The Bobcat defense was unrelenting against the Youngstown State Penguins (4-1) on Friday afternoon. The solid defense proved to be the difference for the women’s soccer team. Backed by a shutout performance from goalkeeper Mattie Liston, Ohio (4-3) handed the Youngstown State Penguins a 1-0 loss at Chessa Field, for the Bobcats’ fifth consecutive win.
Liston and the defense held the Penguins to 14 shots, only two of which were on goal. Their strong effort limited chances for Youngstown to put a threat on goal. The shutout was the defense’s fourth of the season.
“I always say, you can’t lose a game if you don’t give up a goal,” said Liston. “Continuing to have these shutouts is just going to make our offense more confident. Every time we have a shutout, it gives you more recognition for the fact that we played a good game. Maybe if you play outside back, you’re not going to have the goals and stuff like that, so shutouts are really what we strive for, so I’m glad that we’ve continued to do it.”
Liston tended the goal for the entire 90 minutes of the match, collecting two saves.
“I thought Mattie had a good game. Her kicking was consistent. She was able to come and get some balls out of the air, which eliminated some of their chances. Her communication was also good, so that’s why she played the full 90 minutes,” said Coach Stacy Strauss. “I think that she’s really matured in the past few years in terms of the mental side of the game and her willingness and ability to keep the players around her confident.”
The defense was also able to effectively employ the offsides tactic, catching Youngstown behind the back line five times over the course of the game.
The game-winning goal came early in the first half. In the ninth minute, Cat Rogers served the ball to Maggie Murnane, who, with her back to the goal, received the ball and turned to blast the ball into the back of the net.
“We want to get on top of teams early and we’ve done that in the last few games, and then unfortunately, we didn’t capitalize on other opportunities, so that’s the next step,” said Strauss of the early goal.
Though the ball only found the back of the net once during the game, Ohio relentlessly attacked the opposing side, firing off 22 shots over the course of the game. Only six shots, however, were on frame.
“I think just to be a little more confident at goal, maybe put them on target, give us a chance to get a rebound off and score,” said Murnane. “I mean it’s a step, a process. We’re working on it, and this next week, we’re going to finish and we’re going to go into conference strong and get those 22 shots and maybe make it 20 on goal.
Murnane contributed with seven total shots, four of which were on goal. Erin Feeney provided a strong offensive effort with three shots, two on goal.
It was a team effort on Friday afternoon. The defensive fueled the win, with just enough offensive support to give them an edge.
“A lot of girls on our team are hard workers and when we all gel together and work together as a core, it really shows,” said Murnane.
Ohio returns to action on Sept. 21 at Bowling Green to pick up MAC play.