Photo by MT Athletics
Story by Rian Conard / Contributing Writer
The Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders welcomed North Texas to Dean Hayes Stadium in their final home game of the season on Wednesday. The Blue Raiders fell 2-1 in a tough loss but are still in position to secure a spot in the C-USA tournament.
“We did a lot of good things tonight. I felt like the team played hard for the entire game and that their performance wasn’t worthy of a loss,” said head coach Aston Rhoden.
The first half teams traded blows in the early minutes of the game as Peyton DePriest scored within 15 minutes. The Mean Green Eagles came right back to even the score with an Aaliyah Nolan goal putting the game at a 1-1 deadlock.
The second half was full of missed chances and a lot of intense battles as both teams came out looking to take control of the game. However, neither team’s defense folded, and the game was forced into double overtime.
Nolan came up big for the Mean Green again in overtime to put North Texas over the top 2-1 and seal the game. Despite the loss, the Blue Raiders are still in contention for a postseason bid and hold a 4-4-1 conference record and 9-6-1 overall mark.
“Trying to make the postseason is very difficult. We have 14 teams in this conference, and only eight teams go on,” Rhoden said. “We are in a good position, and we are playing for a seed. It’s what we worked for the whole season so, hopefully, it goes our way.”
The Blue Raiders will travel to Birmingham, Alabama, to take on the UAB Blazers for the final game of the season. With a win, the Blue Raiders will lock up a spot in the C-USA tournament.
“I think there’s always pressure in conference games toward the end of the season, so we never take games for granted and as long as we win Saturday that’s all that matters,” DePriest said.
The game between the Blue Raiders and the Blazers is set for 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27.
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