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Forrest Header Downs Rival WKU In OT

October 22, 2004 · MT Media Relations
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Freshman midfielder Kaley Forrest missed an opportunity to provide the game-winner against Western Kentucky in the final minute of regulation Friday but, given a second chance, she got more than she bargained for to give Middle Tennessee a thrilling 2-1 overtime victory Friday at Blue Raider Field.

The Franklin, Tenn., native headed in the winner on a free kick three minutes into overtime, redirecting a long ball from Lisa-Marie Woods into the right side of the net to end an intense, physical battle between the Blue Raiders (10-4-1, 4-1-1) and Lady Toppers (7-8-0, 2-4-0). The assist was Woods' second in the game.

"Honestly, I went up to challenge for the ball and didn't think I had a chance, but I was hoping for the best," Forrest said. "We came out and played hard against a very good Western Kentucky team. They gave us a good fight, but we worked hard for this win."

Middle Tennessee has a six-game unbeaten streak and established a new school record for consecutive home wins with nine. The squad also tied last year's team for most home wins in a season with seven.

Middle Tennessee tied the game 1-1 in the 49th minute when Katy Rayburn headed a free kick past Topper keeper Meredith Goodson on an assist from Woods. The sophomore defender said the victory was rewarding because it enables the Blue Raiders to keep their goals in front of them.

"Western Kentucky is our hard-core rival and we expected them to play hard for all 90 minutes," Rayburn said. "We didn't finish our chances but we were able to work together and find a way to get the win at the end. "

Western Kentucky put the Blue Raiders at a 1-0 deficit in the 40th minute when Alicia Dalby connected on a long free kick. It marked the first time Middle Tennessee has trailed in a home match this season, but the defense stiffened and freshman keeper Jenny Manis put forth one of her best efforts of the season.

Manis finished with 10 saves, including tipping away the potential game-winner in the 86th minute almost 18 yards from goal as Betsy Duncan volleyed a bouncing ball. Duncan also had a chance midway through the second half on a cross deep in the box, but Manis was up for the challenge.

The physical game featured 24 combined fouls, 12 on each team, and five yellow cards between the teams.

Middle Tennessee returns to action when it plays host to South Alabama next Friday at 3 p.m.

NOTES: The Blue Raiders are now unbeaten in seven overtime games over the last two seasons under Head Coach Aston Rhoden ... The overtime game against Western Kentucky was the third straight and fourth this season ... Middle Tennessee improved to 2-0-1 against Western Kentucky under Rhoden ... Middle Tennessee has won nine straight games at Blue Raider Field dating to last season, and it has won 13 of the last 15 home matches overall ... Freshman keeper Jenny Manis was named the Alexander Automotive Family Defensive Player of the Game. Manis finished with 10 saves and recorded her 10th victory of the season in goal ... Freshman Kaley Forrest was named the Alexander Automotive Family Offensive Player of the Game. Forrest headed the game-winner for her third goal of the season.

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