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Blue Raiders surge into SBC Championships with 3-0 win against North Texas

October 30, 2005 · MT Media Relations
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Momentum is on Middle Tennessee's side heading into the 2005 Sun Belt Conference championships in Mobile, Ala., later this week.

Middle Tennessee (12-4-2, 6-1-2) broke open a close game with regular-season champion North Texas with three second-half goals and rolled to a 3-0 win to extend its unbeaten streak to seven in front of 420 at Blue Raider Field Sunday afternoon. In the process, the Blue Raiders denied North Texas (13-3-2, 8-1-0) an unblemished league slate and ended the Mean Green's impressive 15-match unbeaten streak.

Seedings and times for the SBC Championships will be announced later Sunday evening.

The regular-season finale served as "Senior Day" for Rachel Holmes, Danielle Perreault, Claire Ward, and Melissa Wellman and the Blue Raiders made sure the quartet went out in resounding fashion. All four players factored heavily into the historic win as it completed the weekend sweep of perennial league powers Denver and North Texas; marking the first time Middle Tennessee has beaten both teams in the same season.

It also was a historic day for junior forward Rebecca Rodriguez, who moved into a tie with Laura Miguez atop the Middle Tennessee all-time goals scored list with her 28th career goal and 12th of the season, which is tied for fourth most in a single-season. The Dallas, Texas native also moved into a tie for third on the single-season assists list with her ninth helper.

However, the day was reserved for the four outgoing seniors and all were heavily involved in the outcome. Holmes scored her fourth goal, Ward dished out a pair of assists, Perreault was in goal for her 11th win and fifth shutout of the season, and Wellman was key in the midfield throughout the second half as Middle Tennessee controlled the match and held North Texas scoreless for only the second time this season.

"This was a complete team win and that's the way we have been playing during this winning streak," Perreault said. "It's nice to go out with a win on 'Senior Day' with your family here watching and then to have such a good showing against a team as good as North Texas is even more special. We are playing well going into the tournament and this is when you want to be playing your best."

Middle Tennessee was at its best Sunday as three different players - Holly Grogan, Holmes and Rebecca Rodriguez - scored. Ward was credited with two assists and Rodriguez added another as the Blue Raiders scored a season high three goals against the stingy North Texas defense. The Mean Green had allowed just four goals in eight previous conference matches before surrendering three to Middle Tennessee Sunday.

After a scoreless first half, Middle Tennessee got on the scoreboard in the 49th minute as Grogan continued her scoring binge. Rodriguez slipped a pass through two defenders and Grogan collected it in the box, beat a defender and rattled the back of the net for her 10th goal of the season and sixth in the last four matches.

The intense and physical match remained a tight 1-0 contest until Holmes broke loose down the side, received a well-placed pass from Ward, and tapped into the empty net for a 2-0 lead in the 73rd minute.

The Middle Tennessee defense controlled the lead and the match. The Blue Raiders collected their sixth shutout of the season and allowed the high-powered North Texas offense just six shots in shutting the Mean Green out for the first time in 16 matches.

Rodriguez put an exclamation point on the strong showing when she guided a kick out of the reach of outstretched North Texas keeper Kandice Ellis for the final 3-0 score. Ward was credited with her fifth assist of the season on the play.

NOTES: Middle Tennessee became the first program in Sun Belt soccer history to beat North Texas and Denver in the same season, beating Denver Friday and completing the tough weekend sweep against North Texas on Sunday ...The win against North Texas completed a 4-0 record against Sun Belt teams at Blue Raider Field in 2005 and extended the Blue Raiders' home win streak to 10 against league foes dating back to Oct. 19, 2005. The streak began with a 4-3 overtime win against the Mean Green ... Middle Tennessee's seven-match unbeaten streak is the second-longest in school history. The Blue Raiders had an 11-match unbeaten streak ended earlier in 2005 ... Middle Tennessee's 12 wins are the second most in a single season. The school record is 13, established in 2004 ... Rebecca Rodriguez tied former teammate Laura Miguez atop the Blue Raider all-time goals list with her 28th career goal against North Texas. It was her 12th goal of the season ... Sophomore Holly Grogan has scored six goals in the team's last four matches ... With one goal against North Texas, Grogan moved into sixth on the career goals list with 17. Her 10 goals this season are tied for sixth on the single-season list.

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