ATHENS, Ohio - Ohio Soccer earned an important victory over the visiting Bowling Green State University Falcons on Sunday, winning 2-0 to solidify its spot atop the Mid-American Conference East standings. The Bobcats relied on a strong defensive effort which allowed only ten total shots for Bowling Green, five of which found their way on target. Ready and waiting for these shots was freshman goalkeeper Nicole Amari, who posted a shutout in the first start of her career as a Bobcat.
"I'm really proud of the effort today," said Head Coach Stacy Strauss. "I think the team deserved the win and deserved the shutout."
Ohio (7-8-1, 4-3-1 MAC) got off to a strong start on Sunday, peppering the Bowling Green defense with three shots in the first 12 minutes. Kelsey Pichel (Rochester, Mich.) had one of these, hitting a hard, low blast on target that goalkeeper Becca Ison was able to stop.
The Falcons put together a nice spell of pressure in the middle stages of the half, testing Amari (Vernon Hills, Ill.) with two shots on goal in rapid succession. Ohio's goalkeeper was up to the task, making both saves to preserve the 0-0 score.
Veronica Rock (North Royalton, Ohio) opened the scoring for the Green and White in the 37th minute of the match. Rock made an immediate impact for Ohio, scoring her first goal of the season literally 26 seconds after coming onto the field as a substitute for teammate Natalie Bechtel (Westlake, Ohio). Cathryn Rogers (Etobicoke, Ontario) and Toye Famodu (Bloomington, Minn.) provided the assists on the score. Rogers began the play by finding a sprinting Famodu running up the left flank. Famodu collected the ball, took a touch and then lofted a very accurate pass right over a BG defender and into the stride of Rock. The forward made no mistake with the opportunity, taking a touch to fool the visiting `keeper before sliding it into the back of the net to give the `Cats a 1-0 lead heading into halftime.
As a part of Ohio's Homecoming Weekend, members of the 2001 MAC Championship team were recognized at halftime. This squad posted a 10-2 record in MAC play, outscoring conference foes by an impressive 25-7 margin.
The two sides alternated periods of offensive pressure throughout the early stages of the second half, searching for the second goal of the afternoon. Ohio was able to create this opportunity in the 73rd minute when Bechtel crossed a nice ball right to Famodu. Cool as could be, Famodu shot the ball past the outstretched goalkeeper for her fifth goal of the season and the final score of the match.
"It was huge to get those three points," Strauss said. "If you look at results from around the conference, especially on Friday, any team can win on any given day. When you get three points, you've got to take them."
Ohio will next be in action on Friday, Oct. 21 when it hosts Buffalo for its last regular-season home match. Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.