Blue Raiders fall 2-1 to North Texas

Comeback effort falls one goal short

October 24, 2008 · David Powell
DENTON, Texas - Middle Tennessee scored midway through the second half but saw their strong comeback effort fall just short as they were defeated 2-1 by North Texas at Mean Green Soccer Field on Friday night.

The Blue Raiders (9-6-2, 7-2-0) came into the game winners of three-straight matches after picking up two home wins over Louisiana-Monroe and Louisiana-Lafayette last weekend.

North Texas (13-2-1, 7-1-1) picked up back-to-back 1-0 victories over Arkansas State and Arkansas-Little Rock last weekend. With Denver losing 1-0 to Western Kentucky earlier on Friday, the Blue Raiders had a prime opportunity to move into first-place in the Sun Belt with a win over the Mean Green.

North Texas took the lead in the 14th minute when Kelsey Perlman received a cross-field pass from midfielder Gennifer Hurst. The forward drove it past Blue Raider goalkeeper Kela Casiple and into the back of the net for her 10th goal of the season. The goal broke Middle Tennessee's shutout streak at three matches.

The Mean Green doubled their advantage in the 48th minute. Shannon Gorrie whipped an in-swinging corner kick that was headed in by Brittany Cleveland for her fourth goal of the season.

It was the first time that Middle Tennessee had trailed by more than one goal since finding themselves behind 3-0 to Oral Roberts on September 15 at the Tulsa Soccer Invitational.

The Blue Raiders piled on the pressure as the second half wore on and finally found a breakthrough in the 71st minute. Vanessa Mueggler nailed a cross into the box and it was Jen Threlkeld who rose the highest to nod it home from eight yards out.

The strike was her third of the season and moved her into eighth place all-time for career goals in school history.

"It was a disappointing loss but we showed great effort today," Head Coach Aston Rhoden said. "We now have to shift our focus and be ready for an important match against Denver on Sunday."

Kickoff for the match against the Pioneers is scheduled for 2 p.m. CDT.

Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.