Photo by Brent Beerends/MT Athletics
Middle Tennessee Soccer (3-7-1, 1-3 C-USA) was looking to end the weekend on a high note after a loss to Florida Atlantic on Friday night. The fans inside of Dean A. Hayes stadium Sunday afternoon were shown a thrilling double-overtime battle and an excellent performance from Haley Nishimoto.
Unfortunately for those fans, the home team wasn’t able to come out on top. Florida International Panthers (2-7-2, 1-2-1 C-USA) took the victory in thrilling fashion, winning 3-2.
History would have suggested that the Blue Raiders would have taken the game with ease. Middle Tennessee had beaten FIU in the previous two meetings, and the Blue Raiders also boasted a 7-1 record against FIU in Murfreesboro coming into Sunday.
MTSU struggled to get the ball into the net early in the contest. They took 19 shots, including six shots on goal. Although they struggled early, they capitalized when the game mattered.
The first Blue Raider goal came at the 59-minute mark of the second half as Freshman Haley Nishimoto followed up a miss off the goal post and cashed in the easy, yet crucial, score.
Nishimoto continued her late game heroism with another goal at the 82-minute mark in the second half.
Prior to Sunday’s matchup, Nishimoto hadn’t scored since the season opener where she accounted for the game winner against Jacksonville State.
The Blue Raider defense allowed an early goal 10minutes into the game, but the they would stiffen and not allow another score until the 48-minute mark in the second half.
Freshman goalkeeper Sydney Chalcraft recorded two saves on the day, giving her 55 total saves on the season.
The Blue Raiders will look to put a stop to their three game skid when they travel to take on rival and conference leader Western Kentucky (8-3, 3-0 C-USA). The game is scheduled for Oct. 7 at 6 p.m.