ATHENS, Ohio — The Ohio women's soccer team began conference play on Friday (Sept. 22), with a thrilling overtime victory against the Eastern Michigan Eagles winning 2-1.
"I think we were just energized going into MAC play," head coach Aaron Rodgers said. "The MAC soccer season is a lot of grit and energy and physicality. Many times we tell the players before the game and halftime, in the MAC play, it's the team that cares more is going to get the win and we actually proved that today."
EMU opened the match with the first shot in the first minute by Madeline Olson (Libertyville, Ill.), which went high, Sydney Malham (Nashville, Tenn.) with the save.
Alivia Milesky (Plain City, Ohio) had the first shot on goal for Ohio in the 4th minute that was saved by Kaylin Williams (Kansas City, Mo.)
Both squads came out strong defensively keeping the score 0-0 at the end of the first half. Each team finished that half with seven shots apiece.
Rianna Reese (Liberty Township, Ohio) received a yellow card in the 11th minute, leading to a penalty shot by Olson that was saved by Malham, shortly after came EMU's first corner attempt from Olson.In the 20
In the 20th minute, Ohio showed offensive pressure with a shot by Allie Curry (Fairfield, Ohio) that went wide, Curry had another close attempt on a shot that was blocked in the 24th minute.
Curry took the corner in the 26th minute to add to the Bobcats offensive strength but was unable to get the goal. Paige Knorr (Cincinnati, Ohio) had a shot for Ohio in the 31st minute that went high. In the first half, Ohio saw much offensive action near the box with plenty of good opportunities to score. Defensively, the Bobcats and the Eagles were able to hold each other from putting any points on the board.
Malham performed great in goal, recording four saves in the first, including a close one shot by Olson in the 45th minute. EMU's Williams also had three saves in the first half.
In the 40th minute, Ohio had another great attempt at a shot by Sara Kattainen (Tampere, Finland) that was saved by Williams.
In the first half, Knorr, Curry, and Milesky all had 2 shots on goal, with Kattainen also having a shot attempt. The Bobcats had a total of one corner kick while the Eagles totaled two.
The Bobcats came into the second half with energy as Hannah Jaggers (Taylorsville, Ky.) recorded her first shot of the game, which went high. Ohio continued the action on the offensive end with a shot by Knorr, her third of the game.
In the 62nd minute, Jaggers would have a break down the field followed by two shots, one from Jaggers and one from Courtney Daugerdas (Libertyville, Ill.) in the 63rd that were both blocked. EMU's Mackenzie Etienne (Midland, Mich.) and Alia Frederick (Linden, Mich.) also both had shot attempts in the 65th minute. Excellence defense by the Bobcats was able to keep EMU from scoring midway through the second half of play.
Despite the Bobcats defensive efforts, Lindsey Shira (New Baltimore, Mich.) was able to capitalize on EMU's aggressive offense by netting the Eagles first goal in the 71st minute. Sydney Leckie (Medina, Ohio) got the corner for Ohio in the 77th but after a shot attempt from Maddie Kah (Hamilton, Ohio) that went wide, the Bobcats were not able to even the score. Ohio tried to get something going offensively in the final minutes of the second half; Milesky had a header shot that went wide as the Bobcats tried to keep the action on EMU's side of the field.
In the winding few minutes of the game, Ohio displayed high energy and aggression, capitalizing on a handball called against the Eagles that resulted in a goal scored by Curry in the 90th minute to tie it at 1-1. This was Curry's third goal of the season, and Leckie assisted her on the goal.
Overtime brought the win for Ohio, as Jaggers put up her second goal of the season in the one that would win the game for the Bobcats.
"We were just super energized from the start," Jaggers said. "I think we came out with the mentality that we were good enough to win and that's one of the things that's changed this season for sure. Especially being the beginning of MAC play, that always gives you an extra boost of energy; It's exciting."
The Bobcats finished the game with 18 total shots on goal, Jaggers with four, Curry, Milesky, and Knorr with three, and Kah, Victoria Breeden (Hudson, Ohio) Daugerdas, Kattainen, and Paige Pappanastos (Orland Park, Ill.) each having one.
In the net, Williams finished the match with three saves and allowed one. Eastern Michigan had four corner kicks to Ohio's one.
Ohio will continue MAC play Sunday (Sept. 24) when they host Central Michigan. First touch is set for 1 p.m. at Chessa Field.