Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Soccer: Despite shaky start, Blue Raiders defeat Western Carolina


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Photo by Devin P. Grimes / MTSU Sidelines Archive

In one of their final games before the beginning of conference play, the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders (5-2) beat the Western Carolina Catamounts (3-3-2) on Sunday by a score of 4-0 at home at Dean Hayes Stadium.

Fresh off of a two-game winning streak that saw wins against LIU Brooklyn and Valparaiso, the Blue Raiders were set to face the Catamounts, but the game didn’t start out the way the Blue Raiders would have hoped for.

Shaky start, injuries and a lightning delay momentarily plague Blue Raiders

The first period saw a lot of bad penalties from the Blue Raiders. MT committed a couple of early fouls including an offsides call and a yellow card to Senior Sydney Navarro.

Injuries also set the Blue Raiders back as sophomore Peyton DePriest came out of the game with a mild injury in the 20th minute. Head coach Aston Rhoden said they expect her back as soon as possible.

Soon after the injury, the game was delayed for an hour due to lightning.

MT wins third Straight 4-0 game

After losing in the Florida State match-up, the Blue Raiders have now won three straight games by a combined score of 12-0.

The Blue Raiders started off slow but turned it up a notch around the 16-minute mark with a goal by freshman Hannah Tillett, which was assisted by both junior Amber Hoot and DePriest. Tillett scored two more goals in this game in the 40th  and 60th minute with assists from freshmen Olivia Hansen and redshirt sophomore Sam Debien.

Tillett has now scored three goals in her first seven games with the Blue Raiders.

“It’s very exciting,” Tillett said. “I would hope coming in I would be able to make an impact like that. So, actually being able to do it is very exciting.”

“Hannah has done exceptionally well for a freshman,” Rhoden said.” I think just her ability on the ball, her calmness, composure and her maturity have been a big plus for her.”

Following the lightning delay, Navarro scored in the 34th minute with an assist from Hoot and sophomore Elizabeth Watts.

What’s next?

The Blue Raiders will play in their first Conference USA game at home on Sunday, September 16 against the University of Texas at San Antonio (3-3)  at 1 p.m.

To contact Sports Editor David Chamberlain, email sports@mtsusidelines.com.

For more sports stories, follow us on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines and on Twitter and Periscope at @Sidelines_Sport.

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