Special to HNN Provided by Herd Zone

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Three Marshall women’s soccer players found the net as the Thundering Herd topped Conference USA leader Middle Tennessee, 3-2, on Sunday at Dean A. Hayes Track and Soccer Stadium.

Marshall improved to 10-2-3, 3-1-2 in league play. It was the Blue Raiders’ first home loss and first C-USA loss this season, falling to 8-4-1, 4-1-0. The Herd now leads the series with MTSU, 2-1.

Just 1:58 into the match, a familiar combination of Jordan Parkhurst (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and Sydney Arnold (Stafford, Va.) put the Herd on the scoreboard first. In the same tandem as Marshall’s fourth-minute goal on Friday at UAB, Arnold found Parkhurst in the 18-yard box who placed a shot in the back left corner of the net. It was the Herd’s fastest score of the season, since a goal at 2:07 against Eastern Kentucky on Sept. 7.

The Herd kept its early advantage until the ninth minute when MTSU keeper Kelsey Brower punted a ball three-quarters of the way down the field to Tori Hawkins, who drove through traffic and took a sharp shot left-to-right past Herd keeper Lizzie Kish (Boyertown, Pa.).

In the 32nd minute, Tennessee native Ashley Seltzer (Knoxville) broke the 1-1 tie with a shot from 25 yards out, finding top shelf past Brouwer. Marshall took its 2-1 lead into the break.

Coming out of halftime, the Herd stayed on the offensive. At the 49-mintue mark, Jenna Dubs (Green Lane, Pa.) sent a free kick into the six-yard box, finding wide-open Erin Simmons (Gahanna, Ohio), who finished to give Marshall a 3-1 advantage. It was Simmons’ team-leading sixth goal of the year, and Dubs’ third assist. Dubs has nine career assists, tied with Simmons and Kassie Hollman (2004-07) for sixth place in the Marshall record book.

Marshall’s defense held tough through the majority of the second half, not allowing a Blue Raider shot until the 71st minute. However, Simmons’ insurance goal would prove helpful as MTSU’s Morgan Mauck cut the lead to 3-2 in the 83rd minute.

The Herd held off the Blue Raiders’ attack for the remainder of the period and came away with the 3-2 victory. Simmons was credited with the game-winner, marking the sixth of her career and moving into a tie for fourth place all-time at Marshall with Kelly Posey (1999-02).

Also of note: Kelly Culicerto (Charlotte, N.C.) took six shots on the day, giving her 210 for her career and breaking the all-time school record of 208 set by Angela DeSumma (2008-11). As a team, the Herd out-shot the Blue Raiders, 29-9.

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Quotes by Coach Kevin Long:

On bouncing back from Friday’s loss:
“After Friday’s game this was a good bounce back for us. It was a very strong offensive performance after a lackluster showing on Friday night and that was important to us. I think the team had something to prove today. They didn’t want to start a trend in the other direction. They came out with more energy and had better production all across the board. It was on the road, against a team that’s atop the conference. It was something we needed to do against a good team; getting the win and getting points on the road. Now, I think everyone’s happy that we get some time at home.”

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The Herd will return home to host the Florida C-USA schools, with Florida Atlantic at 7 p.m. on Oct. 16, and FIU at 1 p.m. on Oct. 18 at Veterans Memorial Soccer Complex. For all the latest information about Marshall women’s soccer, follow @HerdWSoccer on Twitter.