Blue Raiders win 1-0 over FAU

Pick up third-straight victory with shutout

September 28, 2008 · David Powell
BOCA RATON, Fla. - Middle Tennessee scored the deciding goal in the first half through a Fran Howell's penalty kick as the Blue Raiders maintained their unbeaten conference record with a 1-0 victory over the Florida Atlantic Owls on Sunday afternoon.

The Blue Raiders came into the match looking to pick up their fourth win in five matches after an impressive 2-1 win over Florida International on Friday night. Heather McDonnell and Shan Jones scored two first-half goals to lead the away side in their Sun Belt Conference opener.

The Blue Raiders started strongly and maintained efficient possession from the opening whistle, finding a breakthrough in the 25th minute. Recent substitute Jen Threlkeld received a pass at the top of the box from the near side and did well to cut around her defender before being shoved down in the area.

The resulting penalty kick by Howells was calmly finished into to the lower right corner of the goal past the outstretched hands of Florida Atlantic goalkeeper Jessica Badders. It was the first goal of the season for the talented sophomore defender.

Middle Tennessee continued to press with the lead and traded several chances with the opposition before finishing the half holding a 6-3 advantage in shots. Blue Raider goalkeeper Kela Casiple did not face a shot on goal in the opening period.

The free-flowing second half saw Middle Tennessee start to click on all cylinders with the defense performing exceptionally and making intelligent decisions to shut down Florida Atlantic. The Blue Raiders have conceded just one goal on their current three-match win streak.

Midfielder Vanessa Mueggler had a trio of chances to widen the lead towards the end of the half but her long drives all went just wide of the Owl net. The attack looked strong throughout the match but it was the sustained defense by forwards, midfielders and defenders alike that credit should go to for the victory.

Florida Atlantic's best chance to score came minutes before the final whistle when forward Ashley Mannarino found space on the right side of the area only for her breakaway shot to go off the outside of her foot and wide of the goal.

"Today we played one of our more complete matches and performed well during both halves," Head Coach Aston Rhoden said. "We got excellent contributions and support from the bench. I am really proud of our team and now we will shift focus to Troy and South Alabama."

The Blue Raiders continue Sun Belt Conference action when they host the Troy Trojans at Blue Raider Field on Friday evening. Kickoff is slated for 6:30 PM.

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