ATHENS, Ohio – Led by three points from senior Alivia Milesky and a goal early in the second half from junior Sarina Dirrig, the Ohio soccer team (8-6-1, 3-3-1 MAC) picked up a pivotal 2-1 victory over Mid-American Conference foe Central Michigan (7-3-2, 4-3-0 MAC) – who entered the day tied for second in the MAC - Friday evening (Oct. 18) at Chessa Field.
"I think we know the quality of soccer team we are," head coach Aaron Rodgers said. "When you get to this part of the MAC season, you have to match physicality and ramp up physicality. We didn't quite do that over 90 minutes in the last couple of games. So today, for us to prove that and play good soccer, I think it gives us a lot of confidence."
The Bobcats struck early, when in the second minute Milesky (Plain City, Ohio) hit a diving header past the CMU keeper, giving the Bobcats a 1-0 lead in the opening moments of the first half. Sophomore Olivia Sensky (Powell, Ohio) and senior Sydney Leckie (Medina, Ohio) assisted on the Milesky goal.
Here is the Goal that gave ohio a 1-0 lead here early pic.twitter.com/J31OnVnjnL— Ohio Soccer (@OhioWSoccer) October 18, 2019
Ohio kept putting pressure on the CMU defense early on, with junior Jenni Santacaterina (Geneva, Ill.) firing a ball that went just over the net. Dirrig (Powell, Ohio) recorded two attempts back-to-back in the sixth and seventh minutes, with the final attempt forcing the CMU keeper to make another save.
Leckie registered a shot of her own in the 12th minute, on a ball that forced the CMU keeper to make another save.
However, Central Michigan struck moments later, when in the 15th minute, Lauren DeBeau scored on a ball from Maddie West that tied the game at 1-1.
The Bobcats looked to get the goal back in the 17th minute when Milesky fired the ball at the CMU keeper, forcing her to make a save to keep the game tied at 1-1.
Central Michigan would start to put pressure on the Ohio defense with an attempt in the 21st minute that forced starting keeper Sydney Malham (Nashville, Tenn.) to make a save. Another attempt in the 24th minute forced another Malham save, while a shot in the 27th minute when wide of the net, keeping the game at 1-1.
Central Michigan kept control of the half, with another shot on goal in the 31st minute, however, neither team scored during the remaining 15 minutes, sending the game to the half with it tied at 1-1.
At the half, Central Michigan and Ohio were tied with five shots each, while the Bobcats has two corner kicks, compared to CMU's one.
The Bobcats opened up the second half just as they did the first, with a goal. In the 46th minute, Dirrig received the ball from Milesky right in front of the CMU net, putting it just past the CMU keeper, putting Ohio up 2-1 early in the second half.
���������������� pic.twitter.com/J5WtgYJgKG— Ohio Soccer (@OhioWSoccer) October 18, 2019
CMU tried to get the equalizer in the 54th minute, however, Malham was there to make the save, keeping the Bobcats' lead.
After another attempt from Central Michigan in the 58th minute, Milesky recorded another shot of her own, this one in the 71st minute, forcing the CMU keeper to make a save to keep the game within reach. Milesky got her foot on the ball again in the 77th minute, however, this one would go wide of the net.
After another shot from CMU, Ohio kept the pressure on the CMU defense, with shots from Leckie coming in the 84th minute and one from Maddie Young (Cincinnati, Ohio) in the 85th minute, both forcing the CMU keeper to make a save, keeping the game at 2-1.
Central Michigan kept working to get the tying goal, recording a shot on goal in the 88th minute that forced a Malham stop and then firing the ball at the net in the final seconds, with the ball sailing just wide of the net, securing Ohio's 2-1 victory.
Overall, Ohio and Central Michigan were tied with 10 shots each, with CMU recording six corner kicks compared to the Bobcats three.
Individually, Ohio was led by Milesky who scored one goal and had one assist on four shots, with three on goal. Dirrig recorded a goal on two shots and Sensky and Leckie both had one shot and one assist, while Santacaterina and Young both added shots for Ohio as well.
In net, Malham got the start, playing all 90 minutes, while allowing one goal and making five saves.
Up next, the Bobcats return to Chessa Field one final time during the regular season on Sunday, Oct. 20 when they host Eastern Michigan at 1 p.m. Come early and help celebrate Ohio's five seniors prior to the start of Sunday's match.