ROCKFORD, Ill.– For the first time since 2011, the Ohio soccer team (6-3-0, 1-0-0 MAC) faced Northern Illinois (2-5-1, 0-1-0) on the road and left with a victory. Ohio opened Mid-American Conference play on Friday (Sept. 27), defeating the Huskies, 2-1, at the Indoor Sports Center at MercyHealth Sportscore in Rockford, Ill.
Due to weather in Dekalb, Ill., Friday's game was moved to an indoor facility in Rockford, Ill.
"This was a great way to start the conference season," head coach Aaron Rodgers said. "We played a very controlled game, created great chances and scored two wonderful goals. NIU made it very tough for us and scored a very good counter attack goal, but our team was very resilient and hold on for the win."
NIU opened the game with the first attempt, a ball that would go left of the net in the second minute. Ohio responded later, getting its first attempt in the 11th minute, a ball that was fired at the net by sophomore Olivia Sensky (Powell, Ohio), that forced the NIU keeper to make a save.
Freshman Maddie Young (Cincinnati, Ohio) recorded another Bobcat attempt in the 15th minute, another ball that forced the NIU keeper to make a save to keep the game scoreless. Ohio kept pushing, with junior Paige Knorr (Cincinnati, Ohio) and sophomore Abby Townsend (Powell, Ohio) recording attempts in the 21st and 23rd minute.
Ohio's pressure paid off moments later when Abby Townsend received the ball from Young and firing it past the keeper, giving Ohio the 1-0 lead in the 24th minute.
Ohio kept putting on the offensive pressure, with senior Alivia Milesky (Plain City, Ohio) adding a shot in the 30thminute, before senior Sydney Leckie (Medina, Ohio) registered an attempt that went wide in the 32nd minute, keeping the game at 1-0.
Ohio refused to let up the pressure, with freshman Olivia Page (Springboro, Ohio) recording an attempt in the 38th minute, followed by a shot from sophomore Lindsey Townsend (New Albany, Ohio) that went wide of the net in the 42nd minute. Neither team recorded another shot the rest of the half and the Bobcats went into halftime with the 1-0 lead.
Overall, Ohio outshot NIU, 9-1, with three shots on goal to the Huskies zero. Ohio also registered four corner kicks to NIU's one.
Ohio opened the second half where they left off, with senior Courtney Daugerdas (Libertyville, Ill.) getting the first shot of the half in the 46th minute on a ball that forced the NIU keeper to make a save to keep the game at 1-0. Moments later, Abby Townsend recorded another shot, however it went wide of the net.
Ohio added on in the 49th minute, when Young scored with assists from Milesky and Leckie, giving Ohio a 2-0 lead.
NIU registered its first shot since the opening minutes of the game in the 53rd minute on a ball that forced starting keeper Sydney Malham (Nashville, Tenn.) to make a save to keep the two-goal lead.
Abby Townsend recorded another attempt, forcing another NIU save, followed by NIU recording another shot, forcing another save from Malham. NIU struck moments later, cutting the Ohio lead to 2-1 in the 58th minute on a goal from Julia Neary.
After the NIU goal, the Ohio offense looked to get the goal back, with Milesky and Leckie recording shots. Milesky registered another shot in the 74th minute, before junior Sarina Dirrig (Powell, Ohio) forced the NIU keeper to make another save in the 76th minute. Sophomore Morgan Collica (Aurora, Ohio) registered her own shot on goal moments later, forcing the NIU keeper to make another save to keep the game at 2-1.
After the attempts from Milesky, Dirrig and Collica, Daugerdas recorded the only shot over the next 15 minutes, as the Bobcats secured the 2-1 victory.
Overall, Ohio outshot NIU, 19-5, with nine on goal compared to the Huskies' three.
Individually, Abby Townsend recorded one goal and one assist on four shots, with two on goal, while Miesky recorded three attempts. Young also recorded a goal and one assist on two shots, with two on goal. Leckie registered two attempts and one assists in the victory. Daugerdas, Knorr, Lindsey Townsend, Collica, Sensky and Dirrig all recorded shots for the Bobcats.
In net, Malham got the start, allowing one goal and making two saves on five shots faced in 90 minutes of action.
Up next, Ohio heads to Kalamazoo, Mich. on Sunday, Sept. 29 to take on Western Michigan. First touch is set for 1 p.m.