Ohio’s midfielder Sarina Dirrig pushes past Central Michigan’s defenders Ally Viazanko, left, and Savannah Beetcher during their game on September 24, 2017 in Athens, Ohio. (Kelsey Brunner/WOUB)

Ohio Soccer: Efficient Offense Propels Ohio to Win Over Western Michigan

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Second place in the Mid-American Conference was on the line for the Ohio women’s soccer team and Western Michigan Sunday afternoon that enthralled the fans at Chessa Field.

The Bobcats (8-6-3, 6-2-2 MAC) held possession for much of the game, forcing the Broncos (12-6, 6-4 MAC) to attack on the break whenever they could, as both teams equaled shot totals at nineteen a piece.

The difference maker for this game was efficiency in front of goal, Ohio forced Western Michigan goalkeeper Hannah Sargent to make 10 saves, giving up two goals while Ohio keeper Sydney Malham was only tested five times and kept a clean sheet.

The scoring opened early into the game, Madelyn Kah’s shot on goal in the sixth minute fell right back at her feet to pass to Sydney Leckie, who put it in the net to put the Bobcats up 1-0.

Western Michigan would put constant pressure on the defense throughout, forcing nine total corners, but the Broncos could not finish any opportunities they had — Ohio on the other hand played conservatively, looking to hold onto their lead.

Aggression was the theme to start the second quarter, both midfields contested several possessions without any shots for ten minutes.

A rebound save from Hannah Sargent fell at the feet of Sarina Dirrig who put the ball in the back of the net to double Ohio’s lead.

Down two, the Broncos began to play with a sense of desperation but it was too little, too late. Ohio came away with a crucial win over a Broncos team who was one spot above them in the standings.

Ohio’s coaching staff made the decision to use six substitutes compared to Western Michigan’s two, associate head coach Debs Brereton explained their strategy.

“We’re fortunate to have great depth on our team,” Brereton said. “The players who came off the bench made a great impact today, like you saw with Sarina.”

The Bobcats end their home stand against Kent State on Thursday afternoon at 3 p.m. at Chessa Field.