It was a tale of two halves for the Ohio soccer team in its 2-1 road loss to Eastern Michigan.
Coach Stacy Strauss’ team lacked the communication that often makes them successful defensively, and two turnovers on the Bobcats’ side of the field gave Eastern Michigan an easy transition to score.
The scoring began in the 24th minute when the Eagles’ Bianca Rossi rocketed a shot at Ohio goalie Mattie Liston. The junior was able to save the shot, but the rebound went straight Cara Cutaia, who headed it into the back of the net giving the Eagles an early lead.
A short 12 minutes later, Rossi wasn’t done. Following a cross from Angela Vultaggio, Rossi fired another shot at Liston, this time putting the ball behind the goalie. Right away, the Eagles had two goals on a lack of communication and turnovers by the Bobcats on their side of the field.
“They had good individual one-v-one attacking players, and I thought we got exposed a little bit for speed on the second goal,” Strauss said. “Both of them were a result of a turnover on our own half of the field.”
The Bobcats opened the second half a different team. Their communication had improved from Liston to the forwards, and their possession of the ball had improved from earlier. For Strauss, the team started to play well too late.
“We gave them too many balls in the first half that they were able to pick off,” Strauss said. “They're a very good team, so if you give them those chances and give them the opportunity to run at us, they're going to punish us, which they did.”
The Bobcats regained life in the 73rd minute when Ronnie Rock fired a shot to lower the deficit to one. Rock’s goal shifted the momentum, and Liston made several late saves to keep her team in the game. Strauss was pleased with her goalie’s play late.
“(Liston’s) kicking was pretty consistent, and she was able to come and get some services,” Strauss said. “She communicates well and keeps us pretty organized defensively.”
Ohio’s efforts were limited, though, as the clock was not in their favor.
“It's frustrating when they're able to execute in the final 20 minutes what they should've done the first minute on,” Strauss said.
Liston’s seven saves inched her closer to the Ohio career record. The goalie now needs 23 more to tie the record set in 2001 by Vanessa Dennis.
The Bobcats travel to Western Michigan Sunday, hoping to get back onto their winning ways after losing two straight in the Mid-American Conference.