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Motlow College Athletic News

Motlow State soccer ties Meridian in season opener, hosts Southwest TN Sept. 2 in Smyrna

Aug. 28, 2017

The Motlow State Lady Bucks opened their inaugural soccer season on the road with a pair of games over the weekend in Meridian, Miss. Motlow will host Southwest Tennessee this Saturday at Smyrna High School.

After a long day of travel on Friday, Aug. 25, the Lady Bucks battled Meridian Community College to a 1-1 tie in the first soccer game in Motlow history. After ending regulation tied at one, the teams played two 10-minute overtime periods, and although both had opportunities to score and grab the win, neither could.

"I felt we created quite a few chances," said Andy Lyon, Motlow head coach. "We are still working on our decision making in the final third, but I have no doubt that we will improve. We need to be a little more ruthless with our chances, but we worked hard and I felt we deserved at least a draw from the game. I am very pleased with the way the girls have bounced back from Monday's scrimmage. They worked hard in training this week and we saw many of them step up their performance over the weekend."

The Lady Bucks had very little time to recover from their first game before suiting up to face East Central Community College (ECCC) early Saturday afternoon on the same field in Meridian. Motlow fought through fatigue and heat before falling 1-0.

Although Motlow is still a year or two away from having a true home field on campus, the Lady Bucks are hosting multiple games this season at high schools throughout southern middle Tennessee. The 'home' opener will be this Saturday at 1 p.m. when Southwest Tennessee comes to play at Smyrna High School in Smyrna.

The Lady Bucks started the first half against Meridian in control. They carved out numerous first half scoring opportunities but could not make the final pass needed to set up a teammate to score, although Motlow had 10 shots on goal in the opening half.

Eighty-eight minutes into the contest, Motlow freshman Shelby Grow recorded the first goal in Motlow soccer history. She got possession at the edge of the box and hit the ball over the goalkeeper into the goal. The Lady Bucks failed to clear the ball though and Meridian was awarded a free kick 20 yards from goal, which they made to secure the tie.

Against East Central, the Lady Bucks once again put forth an outstanding defensive effort. It took Motlow a little while to adjust to the pace of action after a long game the night before. A cross from the right hand side early caused a moment of indecision in the box and Aubree Patterson of ECCC scored the game's only goal.

The Lady Bucks worked hard to cause ECCC problems in the back, but were unable to find a breakthrough. Calli Simmons had the ball in the ECCC net late before the goal was wiped off due to an offside call. Tyler Feaster also had an opportunity late but was knocked to the ground at the vital moment and Motlow was not awarded a penalty kick.

"After a hard game the night before in which two periods of overtime were played, our team gave everything they had on Saturday," continued Lyon. "We lost concentration for a second on a cross and were punished for it. We fought back though and competed well against a very strong team. I have no doubt that East Central will be a serious playoff contender this year and we gave them a decent test."

Motlow goalkeepers Lena Alakabi and Ali Shelton each made solid contributions to keep the Lady Bucks within striking distance. Alakabi played the entire first game and the first half of Saturday's contest. Shelton kept Motlow close by shutting out ECCC in the second half.

"The whole squad had a part to play this weekend and they gave everything they could," added Lyon. "I don't think we could have asked anything more from the Lady Bucks. I'm very proud of the effort."

The Saluqis from Memphis and Motlow are the only two schools in the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association currently playing women's soccer. Southwest chose to begin competition in Division III, while the Lady Bucks are playing in Division I of the National Junior College Athletic Association. Therefore, the game is not considered a conference game.

Following Saturday's home opener, the Lady Bucks will travel to Covenant College in Lookout Mountain on Tuesday, Sept. 5, before hosting Itawamba (Mississippi) Community College on Saturday, Sept. 9, at Franklin County High School in Winchester.

Motlow Soccer
Motlow State freshman Megan Blumhoefer, a midfielder from Smyrna, controls the ball during last week's scrimmage action against Georgia Military. Blumhoefer and the Lady Bucks will play their first official regular season home game when they host Southwest Tennessee at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 2, at Smyrna High School. Photo by Jeff Reed Photography.