- The Ohio University women's soccer team (5-4-4, 1-2-2 MAC) drew even against the University of Akron (4-6-3, 1-3-1 MAC), 2-2, in Mid-American Conference action Friday night at FirstEngergy Stadium-Cub Cadet Field.
"To grind it out, to find a way to get a draw on a night that wasn't our best, I give our players credit for that," said first-year head coach Aaron Rodgers.
Ohio earned a draw against a MAC East Division opponent for the second time in as many intradivision matches. The Bobcats are now 8-4-1 all-time against the Zips.
Despite being outshot, 24-9, in the match and 12-2 in the first half, the Bobcats rallied in the second half to draw even with the Zips and force overtime.
"We were a little fortunate to get a draw tonight," said Rodgers. "Then again, the kids showed some grit to battle through a difficult first half and came back and made an adjustment at halftime and did a little bit better defensively, scored a goal and tied it up and battled in the extra time."
Senior goalkeeper Mattie Liston (Lakewood, Ohio) tallied seven saves in 110 minutes of action for Ohio.
The Bobcats landed the first blow in the 15th minute, as sophomore forward Holly Harris (Batavia, Ohio) found the back of the net for her fourth goal of the season and seventh of her career.
That was the final shot the Zips allowed Ohio to get off in the opening 45 minutes, though, and Akron evened the score in the 23rd minute. Junior forward Lani Smith took a pass from senior midfield Kelly DeNiro and tallied her fifth goal of the season.
The Zips capitalized again just over four minutes later, this time with DeNiro scoring off an assist from Smith, to take a 2-1 advantage into the halftime break.
"I give credit to Akron - their game plan was very good," said Rodgers. "They played a shape that tried to neutralize what we are good at. It caused us to play a very inconsistent match."
The Bobcats continued to battle in the second half. Redshirt freshman midfield Carly Manso (Vernon Hills, Ill.) rifled a shot that went wide in the 48th minute and another that went high in the 56th.
After Akron missed three straight shot attempts wide - two by senior midfield/defense Amber Kern and one by Smith - in just over five minutes, Ohio capitalized in the 69th minute. Manso found freshman forward Allison Cislo, who scored her third career goal to even the score at two-all.
The Bobcats had several chances to retake the lead late in the second half. A header by sophomore defense/midfield Leah Sandercock (Strongsville, Ohio) went wide left and a corner opportunity at 72:59 did not produce a shot.
Liston kept the Zips from taking command with a save off a shot by junior midfield/forward Karina Atkinson. An attempt by Smith just seven seconds later hit the post. Ohio forced overtime thanks to another save by Liston at 88:43 on another shot by Smith.
Two overtime periods were still not enough to produce a winner. A shot by DeNiro in the 99th minute went wide right. Akron sophomore goalkeeper Klaire Adee made two saves in 36 seconds on shots by Harris in the 103rd minute. Ohio could not cash in on a corner in the 104th minute. A shot by Smith in the 109th minute hit the crossbar and another five seconds later by sophomore forward Sydney Blomquist was saved by Liston. Harris fired off one final shot in the 109th minute, but it was saved by Adee.
"We're still trying to find consistency of 90 minutes, and I think once we find that, it's going to be some great results for us," said Rodgers. "We played a bit of an inconsistent match tonight, and we've got to make that better. We've been training and working on it and talking about it, and now, we just have to do it."
Harris led Ohio with four shots, while Manso attempted three. Smith led the match with seven attempts, and DeNiro and Kern each tallied four shots for Akron.
Adee made three saves for the Zips in 65 minutes of action after relieving redshirt junior starter Alex Luevano-Harden in net.
Ohio concludes its four-match road swing Sunday at division foe Buffalo. The match is set to begin at noon.