Blue Raiders attract near-record crowd in loss to Vanderbilt
MT women’s soccer’s “Pack The House” promotion did just that for the Aug. 31 home match versus Vanderbilt, bringing 1,092 fans to Dean A. Hayes Track and Soccer Stadium Friday night.
The packed stadium held the third-highest attendance in program history, the record is currently set at 1,309 fans who came to see the Blue Raiders play Southern Miss in 2006.
Blue Raider fans went home disappointed after MT (2-2-0) lost a hard-fought match to the in-state Commodores, 2-0, behind strong play from Vanderbilt (2-1-1) forward Dana Schwartz who accounted for both her team’s goals.
“I don’t really think it was so much what [Schwartz] was doing as much as it was what we weren’t doing,” said MT Head Coach Aston Rhoden. “Both were second-effort goals where we didn’t track players coming through and she just happened to be the one who got through…she’s a very opportunistic striker.”
The Blue Raiders held the early advantage in terms of ball possession but failed to capitalize on a slow start from the Commodores.
Schwartz entered the game off the bench in the 20th minute, and made her presence known almost immediately when she scored on a breakaway keyed by a Commodore defensive steal to take the lead.
MT upped its offensive intensity late in the first half and had a couple of fair scoring opportunities, including redshirt-freshman forward Katinka Stenberg’s shot sailing just over the crossbar as time expired.
Vanderbilt regained control early in the second half, and Schwartz’s second goal in the 52nd minute gave the Commodores a 2-0 lead, which proved to be the winning margin.
Freshman defenseman Emily Jorgenson led the Blue Raiders with two shots on goal, both within the same three-minute period. Stenberg, Paige Goeglein and Tori Hawkins each added one shot on goal.
MT showed flashes of brilliance at times offensively, but could not catch a break versus a “bend-but-don’t-break” style defense from Vanderbilt. MT was shutout for the first time this season, after scoring a total of 13 goals in its first three matches of the season.
“These games are a process for us. They’re about working to build to see where we go next, and we had some tough lessons in this one,” Rhoden said. “So, hopefully, we can rebound on Sunday against East Tennessee State University, which will be a very strong team and see if we can get back on the winning track.”
The Blue Raiders take the pitch again on Sunday, Sept. 3, as they welcome ETSU to Murfreesboro for a match scheduled for 1 p.m.