MTSU Freshman Defender Scores Winning Goal Against Rice
By: MTN Sports Reporter Caroline Colvard
Middle Tennessee State University traveled to Boca Raton, Florida this week to face off against Rice University for a chance to advance to the C-USA Championship semifinals.
The Blue Raiders and the Owls battled it out in the FAU stadium with neither team scoring during the entire regulation game period. No points were scored, but MTSU was able to put forth 14 shots and nine shots on goal before going into two overtime periods. MTSU eventually put in 4-3 in penalties to secure the win to move forward in the competition.
Neither MTSU nor Rice were able to make a shot during either of the two sudden death overtime halves. This stalemate resulted in the game relying on penalty kicks, which sent freshman goalkeeper Talia Nowlan in for junior goalkeeper Hannah Suder. This would be Nowlan’s first time on the field since playing against Evansville back in August.
Regarding the decision to send Nowlan in for PKs, Coach Aston Rhoden stated, “Talia is a very strong goalkeeper on penalties, and we just felt today was a day that…we felt she could handle it. Certainly, our decision proved right, and she did the job.”
Nowlan was able to secure two PK saves and pushing MTSU towards victory. “When I got asked to go in, I was little shocked, like I wasn't really expecting it. I was like, ‘You know what, I've worked really hard, and you know this is like I'm getting my opportunity. I'm not going to waste it,’” expressed Nowlan.
Junior forward Elizabeth Slavinsky was the third player to go for a penalty kick and the first to make a goal for MTSU, thus saving the Blue Raiders from Rice having a chance out of five to win the match.
“I felt confident in it. We have practiced several times before, so I knew that I needed to stay focused and calm and collected,” Slavinsky said regarding her PK goal.
Freshman defender Alayna Lynchard secured the win for MTSU by sinking in the sixth penalty kick of the game.
“When I walked up, I just knew I had to make it for my team. I haven’t really played this season, so today was so rewarding for me. Before this, I’d only stepped on the field for 15 minutes in the Marshall game, and that was the only time I’ve played,” said Lynchard.
MTSU will advance to the C-USA Semifinals and play against Old Dominion at 3:30 p.m. this Friday.