Photo by Devin P. Grimes / MTSU Sidelines
The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (0-4) fell in shutout fashion to the Tennessee Volunteers on Sunday by a final score of 2-0. This is the second consecutive home loss for the Raiders, as they are still in search of their first win of the 2017 season.
After both teams struggled for possession early, Khadija Shaw scored her sixth goal of the season in the 19th minute to give the Vols a 1-0 lead. Shaw was assisted on the play by Meghan Flynn.
In a game that was a defensive struggle the whole way, the Blue Raiders were not devoid of scoring opportunities. On a 3-on-1 break, Middle Tennessee’s Peyton DePriest kicked a shot that just missed the crossbar and was called for offsides.
Blue Raider goalkeeper Sydney Chalcraft had an excellent game despite the loss, including a big stop on a shot from former Blue Raider Salera Jordan in the 38th minute. When the first half horn sounded, the Volunteers took a slim 1-0 lead into halftime.
The second half started out similarly to the way the first half did, with both teams struggling to gain control. The Volunteers ended the drought with a goal from McKinley Burkett in the 66th minute that gave them a 2-0 lead.
When all was said and done, the Blue Raiders just couldn’t muster any offense and lost their fourth straight match to open the season by a final score of 2-0.
Despite the loss, head coach Aston Rhodes remained positive on the overall outlook of the team.
“I honestly think we came out with a decent amount of energy tonight,” Rhoden said. “Tennessee is a good team and they showed their quality, but I think we matched them tonight.”
This is the third loss in four games that has been decided by two goals or less. Rhoden believes that going forward, the team must be able to support one another and finish attacks consistently.
“We need to do a better job of supporting our strikers…we didn’t have the numbers that we needed, so we couldn’t sustain our attack,” Rhoden said. “That’s something that we definitely have to do better.”
The Blue Raiders will be back in action on Sunday, September 10 when they host the UIC Flames, with the match starting at 2 p.m.
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