JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Sept. 1, 2021) – The ETSU women’s soccer team face its toughest challenge of the infant stages of the season, heading to challenge a Radford team who also enters the Thursday night match undefeated.
A triumphant opening weekend saw the Bucs take care of business in their opening two matches, one of just three Southern Conference teams entering Thursday without a blemish on their record. After a controlled 1-0 win over Presbyterian to open the season inside Summers-Taylor Stadium, the Bucs matched their score line on the road by using a double-overtime goal to get their first overtime win in the last 14 attempts when they pushed past UNCA last Sunday.
ETSU at Radford
Thursday, September 2 | 7 p.m. | Radford, Va.
Head Coach Jay Yelton has enjoyed being able to implement more depth to his side so far this season, already playing 22 of the 24 healthy and eligible players currently on the roster. 14 Buccaneers have attributed to the 40-15 shot advantage they hold two games in, limiting their opposition to just four shots on target.
Shu Ohba (Fujisawa, Japan) has come in and claimed the number one spot in goal, earning to shutouts in as many games in her freshman campaign. The Japan native has tallied four saves, showing an ability and quality in her distribution. The Buccaneer shot stopper has been safeguarded by the duo of Pamela Penaloza (Bogota, Colombia) and Sydney Somogyi (Germantown, Tenn.). The two helped the Bucs to only two shots allowed on the evening against Presbyterian, the second-fewest allowed in program history. Somogyi also got on the score sheet offensively, netting the game-winning goal in the 102nd minute to push her side past the Bulldogs.
The depth in midfield has been on full display, Kendall King (Charlotte, N.C.) helping lead a rather youthful area of the pitch. The senior grabbed her sixth season of her career in the win against UNCA, her corner setting up the game-winning goal. Her and Andjela Kricak (Krusevac, Serbia) both hold six assists in their time in the Blue and Gold, both the active leaders on the roster.
As Sarah Connolly (Bollygowan, Northern Ireland) and her team-leading 16 goals are forced to watch the season from the sidelines as she recovers from a lower leg injury, the Bucs have had players step up to fill the missing void of goals left behind. Five players have attempted four or more shots in the opening two games, the most electrifying spark coming through Katie Philips (Tega Cay, S.C.) and her recent switch to a more attacking role. The junior nabbed a 5th minute goal in the season-opener, having a penalty waved away from her only moments later after running clear on goal.
Entering the season with a third-place projection in the Big South, the Highlanders have wasted no time getting off the mark. In two weeks of play, Radford has earned three Big South Player of the Week nominations. Led by freshman Kat Parris, who leads the team in points with two goals and four assists, the Highlanders opened their season with a Parris game winner to sneak past Mount St. Mary’s. Radford then put seven past SoCon foe Wofford in a shutout victory. Brianna Oliver leads the group with three goals on the season, while Lauren Seedlock holds down the goal with her two starts on the year, recording a .750 save percentage.
The two teams will meet for the 19th time on Thursday evening, the Bucs holding the advantage with a 9-7-2 margin. The last match, however, fell in the way of Thursday’s hosts after the Highlanders outplayed the Bucs to a 2-0 win at Summers-Taylor in 2019. After a six-game winning streak over the Highlanders was snapped in 2017, Radford has enjoyed success in the two most recent games in the series. Radford also holds a 5-4 advantage when hosting the match.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
With a hot start to the season, the Buccaneers earned their first conference award on Tuesday with the announcement that Sydney Somogyi (Germantown, Tenn.) was named SoCon Defensive Player of the Week. Her debut performances for the Blue and Gold saw the Bucs allow the second-fewest shots in the season-opening shutout win over Presbyterian. The defender followed the performance with another clean sheet victory over UNCA, tallying the game-winning goal in the 102nd minute to see the Bucs to their first 2-0 start since 2016.
The Bucs broke their longstanding streak of overtime matches without a win, having previously played in 13 overtime games without a victory (0-8-5). The 102nd minute winner also saw the latest goal in program history since a 109th minute goal by Summer Peterson helped push the Bucs past Howard on September 14th, 2014.