Four Blue Raider soccer players named to All-Sun Belt Teams

Three make First Team; another named to Second Team

November 2, 2010 · Athletic Communications

NEW ORLEANS - The Middle Tennessee soccer team, which finished second in the league's regular-season standings, placed four players on the All-Sun Belt Teams, including three on the First Team, it was announced at a pre-tournament banquet Tuesday night by the Sun Belt office. The four selections tie FIU for second most in the conference, behind the seven from regular-season champion Denver.

Blue Raiders earning All-Sun Belt accolades were redshirt sophomore Regina Thomas, senior Vanessa Mueggler and senior Fran Howells on the First Team, and sophomore Whitney Jorgenson on the Second Team. The honors for Thomas and Jorgenson are the first of their respective careers, while Mueggler picks up her third overall accolade and Howells receives her second. Mueggler and Howells are first-time First Teamers after previously being tabbed to the league's Second Team in their careers.

Thomas has helped spark a Blue Raider offensive attack that outscored its opponents 23-to-5 in Sun Belt matches, on its way to a second-place ranking in the league standings. She has scored two goals and added five assists for nine points in league matches but is tied for third on the team with four scores and in third by herself with 15 points overall after sharing for the team lead with seven assists. Using her outstanding speed on the outside flanks, she tallied goals at UALR and against Louisiana. She also is the team's most accurate shooter when it comes to putting attempts on goal, with 28-of-41 shots being either a goal or saved for a 68.3 shot-on-goal percentage. The redshirt sophomore, in her second season at Middle Tennessee, has started 19-of-20 matches this fall.

Mueggler has had the best season of her career and surpassed her previous All-Sun Belt campaigns by ranking among the conference and national leaders in goals (12), assists (7), points (31) and shots (68). She was named the Oct. 12 SBC Player of the Week, the first of her career, after scoring twice to beat previously unbeaten FIU. The senior has four game-winning goals, three in league play, including OT winners against North Texas and Troy. Seven of her career-high goals have come against conference opponents, scoring at opportune times for the Blue Raiders. When not scoring, she sets up her teammates, as evidenced by six assists in conference play for 20 points in SBC matches. She was named to the All-Duke Nike Classic All-Tournament Team after scoring against No. 1 North Carolina.

Howells lived up her to Preseason All-Sun Belt honor by helping anchor a solid defense for the Blue Raiders this fall. Middle Tennessee has not allowed an opponent to score more than one goal in 12 consecutive matches, including all 11 in conference action, dating back to mid-September. The Blue Raiders have posted seven shutouts among their 12 victories, including five consecutive heading into the conference tournament, helping elevate the squad to a second-place standing in the Sun Belt standings. During the five-straight shutouts, Howells and Middle Tennessee only allowed one opponent more than eight shots against. Howells uses her size, experience and expertise to her advantage, either winning balls in the air or shutting down some of the top scoring threats across the conference for the Blue Raider defense.

Jorgenson has had a breakout campaign as an attacking forward for the Blue Raiders, ranking second on the squad with seven goals and 20 points, while sharing the team lead with seven assists. Her game has reached a new level this fall, tallying five of her seven goals in conference play after not having a score at all in SBC action as a freshman. Three of the five league goals have been game winners, including tallies at Arkansas State and back-to-back home wins over Louisiana and ULM. She scored a pair of goals in each of the wins at Arkansas State and against Louisiana. She also has an added dimension to her game, taking most of the team's corner kicks, and contributing assists several times off the set piece. Her speed allows her to make the most of her opportunities, placing 15 of her 24 attempts in Sun Belt matches shots on goal.

Middle Tennessee enters the Sun Belt Tournament at 4 p.m. Wednesday as the No. 2 seed in the eight-team field. The Blue Raiders begin action against No. 7 seed Florida Atlantic at the WKU Soccer Complex in Bowling Green, Ky.

2010 Sun Belt Conference Soccer All-Conference Teams:
First Team
Kaitlin Bast (Denver, Sophomore, Forward)
Chelsea Leiva (FIU, Freshman, Forward)
Mallory Outerbridge (WKU, Junior, Forward)
Regina Thomas (Middle Tennessee, R-Sophomore, Forward)
Nicholette DiGiacomo (Denver, Freshman, Midfielder)
Vanessa Mueggler (Middle Tennessee, Senior, Midfielder)
Ellen Scarfone (North Texas, Sophomore, Midfielder)
Fran Howells (Middle Tennessee, Senior, Defender)
Jessie Rogers (Denver, Senior, Defender)
Katy Van Lieshout (Denver, Sophomore, Defender)
Lara Campbell (Denver, Sophomore, Goalkeeper)

Second Team
Whitney Jorgenson (Middle Tennessee, Sophomore, Forward)
Ruth Sutcliffe (Troy, Sophomore, Forward)
Kalie Vaughn (Denver, Sophomore, Forward)
Bria Beardsley (Denver, Junior, Midfielder)
Mayara Da Fonseca Bordin (FIU, Senior, Midfielder)
Nicole DiPerna (FIU, Freshman, Midfielder)
Jill Pinder (Troy, Senior, Midfielder)
Janelle Blake (Florida Atlantic, Senior, Defender)
Kaylyn Pratt (WKU, Junior, Defender)
Victoria Miliucci (FIU, Junior, Defender)
Libby Stout (WKU, Junior, Goalkeeper)

SBC Co-Freshmen of the Year
Nicholette DiGiacomo (Denver, Midfielder)
Chelsea Leiva (FIU, Forward)

SBC Player of the Year
Kaitlin Bast (Denver, Sophomore, Forward)

SBC Coach of the Year
Jeff Hooker, Denver

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