Blue Raiders end North Texas' 23-game home unbeaten streak
Grogan, Morgan set career, season records in 3-2 triumphOctober 22, 2006 · MT Media Relations
DENTON, Texas - Middle Tennessee's soccer team stared adversity in the face and responded from its only conference loss of the season with a resounding 3-2 win against three-time defending Sun Belt champion North Texas here Sunday.
The Blue Raiders (15-3, 9-1) were without starting midfielder Katie Daley and defender Katy Rayburn who were serving a one-game suspension after receiving a red card in the loss at Denver Friday; however Kaley Forrest and Caitlin Reeves were outstanding as Middle Tennessee kept alive its hopes of a regular-season title.
Middle Tennessee is tied with North Texas at second and holds the tie-breaker and each team is one game behind Denver. A Middle Tennessee win against Western Kentucky in the regular-season finale Friday, couple with a North Texas win at Denver would create a three-way tie for the regular-season champion. Denver wins the title outright if it beats North Texas Friday.
Kala Morgan became Middle Tennessee's single-season points and goals leader with a goal and an assist in the win, while Holly Grogan assisted Morgan's record-setting goal and scored the game-winner in the 64th minute. Freshman Jen Threlkeld scored her eighth goal of the season in a return to her home state.
Middle Tennessee shattered several North Texas streaks with the win, ending the Mean Green's 23-game home unbeaten streak, as well as their 12-game unbeaten streak overall.
"It was a very good win, a quality win, against a tough team on the road," Middle Tennessee coach Aston Rhoden said. "I can't tell you how excited I am for our players and how proud I am of them for the way they responded from a tough loss and for the manner in which they approached today's challenge. We've always stressed team at Middle Tennessee and this is a great example as to why. Today our team found a way to stay in the championship race by doing something 23 other teams in a row have not been able to do and that's win at North Texas."
Middle Tennessee's defense was strong throughout as North Texas (13-3-2, 9-1) wouldn't score until the 55th minute and then added a late goal to account for the final score. Blue Raider keeper Erynn Murray was a vital cog in the team's win. The freshman had a career-high nine saves as she thwarted several Mean Green attacks, including one futile rally in the final 12 minutes. Middle Tennessee began the scoring when Threlkeld scored on an assist from Morgan in the 33rd minute from the left side of the box. The score remained 1-0 until the half but North Texas evened the score on Kelly Lunsford penalty kick in the 55th minute.
The Mean Green lead was short-lived as Morgan padded her nation's lead for goals and points by supplying record-setting score less than two minutes later. Morgan scored her 20th goal of the season when she directed a pass from Grogan, also among the nation's Top 10 in goals, points and assists, into the net. Morgan became the Blue Raiders' single-season record holder for goals (20) and points (48) with the score, surpassing Debs Brereton in both categories.
Grogan supplied the 11th game-winner of her illustrious career in the 64th minute on an assist from Morgan to give the Blue Raiders a big insurance goal. With her 15th goal of the season, Grogan moved into second on the career points list at Middle Tennessee with 81 - six behind Laura Miguez-Howarth. Grogan also became the career leader in goals at Middle Tennessee with 32. She's third on the career assists list with 18.
The Blue Raiders also became the highest-scoring team in school history with 72 goals this season, besting the mark of 69 in 2004. Middle Tennessee will conclude the regular season when it plays host to Western Kentucky Friday at Blue Raider Field on "Senior Night." Game time is 7:30 p.m.
Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.
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