MT returns to pitch with pair of exhibition matches

Blue Raiders host Belmont on Friday, Martin Methodist Sunday

August 15, 2013 · @MTAthletics

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - After a week of preseason training, Middle Tennessee soccer returns to the pitch this weekend for pair of exhibition matches at the Dean A. Hayes Track & Soccer Stadium. The Raiders host Belmont on Friday at 7 p.m., before closing out the weekend with Martin Methodist on Sunday at 4 p.m.

The Blue Raiders are coming off a historic season with a overall record of 14-5-1 and clinching a share of the Sun Belt Conference regular season title with a mark of 8-1-1. This season marks a new opportunity as Middle Tennessee opens 2013 as members of Conference USA.

With the loss of six seniors from the 2012 squad, MT welcomes 11 new faces this season that join 13 sophomores and four juniors. The Blue Raider roster is one of the youngest in the country, joining two other NCAA Division I programs (Jacksonville State and VMI) with no seniors.

Returning to the lineup includes 2012 Sun Belt Freshman of the Year Kate Loye. The sophomore, who was named to the Conference USA Preseason Player to Watch list, totaled 20 points in just 17 matches. Other top returners include Tori Hawkins and Amalie Anderdal, who each scored four goals last season. Goalkeeper Kelsey Brouwer returns from a strong rookie season, which saw her post an 8-2 mark with a 1.10 Goals Against Average.

Belmont finished 2012 with an 8-9-2 mark and 4-4-2 play in the Ohio Valley Conference. The Raiders upended the Bruins in the regular season last year with a 3-0 shutout.

On Sunday, NAIA member Martin Methodist visits Murfreesboro after recording an impressive 15-4 mark last season. The RedHawks transition to a new league, the Southern States Athletic Conference, and were picked to finish third in the preseason poll released last month.

Middle Tennessee officially opens the 2013 campaign at UT Martin on Sunday, Aug. 25. The home opener is slated for Friday, Aug. 30 when MT welcomes Lipscomb to Hayes Stadium.

This weekend, the Blue Raiders will recognize campers who attended the Aston Rhoden Soccer Academy during the summer. Live action of this weekend's matches can be found through Twitter @MT_Soccer.

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