MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - As the season begins to wind down, the Middle Tennessee soccer team continues to sit near the top of the Conference USA Standings. With a 4-2-1 record in conference and 13 points, the Blue Raiders are tied for third place with three games remaining. For the most part, MT controls its own destiny with games against teams in second place and tied for third place, the latter happening Friday when Southern Miss visits Murfreesboro for a 7pm kickoff from Dean A. Hayes Track and Soccer Stadium. The game will also serve as MT's senior night, honoring Celeste Barnard, Sydney Navarro and Katelynn Traver.
Matchup: Southern Miss (10-3-1)(4-2-1) @ Middle Tennessee (9-4-1)(4-2-1)
Location: Dean A. Hayes Track and Soccer Stadium (Murfreesboro, Tenn.)
Time: October 19, 2018, 7:00 p.m.
Scouting the Golden Eagles
To say this is an important game for both teams would be an understatement. Southern Miss enters the week tied with MT in the conference standings at 4-2-1. With three games remaining, this game will go a long way to decide seeding in the conference tournament. The Golden Eagles have won three of their last five games, but most recently tied with UTEP. The USM offense runs through their sophomore forward, Miah Zuazua. On the year, Zuazua has nine goals and 24 points. They boast a stout defense as well, only allowing 13 goals this season with eight shutouts.
Southern Miss holds a slim 4-3-1 series lead, but MT has won two of the last three and are 3-1 in Murfreesboro. First half goals from Peyton DePriest and Taylor Hatch led the Blue Raiders to a 2-1 win in last year's contest.
Players to watch
Peyton DePriest – Though she battled early season injuries, DePriest quickly rounded into midseason form. The sophomore is the Conference USA leader in shots per game, goals per game, and points per game. She also was ranked #96 on Top Drawer Soccer's Midseason National Players to Watch list.
Hannah Tillett – Tillett has scored a point in nearly every match this season, making her one of the most important parts of the team. She sits atop Conference USA in points, goals, and is second in assists and ranks in the NCAA top 10 in points and points per game. Tillett was also ranked #36 in Top Drawer Soccer's Midseason Freshmen to Watch list.
Celeste Barnard & Sydney Navarro – Playing on senior night is always special. This year it's Celeste Barnard and Sydney Navarro's turn to have that experience. Barnard has been the goalkeeping core this season. She is in the midst of a breakout year, having started a career-high 11 games, has picked up four shutouts and allowed only 12 goals in 12 appearances. Navarro has spent four productive seasons at Middle Tennessee as the Blue Raider defensive leader, playing in 64 games across her four seasons as a Blue Raider. She has three all-time goals, including two in 2018.
By the Numbers
13 – To make the Conference USA tournament, the Blue Raiders must finish in the top eight of the standings based on points. MT currently has 13 points and is tied for third place with three games remaining.
2.36 – The Blue Raiders are ranked in the top 20 in the country in goals per game (2.36), the highest average in Conference USA.
3 – MT will honor three seniors on Friday night after the game. Celeste Barnard, Sydney Navarro, and Katelynn Traver will take part in the post-game ceremony. The seniors have played a combined 88 games in their careers as Blue Raiders.
Friday's game will be streamed CUSA.TV.
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