Blue Raiders fall in 3-2 heartbreaker to Evansville

Photo by Kaitlyn Hungerford / MT Athletics

Story by Quenterious Mabone / Contributing Writer

The Blue Raider women’s soccer team returned to the ‘Boro to start their four-game homestand, but they fell in overtime to the Evansville Purple Aces on Sunday.

The Blue Raiders got off to a slow start, trailing 1-0 in the first half, but they managed to turn things around with two scoring goals in the second half. However, a game tying goal by the Purple Aces with 16 seconds left in the game forced overtime. In overtime, the Purple Aces scored off a corner kick that would seal their late comeback, handing the Blue Raiders their first home loss of the season.

Photo by Kaitlyn Hungerford / MT Athletics

“I think we performed well,” said Middle Tennessee Head Coach Aston Rhoden. “We were able to come back from a goal down to tie it and scored late to take the lead. It shows a lot about our character. The late goals we allowed showed some of our lack of experience. We’re a young team, and that showed today.”

The game started out with a back-and-forth movement of the ball from teams, leading to multiple saves, lots of fouls, and a few corner kicks. At the 41:36-mark, Purple Ace Jayme-Lee scored off a corner kick attempt that put the Purple Aces on the board first.

At the 55-minute mark in the second half, freshman Sascha Nielsen scored her first career goal on an assist from San Debien off a set play out of the corner. After a yellow card towards Evansville around the 85-minute mark, Blue Raider freshman Kirstine Lykke scored her first career goal off a corner side kick from Miya Lennon to put the Blue Raiders ahead.

The Blue Raiders’ freshmen stood out in this game, earning some high praise from Coach Aston Rhoden. “It was good seeing (Lykke and Nielsen) score,” Rhoden said. “When you have a young  

striker like Kirstine (Lykke), it’s always good to get her off the mark. Sascha (Nielsen) being a defender rarely ever gets the chance to go up and score goals, so it was good to see both of them contribute toward their team’s success.”

With 16 seconds left in the game, Purple Ace Emily Olson capitalized off a corner kick and scored to tie the game up, forcing overtime in Middle Tennessee. In overtime, the Purple Aces attempted a shot to win the game, but Blue Raider freshmen Talia Nowlan saved the ball, totaling her to four saves in her first start. After that, the Purple Aces received a corner kick, resulting in a game winning score by Jayme-Lee Hunter to finish the comeback, putting the Blue Raiders record at 1-2-1.

The Blue Raiders play again in Middle Tennessee this week on Thursday against Detroit Mercy at 7:00, followed by another Sunday match against Houston Baptist at 1:00.

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