The MTSU soccer team opened up SBC play this past weekend by hosting the two Sun Belt programs from the Natural State, Arkansas-Little Rock and Arkansas State inside the Dean A. Hayes Track and Soccer Stadium.
On Friday night, the Blue Raiders knocked off UALR 5-0. Two days later, MTSU beat ASU 2-1.
“Today probably was not our best performance, but a win is a win,” freshman defender Emily Jorgenson said. “We just want to build off this win and take it to Florida International and Florida Atlantic next week.
So far, this season the Blue Raiders have shown a lot of offensive firepower at the net. Coming into this weekend’s action, MTSU was ranked 3rd in the nation in goals scored with 3.5 goals per game. Another reason for the scoring barrage, MTSU has been tallying goals early in the match. It has scored eight goals in the first 15 minutes of the match. On Sunday, the mark increased to nine.
MTSU got on the board first in the sixth minute when freshman midfielder Kate Loye headed in the ball after a perfect cross from senior defender Allison Stallard to make the score 1-nil.
“In the women’s game, it’s very important to get off to a good start,” MTSU head coach Aston Rhoden said. “Our philosophy is to somehow get a handle on the game in the first 15 minutes. Especially, if we have to endure like we had to today.”
A few minutes later, the Red Wolves almost tied the score when its leading scorer and LSU transfer sophomore midfielder Christina Fink got the ball inside the box and had a wide open shot on MTSU freshman goalkeeper Kelsey Brouwer. She stood her ground and blocked not one, but two shots by Fink to keep the Blue Raiders ahead 1-nil. Coming into the match, ASU was ranked behind the Blue Raiders in several offensive categories in the SBC. Fink was third in the league in goals with four.
In the 43rd minute, the Blue Raiders added another goal when freshman defender Emily Jorgenson scored off a deflected attempt from senior midfielder Paige Goeglein to make the score 2-nil at the halftime break. It was the fourth goal given up by the Red Wolves senior goalkeeper Aja Aguirre over the weekend. On Friday night, the Red Wolves fell to Western Kentucky 2-nil. Before the weekend’s action, Aguirre was ranked first in the SBC in save percentage and goals against average.
“We just had to keep taken our chances,” Jorgenson said. “We just kept shooting and that’s what got us the two goals.”
ASU got on the board in the 70th minute when freshman forward Katey Carmichael sprinted pass the Blue Raider defense and scored in the open net to cut the MTSU advantage down to one, 2-1.The MTSU defense held the Red Wolves scoreless for the rest of the game and held on for the win and Browner improved to 5-2 on the season and had six saves in the win over the Red Wolves.
Two nights earlier, the Blue Raiders started off SBC play with a dominating 5-nil win against UALR. Loye and Goeglein each had two goals for MTSU. Senior forward Whitney Jorgenson added one of her own. Brouwer and fellow goalkeeper senior Jessica Gilchrist each had a save in the shutout win. Over the weekend, the Blue Raiders held its opponents to only one goal in the two wins.
Next weekend, the Blue Raiders (7-3) head to the Sunshine State for two key SBC matches. On Friday, it plays at Florida International with kickoff at 6 p.m. Two days later, the Blue Raider faces Florida Atlantic at 11:30 a.m. The next home match for MTSU will be against Troy on Oct. 12 at 7 p.m.