Soccer: Ohio, Miami Draw In Double-Overtime Battle

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Ohio soccer coach Aaron Rodgers has preached all season for his team to play the full 90 minutes in games, and the Bobcats (5-3-3, 1-1-1) put together a 110-minute performance Friday night at Oxford, Ohio, against rival Miami (OH) (4-6-1, 1-1-1) in a double-overtime tie, 1-1.

The Bobcats received a strong performance from goalkeeper Mattie Liston, who had 10 saves in her final regular season game against Miami and helped end Ohio’s five-game losing streak to the RedHawks.

“Mattie’s a senior, like you said, with tons of experience, and [Friday] we needed that experience. We needed her,” Rodgers said. “A goalkeeper’s job is to do the little things and to make the little saves the routine plays, to keep the game going. And she’s gotta make the big saves to keep us in the game.”

And Liston made those big saves.

In the two overtimes, Miami outshot Ohio, 8-1, but couldn’t put any in the back of the net because of Liston.

In the 102nd minute, the RedHawks had two huge opportunities to score. Liston blocked the first shot attempt, but the rebound found Miami’s Hailey Pleshakov five yards from the goal and she headed it towards the goal when Liston quickly jumped up and snagged it before it crossed the goal line.

Ohio started the game with an intensity Rodgers has been searching for in past games, and it showed as the Bobcats were the first on the scoreboard with a 25-yard rocket by Lexi Milesky, her third goal of the season.

The Bobcats’ intensity faltered in the final 20 minutes of the first half, as Miami’s Jess Bronke scored in the 36th minute, but Ohio regrouped at halftime and boosted its defensive intensity for the rest of the game.

“Today, I kept saying 45 (minutes) like eight. Eight minutes. Eight minutes,” Rodgers said. “Because when we played Niagara and came back and scored the two winning goals in the last eight minutes, we showed an unbelievable amount of character and unbelievable amount of drive. And that’s what I wanted them to do.”

Friday night’s tie was the fourth time in the last six matches that the Bobcats have gone into overtime against the team’s biggest rival. It ended Ohio’s losing streak that dated back to Oct. 19, 2008.

“I told the girls before the game I understand that Miami’s the biggest rival of Ohio. I think rivalries are fantastic and I love them,” Rodgers said. “But our goal is to score more goals than our opponent and finish higher in the league than we did last year. And this is just another rung in the ladder to get to that goal.”

The Bobcats hit the road again for Sunday’s match against Ball State (7-3-1, 2-1-0). The Cardinals lost Friday night to Kent State, 1-0. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. in Muncie, Ind.