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Road series in conference play awaits Middle Tennessee

Trip begins at 4 p.m. Friday in Jonesboro, Ark.

September 30, 2010 · Athletic Communications

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Middle Tennessee soccer team will open a four-game Sun Belt road swing with a pair of matches in Arkansas this weekend, beginning at 4 p.m. Friday at Arkansas State in Jonesboro, Ark. The Blue Raiders will also face UALR at 1 p.m. Sunday in the two-match set.

"We are getting ready for two difficult games on the road," head coach Aston Rhoden said. "It is always tough playing conference opponents on the road and both of these teams have played well against us at their places."

Middle Tennessee is coming off a thrilling, 2-1 double overtime home win against North Texas Sunday. Senior All-Sun Belt honoree Vanessa Mueggler netted both goals, including the game winner at 101:54, to lift the Blue Raiders to the victory.

Mueggler ranks among the league's best in offensive numbers entering the weekend. She is currently tied for first with seven goals, ranks second with 37 shots, places third with 15 points and tied for third with two game-winning goals.

Redshirt sophomore Regina Thomas is tied for sixth in the Sun Belt with three assists and junior Shan Jones is tied for fifth with 30 shots, while junior Rebecca Cushing is sixth with 41 saves in the goalkeeper statistics.

"I feel like we are in a good place and will just have to see if we can continue to play well and finish the chances we get. Hopefully, we can get that done on the road this weekend."

Arkansas State brings a 4-5-1, 0-2 SBC record into Friday's match under the direction of first-year head coach Tafadzwa Ziyenge. Michele Clark, who has 12 points, including five goals, through the team's opening 10 matches leads the Red Wolves offensively.

"Arkansas State is off to the best start it has ever had. They will be well organized, well disciplined and it will be a tough match."

Preseason Sun Belt Player of the Year Christina Veasley spearheads the UALR attack. She has 14 points, including six goals, entering the weekend for the Trojans, who boast a 4-7, 0-2 SBC mark entering the weekend.

"UALR beat us last year here at our place. They have essentially the same group back, or at least those players who were dominant for them last fall. Being the second game of the weekend will make it difficult as well."

Middle Tennessee currently holds a 4-7, 1-1 SBC record as Rhoden continues his climb towards a coaching victory milestone. The Blue Raider mentor, in his ninth season, needs just two more wins to reach 100 for his Middle Tennessee career.

The Blue Raiders will conclude the four-game road conference swing by traveling to Florida next weekend for matches against Florida Atlantic and FIU.

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