For the first time since 2009, the Tennessee Tech soccer team made it back to the OVC playoffs. However, after entering as the second seed, the Golden Eagles fell to the Southeast Missouri Redhawks 2-0 in the OVC semifinals, marking the end of the team’s season.
The Golden Eagles couldn’t get anything going in the first half of the match and head coach Steve Springthorpe could see the nerves his team had from the very beginning.
“I felt we came out nervous and did not handle the pressure that SEMO placed upon us, as well as the pressure of playing in a championship level environment,” said Springthorpe. “The first 15 minutes, we were tentative in our play and made some untimely mistakes that did not allow us to have early success in the match.”
The second half didn’t get much better as the Golden Eagles got out of its comfort zone and had to play from behind.
“I thought we played well in the second half but could not generate enough scoring opportunities to allow us to equalize. In the last 15 minutes, we were forced to get out of our comfort zone,” said Springthorpe. “Overall, I think we could have played better. As the coach of the team, I take responsibility for not preparing the team as well as we could have that would have allowed for us to be more successful on the day. I expect that the experience in this type of game will help us in the future.”
The Golden Eagles have experienced success for the first time in six years and will be looking to build on the success for years to come.
“I hope that the success we experienced will help us continue to improve by creating more confidence in our play and starting to develop some pride in our program,” said Springthorpe. “We will learn from both the positive experiences and the negative experiences and move forward to create a team that will hopefully sustain a certain level of success that was equal to this year, with a true desire to be more successful than we where this season.”
Springthorpe also said that, along with the coaching staff, the players need to continue improving their level of play by training, preparing, learning and continuing to push each other to be even more competitive. He said this will make them a more successful team.
The Golden Eagles experienced a lot of firsts this year, and even after the loss, the Golden Eagles continued to stay positive and are looking forward to getting back to the playoffs and winning the OVC title next season.
“The team is excited about the positive direction we are heading. We improved in many areas from last year, this time till now, that allowed us to be more successful,” said Springthorpe. “The players deserve all the credit for making the changes needed for the team to be in the position to challenge for a conference championship. We are looking forward to the next eight months of training, preparing and team bonding so that we can have the opportunity to earn the right to play for the OVC championship next fall.”