ATHENS, Ohio – On two second-half goals by Bryce Hueber (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Allie Curry (Fairfield, Ohio), the Ohio women's soccer team (1-0) opened the 2017 season with a 2-0 victory against Robert Morris (0-1) on a warm Friday afternoon at Chessa Field.
"It feels awesome to be able to open up the regular season here at home and to cap it off with a win," head coach Aaron Rodgers said. "We went up there last year and it was a tough game with an overtime loss. Robert Morris, give them credit, they never stopped and they worked really hard but we were able to find ways around them and open up chances and get two good goals."
The first half would go scoreless, but not without an aggressive offensive effort by both squads. Ohio saw several chances early on in the first half on two corners by Curry. Shortly after, in the 14th minute, Alivia Milesky (Plain City, Ohio) would attempt a header just over the top of the goal.
The Colonials would respond in the 17th minute with a shot on goal by Greer Monahan, but Erin Beurket (Milford, Ohio) would get the start in goal and make a big stop for the Bobcats. Beurket would make her second stop of the game on a shot by Kelly Morris in the 33rd minute. The two squads would go back and fourth for the remainder of the first half, but neither team could put a point on the board in the first 45 minutes.
Ohio recorded seven shots in the first half while Robert Morris recorded four.
Sydney Malham (Nashville, Tenn.) would get the start in net for the second half.
The Bobcat's controlled the momentum in the second half, adding 14 shots to the Ohio shot total. Madelyn Kah (Hamilton, Ohio) would shoot early on in the 47th minute, but it would go wide. Soon after, in the 51st minute, Hueber would attempt a shot just over top of the goal. The Bobcats acted quick on defense to get the ball back when Sydney Leckie (Medina, Ohio) made a sharp pass back to Heuber for a goal in the top right corner of the net, giving Ohio a 1-0 lead.
"I thought that the first half we kind of struggled, but we talked at halftime," Hueber said. "We were just always trying to play down the line and over the top but then starting the second half our defense and our forwards kind of worked together and through the midfield and we weren't scared to play short and hold the ball and so I think once we realized that we don't need to be so hectic, it kind of helped us to maintain our possession and kind of keep a positive attitude and we had results with that so I think it was good."
The Bobcats would not let up on offense and made three shot attempts directly following Hueber's goal. The aggression on offense would pay-off once again in the 67th minute on a dribble from 20 yards out and an attack by Curry for a shot in the right corner of the net to put Ohio up 2-0.
"It was a physical game," Curry said. "Every team we play is going to be pretty physical so being able to put one away was really nice. Sort of a weight off the soldiers to be able to go two up on them, we can kind of relax and be more disciplined and wait on the ball and not force it forward."
Ohio would keep the ball in front of them for the majority of the second half, only allowing Robert Morris two shots late in the second half. The Colonials were unable to convert for the remainder of the game and Ohio would come out on top for the first win on the season.
"I think a team that communicates a lot is a successful team," Rodgers said. "We talk about that all the time obviously and it was a key point for us in the pregame talk going into the match that we all need to be on the same page because connectivity for us is a huge mantra going into the season and that if we all believe together, we can be very successful."
Hannah Jaggers (Taylorsville, Ky.) would lead the way in shots for Ohio with five while Milesky and Hueber followed with four shots each. Curry and Kah each recorded two shots on the game while Leckie and Paige Knorr (Cincinnati, Ohio) each added one. Keeper Beurket recorded two saves on four shots, allowing none in her 45 minutes of work while Malham allowed no goals.
Up next, the Bobcats will continue competition at home and are set to host Butler on Sunday, Aug. 20 at Chessa Field. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m.