Monday, September 25, 2023

Blue Raider Soccer Finishes Home Schedule with Draw on Senior Day


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Caleb Luketic//Contributing Writer

The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (8-5-3, 4-2-2) Women’s Soccer team hosted the Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters (11-7-1, 4-4-1) in a pivotal Conference USA matchup on senior night in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

 “[The seniors] have endured some adversity… but there is a certain level of closeness and commitment they have for each other.” Head Coach Aston Rhoden said about his senior class. “I think that has helped balance the rest of the team.”

The Blue Raiders started the game off quick getting a shot on goal, but they were unable to have repeated success against the Techsters in the first half of the action. Louisiana Tech had opportunities early and often, and the best chance came when MTSU keeper Kelsey Brouwer was not in goal.

Brouwer took a free kick near mid-field, but the kick was blocked by a La Tech mid-fielder. Brouwer had to race back to the goal to play her position, while the Techsters had a breakaway.  The senior goalkeeper was able to dive and cut off the path of the striker, and Cameron Cox made the play of the game by deflecting the Techster’s shot to keep the score knotted at 0.

“Kelsey Brouwer has been fantastic all year, and today was just another good, strong and solid performance from her,” Rhoden said about his senior goalkeeper. “It’s always good when you have a quality goalkeeper, a quality person, and a quality leader, so we are really going to miss her.”

The game from that point was back and forth with little offensive opportunities. Each team couldn’t maintain possession of the ball long enough to set anything up offensively.

The second half began with more back and forth play until the Blue Raiders maintained possession. Middle Tennessee was able to create multiple scoring opportunities, but were unable to get shots on target.

 The Techsters goalkeeper Kylee Seto was able to stop any opportunity the Blue Raiders had. She ended the second half with five saves, but the best one came against the Blue Raider’s Cameron Cox.

Cox received a cross from a teammate inside the box, fired it at the net, and Seto came diving across the goal to deflect the ball out of bounds. No chance would be as close the remainder of Sunday’s game for the Blue Raiders.

 “In this game, we certainly created some opportunities late in the game, but we didn’t take advantage of them,” Rhoden said.

The second half would come to a close with the score tied at 0, forcing overtime, but both teams would receive one point in conference play for reaching that point in the game.

 Overtime was filled with the Blue Raiders controlling possession of the ball, and they had multiple shots that were near the goal that were recovered by the La Tech defenders.

The Techsters had their own scoring opportunities in both overtime periods; however, Brouwer was having none of it, as she stopped every shot that came her way.

The game ended in a 0-0 draw, and MTSU ended with 18 total shots, while La Tech ended with 13.

 “We need to be more composed on the ball. We felt we needed a result from this game, and I think that got us to rush things a bit,” Rhodes said. “We have to be able to maintain our composure throughout 90 minutes because that is going to be critical in the conference tournament.”

Middle Tennessee closes out the regular season on the road, facing UTEP and Old Dominion before starting the Conference USA tournament.

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