Surging Blue Raiders turn back Arkansas StateOctober 23, 2005 · MT Media Relations
Holly Grogan scored a pair of goals, while Rebecca Rodriguez (one goal, one assist), Kaley Forrest (one goal), and Claire Ward (one goal, one assist) all tallied in the impressive road win that allowed Middle Tennessee to complete the regular-season road portion of its schedule with a 5-2-2 mark away from home.
The Blue Raiders (10-4-2, 4-1-2) kept alive their hopes of a Sun Belt regular-season title heading into next weekend's home finale against perennial league powers Denver (Friday) and North Texas (Sunday).
"It was very important to keep the momentum going as we went on the road this weekend and we were able to do that by playing two solid matches," Grogan said. "We need a little help from some other teams but we have put together a nice run to put ourselves in position to still have a chance for a championship going into the last weekend of the regular season."
The Blue Raiders, who outscored their two weekend foes by a combined 10-2 count, continued their scoring prowess against Arkansas State (5-12-1, 2-6-2) with four first-half goals to take control of the match from the outset.
"We have been able to get more players involved in our offense and that has been a big key," Middle Tennessee coach Aston Rhoden said. "It's hard to mark one player when several are proving themselves capable of being offensive threats. We have been playing well, and I really believe our tough non-conference road schedule has helped prepare us for this strong finish."
Ward started the scoring when she used nifty footwork to steal a pass at the top of the box and rifle home her third goal of the season in the ninth minute.
Forrest's impressive sophomore campaign continued when she scored her fifth goal of the season in the 25th minute on an assist from Rodriguez. Forrest has scored in three straight matches.
Arkansas State closed to within 2-1 in the 36th minute, but Rodriguez added to her gaudy scoring total just six minutes later when she scored on a corner kick in the 42nd minute to extend the lead to 3-1. It was Rodriguez' 11th goal of the season and moved her to within one of Laura Miguez' career record of 29.
Grogan capped an impressive first half with the first of her two goals when she took a cross from Ward and headed it into the back of the net, sending Middle Tennessee into the half with a 4-1 lead.
Grogan completed the scoring in the 74th minute on an unassisted goal to give her three goals, one assist and seven total points in the weekend sweep. She has seven goals and two assists on the season.
The Blue Raiders also had another sterling defensive effort, allowing just eight shots and the one goal. Middle Tennessee has allowed just three goals in its last four matches. Senior keeper Danielle Perreault, who had to stop just one shot on goal, improved to 9-4-2 this season.
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