The Charlotte 49ers women's soccer team falls to the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders 2-1 in overtime. The loss comes on Charlotte's senior night at Transamerica Stadium.
"Great MTSU Charlotte 49ers game always have been. They are thrillers. So tight, evenly matched teams, good football soccer teams," said Head Coach John Cullen.
Following a ceremony to honor the Charlotte seniors, the teams took the field and played a hard-fought overtime match. Fifth-year senior Abby Stapleton had an excellent performance at goalie. The fifth-senior set a career-high with 11 saves as the Blue Raiders kept her busy, getting off 20 shots in the contest.
"Everyone came out today. The team put on a lot of good stuff for the day and showed a lot of care. I think we all felt supported today. Regardless of the result, it was really special, and I have to thank my team and my family," said Stapleton.
Neither team's offense could put the ball in the net in the first half. As a result, both teams were in a stalemate as they looked to gain an advantage early.
The Niners had their first shot six minutes into the game but couldn't convert. The Blue Raiders controlled most of the first half getting off seven shots compared to Charlotte's three shots. Despite the ten total shots, the game remained scoreless going into the half.
Both teams started the second half firing on all cylinders. The 49ers struck first to get on the scoreboard as sophomore Piper Biziorek scored her fifth goal of the season, assisted by sophomore midfielder Lea Wissell in the 52nd minute.
Not long after Charlotte's goal, Middle Tennessee answered back in the 53rd minute. Senior Peyton DePriest drew a penalty that she converted to tie the game 1-1.
The game was hard-fought the rest of the way, but both teams tied at the end of regulation.
The Charlotte defense was stout throughout the contest defending 18 of 19 shots. However, the 49ers could not hold on as the Raiders struck again to win the game three minutes into overtime.
Middle Tennessee junior forward Elizabeth Slavinsky knocked in the golden goal to win it. Slavinsky had her first shot blocked but recovered it on the rebound and launched it into the back of the net. The Blue Raiders won the game 2-1.
"She took a great goal, picked her spot well just a little bit higher over Abby's reach," said Cullen.
The Blue Raiders outshot the 49ers 20-9 throughout the game. Unfortunately, the shots for the 49ers weren't the best quality shots either, with only three of their nine shots being on goal. In contrast, the Blue Raiders had 13 of their 20 shots on goal.
Charlotte won the fouls battle by only committing 14, while MTSU committed 18 in the contest. The Niners received four yellow cards while the Blue Raiders' had zero.
The 49ers' offense could not capitalize on multiple opportunities but still played a tremendous in a hard-fought gritty match with MTSU. The team will take lessons learned from the overtime loss into the remaining three games.
The 49ers will hit the road for their next game as they travel to Norfolk, VA, to take on the Old Dominion Monarchs. The game will kickoff at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 15, and will be broadcasted on CUSA.tv.
"I think the biggest thing is moving forward can we react in the next games, but I think this next week is really important," said Stapleton.