Oct. 26, 2008
ATHENS, Ohio -
Amy Lower's eighth goal of the season in the 88th minute forced overtime, but Eastern Michigan (11-4-4, 6-2-2) scored in the extra frame to hand Ohio a tough 2-1 loss and spoil senior-day festivities Sunday afternoon at Chessa Field.
"It was a heartbreaking loss," Ohio coach Stacy Strauss said. "Overall, we played two of the best teams in the conference really well this weekend. We'll regroup from this (loss). We need to come out and play the way we know we can Thursday."
Lower's (West Chester, Ohio) goal paced the Bobcats (4-10-3, 3-5-2), while freshman Kelsey Pichel (Rochester, Mich.) led the way with four shots, all four of which were on goal. Junior Jasmine Merith (Richmond, Ontario) picked up her second assist of the season on Lower's score, while Christa Puccio (Scaggsville, Md.) tallied six saves in the goal.
Both sides struggled to maintain possession early on in the match. The Eagles showed why they are among the top teams in the MAC about ten minutes in as they took control of the ball and kept it in Ohio territory over the next several minutes. The Bobcats' defense was up to the challenge, however, and knocked the ball away from the goal to keep the contest scoreless.
The Eagles' Chelsea Detrick, the conference's leading scorer, took advantage of a momentary miscue by the Ohio defense late in the 28th minute to put the first goal on the board. After making a sudden steal inside the goal box, she fired quick shot from six yards out just past the Ohio keeper and into the bottom right corner of the net to give EMU a 1-0 advantage.
The `Cats fought back to control the possession over the next few minutes, but the Eagles' defense managed to put a halt on Ohio's potential-scoring hopes behind a pair of nice saves from their keeper, Maggie Manville. EMU took the 1-0 advantage at the half.
Neither side managed to gain possession of the ball for very long over the first few minutes of the second half. The Bobcats got the ball deep in Eagle territory on a couple of occasions, but EMU's defense recovered and managed to keep them off the board. Both sides battled back and forth over much the rest of the half, and it looked as if the match would end with the 1-0 tally. Merith made a nice play on a ball early in the 88th minute, however, and sent a high lobbing pass across the box to Lower in the left corner. She made a quick adjustment to get control of the ball and fire a shot into the corner of the net before the EMU keeper could get over. That tied the action at one apiece to force overtime.
Ohio had a pair of chances to end things early in the extra frame as it got the ball deep in Eagle territory. The EMU defense managed to knock the ball out from deep in the box on both occasions. The Eagles looked poised to end things with just over two minutes left in the extra play when they got a player one-on-one with the keepter, but Erika Dietz (Yorktown, Va.) came from seemingly out of nowhere to make a sliding play to knock the ball away. EMU recovered to put in the game-winning score a short time later when Katie Zundel headed in a corner kick from Stephanie Janssens.
Before the match, Ohio honored six seniors that will be graduating this year. Those included Dietz, forward Erika Schmitt (Wyoming, Ohio), midfielder Kate Fledderjohn (Fairfield, Ohio), forward Courtney Mink (Mason, Ohio), Midfielder Halle Plagens (Bay Village, Ohio) and defender Elyse Merchant (Carmel, Ind.).
The Bobcats will now try to keep their MAC Tournament hopes alive as they play host to Akron in the regular-season finale Thursday. Action is set to get under way at 4 p.m. ET.