Ohio Soccer gives up a goal late in 1-1 draw against Northern Illinois

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — On the eve before homecoming weekend, the Ohio women’s soccer team (6-4-2) settled for a 1-1 draw against MAC rival Northern Illinois (5-4-3). Although Ohio dominated possession and controlled most of the game, they were unable to continue their win streak against the Huskies.   

A few weeks prior to Oct. 6’s matchup, they had struggled with gritty losses at Kent State and at home against Buffalo. But coming off wins against Miami and Eastern Michigan, Ohio looked like it had finally found its rhythm to push them through MAC play.

From the sidelines Aaron Rodgers’ team had the upper hand on both sides of the ball.  

The first 15 minutes were very scrappy as both offenses struggled to maintain possession. Frequent long balls over the top led to an uneventful start.

After this grace period, senior forward Abby Townsend clicked into gear. Ascending down the right side of the field and lobbing ball after ball into the box, her presence was made known. It helped that the Huskies played with three defenders in their back line, giving Townsend space to utilize her creativity on the ball.

The Bobcats’ only real chance in the first half came off her corner and was inches away from netting them the lead.  

The second half the Bobcats were able to generate a lot more looks, but couldn’t connect.

“It’s one of those weird things in soccer where you can have a draw and feel like you probably left two more points on the table,” head coach Aaron Rodgers said.

The Bobcats were on offense the majority and were creating opportunities seemingly every time they pressed hard. Abby Townsend threw in over a half dozen balls into the box, yet had a hard time picking out her teammates on the receiving end. 

“It happened against Miami too,” Rodgers said. “We made the adjustment and scored a couple goals. We had to adjust where she was playing those balls and what runners were getting into the box. We knew it was coming.”   

The adjustment worked.

In the 60th minute and Abby Townsend flanking down the right side yet again, her teammate Regan Berg finally put one home to give Ohio the lead. With a new hat for today’s game after scoring three goals against Eastern Michigan, Berg continued her scoring streak.

“She just needed confidence,” Rodgers said. “We know what she’s able to bring and she’s just a powerful force. Very dangerous going forward.” 

Even with a 1-0 lead and more offensive firepower, Ohio conceded just over three minutes later. A burner into the bottom left corner of the net off Sam Wexell’s gloves evened the score line.   

With 11 minutes left and off another Abby Townsend corner, a goal was scored but immediately ruled offside.

“I think they were saying that Aubrey was in an offside position interfering,” Rodgers said.  

Although held to a draw on Oct. 6, the Bobcats will look to bounce back quickly when they take on Bowling Green away on Oct. 9. Kickoff for that game is set for 1 p.m.