golden Eagles.

Prior to the game, the six, alongside their parents, were presented with framed jerseys in a ceremony on the field.

“It’s tough,” Brown said. “I’ve played my whole life.”

Smith said, “It was my daily activity, and now it’s gone.

“I have a lot of free time on my hands now and I don’t know what to do with all of it.”

The six seniors were forced to band together over the years as they played under three different head coaches in their four-year careers.

“It made our class a lot closer,” Brown said, “because we didn’t have just one coach we could depend on.

“We became more of a family.”

Smith said that being around the other girls basically every day since their freshman year helped them build a stong bond.

“It’s like a sisterhood,” she said.

Tech ended its season with a 4-12-1 record which included three overtime losses.and a 2-5-1 conference record under first-year Head Coach Daniel Brizard.

“We were all disappointed that we didn’t make it to the tournament,” Brown said.

The Golden Eagles were four points shy of UT Martin for the final seed in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament.

“We wanted to make it back to the tournament again this year,” Smith said, “but it just didn’t happen.”

Brown said her most memorable moment as a Golden Eagle came in last year’s OVC Tournament when Tech knocked off the top-seeded Morehead State to advance to the championship game.

She was named to three All-OVC teams in her career at Tech. She also played in all 77 games during her tenure.

Brown is a nursing major from Hendersonville while Smith is a native of Shelbyville and majoring in communications.

Mayo, Decker and Hoffman are each exercise science majors while Lally is majoring in business.

Hoffman, 2009 OVC Player of the Year, is the only one of the six to not play her entire career at Tech.

The 2010 OVC tournament is set to begin on Nov. 4 with regular-season champion Morehead State hosting the three-day event.

Both Brown and Smith said they might play in a pick-up game or two in the future, but Sunday’s match was the end of their organized soccer careers.

“I’m going to miss it,” Smith said.