Blue Raiders Travel to UAB for Conference Opener


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – After a four match homestand, the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders will hit the road for their Conference USA-opening match vs. the UAB Blazers on Sunday.

MTSU at UAB

Sept. 18 | 1 p.m. | PNC Field
CUSA TV
Live Stats

Head coach Aston Rhoden seeks to add on to his all-time win total on Sunday, having won his 200th match across his 21-year Blue Raider stint on Sept. 4 against Austin Peay at the Dean. A Hayes Track & Soccer Stadium in Murfreesboro.

MTSU (2-4-1) will look to return to the win column after dropping consecutive decisions last week to Tennessee Tech and Vanderbilt. An Eleanor Gough goal highlighted the contest against the Golden Eagles, while goalkeeper Hannah Suder had a combined four saves in the losses.

Around the Pitch Returning five starters and 19 overall letterwinners, while bringing in 13 newcomers, Rhoden’s 21st season as head coach features a balance of experience and fresh faces.

Suder enters her senior season in the top 10 of several program goalkeeper charts. A native of Jacksonville, Fla., Suder is:

  • Seventh in shutouts (8)
  • Seventh in games played (40)
  • Seventh in minutes played (3215:24)
  • Seventh in games started (34)
  • Ninth in career saves (130)

Suder ranked second in the conference in total saves (80) and goalkeeper minutes (1,694) last season. Suder ranks ninth in C-USA this season in saves (23) and seventh in saves per game (3.29). She also needs just one more save to tie Tory Martin (1996-97) for eighth all-time in career saves as a Blue Raider.

Anchoring the Blue Raider defense in front of Suder is a group of experienced Blue Raiders.

Starting in all 49 games of her career and playing in over 4,500 career minutes, Caroline Manley is keeping the streak alive in 2022. Manley earned both USC All-South Region and C-USA All-Tournament Team honors last season for her superb play.

Sascha Nielsen represented MTSU on the 2021 C-USA All-Freshman Team after starting all 19 contests and playing in 1703 minutes in 2021. Nielsen and fellow defender Alex Goffi each scored a goal.

Nielsen has played 320 minutes this season while Goffi logged 24 minutes vs. North Florida.

As far as offense goes, Kirstine Lykke returns after making an impression during her debut season. The midfielder/forward from Denmark found goal five times last season and recorded two assists. Lykke has two goals this season on nine shots on goal in 257 minutes of action.

Other front-line returnees include senior Campbell Kivistowho has three career goals under her belt in three seasons. Senior Elizabeth Slavinsky appeared in all but one match last season and scored two goals for four points.

First Blood Middle Tennessee was 5-0-1 when scoring first during the regular season last year. Over the past three seasons, the Blue Raiders are 18-4-2 in matches when striking first.

Fresh Guidance Middle Tennessee added two new coaches during the offseason in Zak Davis and Hannah Hoefs.

Davis joins the Blue Raiders after serving as the assistant women’s soccer coach at George Washington University for the past four seasons. Over his four seasons with the Colonials, Davis helped lead GW to a 33-27-9 overall record and a 20-14-4 mark in A-10 play.

Before arriving in Murfreesboro, Hoefs coached at Shenandoah University for a year and a half during two different stints with the Hornets. Hoefs began her collegiate coaching career when she first joined the coaching staff at Shenandoah in June 2020 following her standout career as a midfielder at Loyola University of Maryland.

Opponent Breakdown

About UAB

Nickname: Blazers

Head Coach: Erica Demers

2022 Record: 3-2-2

2021 Record: 7-9-3 (4-3-1 C-USA)

Starters Returning/Lost: 9/2

MTSU’s All-Time Record vs UAB: 7-2 (Last: L, 0-1; Oct. 17, 2021)



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