CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (GoMocs.com)--- University of Tennessee at Chattanooga senior Crystal Mackezyk (Columbia, Tenn.) scored a pair of goals in the Mocs 5-2 women's soccer loss to Austin Peay Sunday evening at Morgan Brothers Soccer Field.
Mackezyk's first goal came just one minute after the Lady Govs connected with the net early in the game. Freshman Brandy Herrera (Nashville, Tenn.) sent a corner kick to the front of the net and Mackezyk headed the pass home to make it 1-1 in the 10th minute.
Chattanooga would take the lead at 22:20 on another goal from Mackezyk this time assisted by junior Logan Higgins (Louisville, Ky.) to make it 2-1. Austin Peay's Merritt Monger, however, would tie the game with a shot into the lower right corner in the 33rd minute and then score the eventual game winner at the 36 minute mark on a penalty kick.
Late in the game, Austin Peay realized that the Mocs were playing with an untested keeper and added a pair of late goals. Natalie Irwin (Nashville, Tenn.) a midfielder, sat out last season recovering from an injury from her high school playing days. After UTC lost both its starting and backup keepers over the weekend, she stepped up to guard the net.
“Natalie did a great job,” UTC head coach J.D. Kyzer said. “She had a great game. Their shots either went in or she made a great save.”
Her work was even more difficult with injuries to two starting defenders during the game. She recorded 10 saves in the contest with the majority of the shots being made late. The Lady Govs outshot the Mocs 25-10 and both teams each took two corners.
“We're pretty young anyway,” Kyzer said. “But we had more freshmen on the field than we normally would. It was a great game and I'm proud of the way the team battled and never gave up. It was a tough weekend on and off the field, but I'm proud of the way the team handled themselves.”
Kyzer said halfway between Asheville, N.C., and Clarksville, Tenn., on Saturday the team bus caught fire and a new one eventually had to pick the team up from the interstate. Later Saturday night several members of the team became ill with what was determined to have possibly been food poisoning.
“We started the weekend with everybody healthy,” Kyzer said. “But even with adversity, we're excited about this season.”
The Lady Govs improve to 1-1 on the year. Chattanooga falls to 0-2 and will host Tennessee Temple Friday evening for its first home game of the season. The game is set to kick off at 7 p.m. Admission is free.