ATHENS, Ohio — The Ohio Women's soccer team (5-5-0, 2-0-0 MAC) continued conference play with a 3-0 shutout over Central Michigan (5-4-1, 0-20 MAC) at Chessa Field on a warm Sunday (Sept. 24) afternoon.
"We know what the team's capable of and it is down to their mentality," head coach Aaron Rodgers said, "It's down to their commitment and if they decide they want to really be competitive. We've had such a good team spirit from the very beginning of preseason. As we grow, we don't want to be peaking right now, we want this to be the beginning of our ascend into continuing to do better and better and this group likes playing with each other and they like being together and I think that's a big part of it."
The Bobcats opened the game facing strong offensive pressure from CMU, but came out energetic on the defensive end to make a handful of good stops within the first few minutes of the game. An early corner attempt from CMU led to a header shot attempted by Sarah Mitchell (Sterling, Mich.) that was blocked.
Hannah Jaggers (Taylorsville, Ky.) would score first for Ohio, in the 9th minute off an assist from Allie Curry (Fairfield, Ohio) to put the Bobcats in the lead 1-0. This was Jaggers third goal of the season.
Shannon Magnan (Brighton, Mich.) had a shot attempt in the 18th minute that was saved by Sydney Malham (Nashville, Tenn.), followed by another shot in the 19th minute by Madison Costner (Dublin, Ohio) that went high. Malham had another huge save in the 21st minute when she caught a shot by Madison Costner.
Ohio continued their aggressive offense with a shot on goal by Sydney Leckie (Medina, Ohio) that was saved by Zoie Reed (Woodbridge, Conn.) in the 31st minute. Sarina Dirrig (Powell, Ohio) had a great look at a shot in the 36th minute that was saved by Reed, and was followed by a corner kick by Mandy Arnzen (Edgewood, Ky.) that the Bobcats were unable to capitalize on.
In the 41st minute, Paige Pappanastos (Orland Park, Ill.) was able to get through the Chippewa's defense for a shot opportunity that went wide.
At the end of the first half, Ohio led CMU 1-0. Central Michigan came up with eight shot attempts to Ohio's four, and each squad ended up with two corner kicks a piece. Malham tallied four saves, to Reed's two. Sydney Leckie (Medina, Ohio), Jaggers, Pappanastos, and Dirrig each had one shot attempt.
The Bobcats came out to the second half showing incredible offensive pressure. Curry made use of a yellow card that was called on Reed by scoring on the penalty kick in the 49th minute to make the score 2-0. This was Curry's fourth goal of the season. The second half proved to bring great footwork and excellent ball movement and passing for the Bobcats.
Shortly after Ohio's second goal, Malham had an exceptional save on a shot by McKay Matheson (Bettendorf, Iowa) in the 53rd minute. CMU continued their offensive push in the 64th minute, when Haddie Carlson's (Oconomowoc, Wis.) shot went wide, leading to an Ohio goal kick.
The third goal of the game was scored by Sara Kattainen- her first of the season- at 70 minutes. The assist on that goal came from Courtney Daugerdas, who was able to breakaway and play it to Kattainen to extend Ohio's lead.
That was the last play for Reed, who was pulled at the 71st minute and replaced by Morgan Britain (Wolverine Lake, Mich.)
The Chippewa's continued to try and get something going in the 79th minute, but a shot by Marle Bringard (Midland, Mich.) was blocked. Another header attempt from Lexi Pelafas (Wheaton, Ill.) went wide in the 81st minute.
Savannah Beecher took a corner kick for CMU in the 87th minute that didn't result in much offensively for the Chippewa's.
Ohio continued their crushing offensive force in the final minutes of the game to finish the game with a 3-0 victory. Malham closed the game with seven total saves, three coming in the second half. Central Michigan had one save in the second half from Reed before her exit, and three total. The Chippewa's outshot Ohio 9-3 in the second half, and 17-7 in the game, but Ohio only needed 7 attempts to get the win. CMU had four corner kicks in the second half, and six in total, while Ohio tallied no corner's in the second half, and finished the game with two.
"It feels amazing, all credit to the players though," assistant coach Debs Brereton said. "We set a very detailed list of objectives to go to for today and they executed the game plan. We expected a very high press from Central. We knew that we were coming off a very close game on Friday, we were maybe a little bit fatigued but the players definitely took everything on the chin that they threw at us on the first half and to get the early lead was important and to grow on that was absolutely brilliant."
The Bobcats continue Mid-American Conference play on Friday, Sept. 29 when the Bobcats host Ball State. The first touch is set for 4 p.m. at Chessa. The Bobcats then hit the road to play rival Miami (Ohio) Sunday, Oct. 1 at 1 p.m.