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No. 6 Ohio Soccer Shuts Out No. 3 Western Michigan to Advance to MAC Semifinals 

No. 6 Ohio Soccer Shuts Out No. 3 Western Michigan to Advance to MAC Semifinals 

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KALAMAZOO, Mich. – The sixth-seeded Ohio soccer team (11-8-1) began Mid-American Conference Tournament play on Sunday, defeating No. 3 Western Michigan (8-10-1), 2-0, in the quarterfinals. The Bobcats advance to the semifinal for the second-straight year and will take on No. 7 Eastern Michigan on Friday, Nov. 8 in Bowling Green, Ohio. 

"Our whole group was amazing today," head coach Aaron Rodgers said. "All 28 players gave an incredible performance. This group continues to push each other and fight selflessly for the group. I am so proud of them and excited for the semifinal."

The Bobcats offense opened the game on fire with senior Sydney Leckie (Medina, Ohio) recording the first attempt in the third minute that forced the WMU keeper to make a save. Junior Sarina Dirrig (Powell, Ohio) followed that up with a shot of her own that went wide of the net. Sophomore Abby Townsend (Powell, Ohio) then registered an attempt that forced another WMU save to keep the game scoreless.  

In the 11th minute, Townsend registered back-to-back attempts with the first one going wide and the next one forcing another Broncos' save. 

Western Michigan recorded its first two attempts in the 17th and 18th minute with both shots going wide of the net. 

Another shot from Townsend in the 19th minute forced another Western Michigan save. Dirrig fired another shot of her own, however it was blocked by the Broncos' defense. 

After another attempt from WMU in the 30th minute that was blocked, senior Alivia Milesky (Plain City, Ohio) headed the ball just wide of the net, keeping the game scoreless. 

Sophomore Morgan Collica (Aurora, Ohio) recorded a shot in the 38th minute which was blocked. Western Michigan followed that up with an attempt of their own that forced a save by goalkeeper junior Sydney Malham (Nashville, Tenn.) to keep the game at 0-0 going into the half.  

At the half, Ohio outshot the Broncos, 9-4, with four of them on goal compared to WMU's one. 

The Bobcats struck in the opening minutes of the second half when Leckie scored unassisted from just outside the box to give the Bobcats the 1-0 lead. 

WMU responded with a header in the 54th minute that forced a save by Malham. Seconds later, the Broncos recorded another shot that was once again saved by Malham to keep the 1-0 lead. 

The Bobcats struck again in the 59th minute when Milesky scored with the help of Leckie to give Ohio a 2-0 lead. 

The Bobcats offense kept the pressure on the Broncos' defense with Townsend recording a shot, followed by back-to-back attempts from senior Courtney Daugerdas (Libertyville, Ill.) which were both blocked. In the 68th minute, Townsend registered another attempt, however the ball would hit the post, keeping the game at 2-0. 

Western Michigan picked up the pressure, recording six attempts over the next 10 minutes, forcing two saves from Malham to keep the game at 2-0. 

Western Michigan recorded one last attempt in the final minutes of the game, however the shot went wide of net, sealing Ohio's 2-0 victory. 

Overall, Ohio outshot WMU, 17-14, with seven on goal compared to WMU's five. 

Individually, Leckie recorded a goal and an assist on two shots, while Townsend registered six shots with three on goal. Milesky registered a goal on two shots, while Dirrig and Daugerdas registered two shots each. Collica, freshman Tristan Whalen (LaGrange, Ky.) and freshman Heather McGuire (Hamikton, Ohio) both recorded one shot. 

In net, Malham got the start, playing all 90 minutes and did not allow a goal while making five saves. 

Up next, the Bobcats will head to Bowling Green, Ohio for the 2019 MAC Tournament Semifinals on Friday, Nov. 8 when they take on No. 7 Eastern Michigan. First touch is TBA.