Blue Raiders set to open Sun Belt slate

True Blue weekend at Dean A. Hayes Track and Soccer Stadium

September 23, 2010 · Athletic Communications

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Middle Tennessee soccer team will look to earn its first win of the conference season when it plays host to Denver at 7 p.m. Friday and North Texas at 1 p.m. Sunday in the opening two matches on the Sun Belt schedule at Dean A. Hayes Track and Soccer Stadium.

"It is good to get back home after playing four tough games on the road," head coach Aston Rhoden said. "We have two of the traditionally best teams in the conference coming in to play us here. Both games will be challenging for us, but I believe our non-conference season gave us good preparation and we hope everything we learned will get us a positive result in both games."

The Blue Raiders, in the midst of a three-game losing streak, competed last weekend at the Duke Nike Classic where they faced back-to-back nationally-ranked opponents for the first time in school history. Middle Tennessee dropped a 7-1 decision to defending national champion and No. 1 North Carolina before it fell 1-0 to the host Blue Devils, who were listed at No. 15 in the rankings.

Seniors Vanessa Mueggler and Emily Snowdon, along with junior Rebecca Cushing, represented the Blue Raiders on the all-tournament team following the event.

Mueggler, who has netted a team-high five goals and 11 points through the first nine games, leads Middle Tennessee offensively. The All-Sun Belt choice has reached one-half of her career-high scoring total thus far.

Denver, who owns a league-best 6-2 mark heading into Friday's match, is led by freshman Kristen Hamilton, the reigning Sun Belt Player of the Week, and Kaitlin Bast who is tied for second in the league with 12 points. Head coach Jeff Hooker's squad has won the last four league tournament titles.

North Texas is 5-3-1 entering the weekend but will play at Western Kentucky Friday night before making the trip to Murfreesboro. Head coach Jon Hedlund's Mean Green are the top scoring team in the league with 24 goals and 61 points with Kelsey Hodges setting the pace with six goals, while Julie Lackey has chipped in five scores.

The two matches are part of True Blue weekend at Dean A. Hayes Track and Soccer Stadium, as all fans are encouraged to come out and cheer on the Blue Raiders while wearing their blue.

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