Updated Sat, Sep 24, 2011 9:03 am
Cat Rogers uncorked a 30-yard rocket in the 83rd minute to give Ohio its first Mid-American Conference win of the 2011 season on Friday, a 1-0 decision over the visiting Eastern Michigan Eagles. The win was the second consecutive shutout victory for the Bobcats, who have improved to 4-5 on the season and 1-0 in MAC play.
"We didn't lose our composure, even in the late going," said head coach Stacy Strauss. "We were just patient and tried to find the opportunity. Cat (Rogers) then hit a great shot."
Ohio came out attacking right from the start on Friday, really pressuring the Eastern Michigan defense. Kelsey Pichel hit a shot on goal in the first minute of play and teammate Katie Kemen fired one on target just a few moments later. Goalkeeper Maggie Manville was well positioned both times, making two early saves to keep the game scoreless.
The match intensified in the middle of the first half, as the two sides combined for exciting end-to-end action. Erin Schwenke fired a shot on goal from 22 yards out in the 22nd minute, but Manville made yet another save. Just a minute later, EMU's Chelsea Detrick found herself in a one-on-one situation with Ohio goalkeeper Mattie Liston. Detrick unleashed a shot from the top of the box which Liston was able to collect. Not even a minute later, Ohio's Rachael Philpot fired a shot just inches over the crossbar on the ensuing counterattack.
Just when it appeared that the match was destined to remain a goalkeepers' duel, Rogers fired an absolute rocket from 30 yards out that found its way into the back of the net. The midfielder collected a nice pass from Philpot and took a few touches before looking down and driving the ball towards goal. Manville was unable to make this save, as the ball just slid over her outstretched hands and underneath crossbar for the deciding tally.
"Coming into the match we knew their defense was going to drop back, so our game plan was to shoot as much as possible," said Rogers. "We weren't happy with the amount of shots we were getting in the first half so when I got it there (in the midfield) I just thought `shoot it,' and it went in."
Eastern Michigan mounted one final attack in the last minute of play, earning a corner kick as time was about to expire. The ensuing cross was cleared to safety by the Bobcat defense, securing the victory.
"I think that the team is starting to play and conduct themselves like the veteran group that they are," said Strauss. "That was the difference today, in a lot of ways."
Ohio's next match is a Sept. 25 contest against Central Michigan. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. from Chessa Field. Sunday is Youth Day at Chessa Field, which will include pre-game announcements and youth teams playing on the field at halftime.