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Freshman striker seals A&M-Commerce victory

Tareyn Blanton's first collegiate goal proves to be game-winner

By Adam Troxtell
On September 6, 2010

Freshman striker Tareyn Blanton scored her first collegiate goal for A&M-Commerce women's soccer on Saturday, Sept. 4, which turned out to be the game winner in a 1-0 victory over Tusculum College. The result mirrors last year's contest between the two teams, and also extends A&M-Commerce's record of never losing an opening match since the program began in 1996.

"It was great," Blanton said about scoring her first goal for the Lions. "I wasn't nervous anymore, that's for sure."

The goal came in the 42nd minute of the match. Junior Devon Herrman's throw-in bounced to the feet of Blanton. After establishing control, the freshman squared up to the goal and fired a shot into the left side of the net from about 18 yards out.

Blanton's opportunity was one of many for A&M-Commerce in the first half, as the Lions out-shot their opponents seven to three. Before the goal, both senior Chelsey Haight and freshman Brionna Minde came close with curling shots that went just over the crossbar.

After halftime, Tusculum began to get forward more and more in search of an equalizer. Their closest chance came when senior Courtney Turner's long-distance shot clanged off the post. Turner was a threat to the Lions' goal all afternoon with her darting runs and intelligent passes, and came only inches away from bringing her team back into the match.

A&M-Commerce head coach Neil Piper said he was impressed with his team, but also saw weaknesses.

"I felt great in the first half," Piper said. "I thought we looked sharp. I felt in the second half, the last 15 minutes, we got a little bit tired and were a little bit desperate. At the same time, we could've scored two or three in the first half, and we coast, but that didn't happen. I think on the run of play it was a fair result, but it was a tight game."

Haight's impact on the game was limited due to a minor injury she suffered in the first half. While it does not appear to be worrying for the senior forward, Piper said he was happy to see freshmen Blanton, Minde and Taylor Hunt step in and help the Lions to a win. He also had particular praise for the goal scorer.

"She's very dangerous around the goal, and I've told her if she gets around the goal, give it a shot," he said about Blanton. "It was a very nice goal for her, and I'm glad she got it."

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