Story by Timothy Carroll / Sports Reporter
Photo by Brent Beerends / MT Athletic Communications
The Middle Tennessee Blue Raider soccer team (0-2) played in their home opener on Sunday, taking on their in-state rivals Austin Peay State University. In an exhilarating game that could’ve gone either way, the Blue Raiders fell just short in double overtime, losing to APSU by a final score of 2-1.
Austin Peay struck first with an early goal in the third minute of the first half, with a shot off the foot of Claire LaRose.
This gave the Rebels the lead until freshman forward Peyton DePriest returned the favor and scored a goal in the 26th minute to tie the game, her second goal in as many games.
The score remained tied at one throughout the rest of regulation and led to the first sudden-death overtime period.
Each team fought hard and had opportunities to win, but neither were able to break through, forcing a second overtime. The Rebels struck quickly into the second period of overtime with McKenzie Dixon’s goal in the 101st minute however, and the Raiders fell 2-1 in their home opener.
Though it wasn’t the result he would’ve liked, head coach Aston Rhoden praised his teams efforts in the field and showed appreciate for their play against a tough opponent.
“I think we had a good overall game, Austin Peay was a good strong team,” Rhoden said. “I think anyone could have won this game.”
An in-state rivalry game is always going to be a tough fought game and while it may not have been a conference opponent, it still had the feeling of an important late-season match-up.
“It brings a different dimension to the game, one that closest simulates a conference game, the importance of a conference game, and that’s why we play these games,” Rhoden said. “We want to be able to simulate things that we are going to see in conference.”
The Blue Raiders will be away for their next contest on Friday, August 25, when they take on Jacksonville State at 7 p.m. in Jacksonville, Alabama.
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