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MT heads to ECU to finish regular season

C-USA Tournament appearance on the line

October 30, 2013 · @MTAthletics

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Middle Tennessee soccer team will travel to Greenville, N.C., to take on Conference USA East opponent East Carolina, Thursday at 6 p.m.

The Blue Raiders currently sit in a tie for the fifth and final East Division spot for the C-USA Tournament, set to take place on the campus of Rice University in Houston Nov. 6-10. If Middle Tennessee beats ECU, it will be in the tournament regardless of what else happens within the division.

If MT was to tie and Marshall was to tie and Florida Atlantic wins, it would create a three-way tie for fifth place. The second tie-breaker comes down to points, which MT (9) would have the advantage over FAU (7) and Marshall (7) making MT the fifth seed.

LAST WEEK'S ACTION

Middle Tennessee played two physical matches against North Texas and FIU Friday and Sunday respectively, losing to the Mean Green 3-1 and shutting out the Panthers 1-0.

On Friday, the Blue Raiders let the Mean Green get the early advantage as NT's Lynda Hercules scored in the 17th minute after receiving a cross from Vanessa Ibewuike, showing why North Texas is statistical the best offense in C-USA.

MT responded when Grace Summers received a deep pass from Emily Jorgenson, netting the equalizer in the 54th minute.

Less than three minutes later, North Texas scored the game winner on a penalty kick, the first against Middle Tennessee in 2013. The Mean Green would go on to add an insurance goal in the 66th minute when NT's Amber Haggerty made a move inside the box, faking out the defender to score.

Against FIU, the Blue Raiders had much better luck in an equally aggressive match. MT put the pressure on early and did not let up through the entire 90 minutes. Summers tallied her second goal of the weekend and fifth of the season, on a rebound off a blocked shot by the FIU goalkeeper in the 43rd minute.

Middle Tennessee held the 9-8 shot advantage going into the second half and also held a 7-1 corner kick advantage. The Blue Raiders continued to pressure the Panthers, holding them to only three shots in the second half.

Kelsey Brouwer finished the weekend with eight saves, moving her 2013 season totals to 78, placing her in tenth place on MT's season saves list. Brouwer will need 10 more saves to surpass Emily Shrum for ninth all-time.

SCOUTING THE ECU PIRATES

The Blue Raiders next opponent, the East Carolina Pirates (7-8-3, 4-4-1 C-USA), currently sit in fourth place in the C-USA East Division. The Pirates are on a three-game winning streak in C-USA, beating Southern Miss (1-0), Florida Atlantic (1-0) and FIU (2-1, OT). Previous to its winning streak, ECU had lost its last three matches against Marshall (2-0), UAB (3-2) and Old Dominion (2-0), providing ODU with its lone win in C-USA.

The Blue Raiders statistically hold the offensive advantage over the Pirates in shots (236-193), goals (23-21) and goals allowed (17-20), but with the winner automatically qualifying for the conference tournament, the contest will be a hard fought match.

ECU's Stephanie Seagrave and Kendall Frey each have four goals to lead the Pirates offense. Lexi Miller leads East Carolina in shots with 30, 15 on goal, and has a team-high five assists.

Defensively the Pirates have had little change in 2013, having three defenders, Caitlin Hite, Kelly Johnson and Haley Patsey, who have totaled over 1500 minutes each. Adding to the defensive chemistry is Saundra Brown, who has started all 18 games for ECU in goal. Brown has totaled 76 saves with a .792 save percentage.

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