The Ohio Bobcats women’s soccer team came away with a 3-2 win against the Akron Zips in a game that saw most of the action played out in the final 18 minutes of the match at Chessa Field Friday afternoon.
“Any time you can get three points, you take it,” head coach Stacy Strauss said. “I thought we had some good individual efforts, but I also thought we were a better team in possession and certainly were better in a lot of the individual battles.”
Leading Ohio to victory was freshman Holly Harris, who had two goals spaced within two minutes of each other. In the 73rd minute of the match, Harris found the back of the net on a shot 25 yards out, striking the ball into the upper corner. Cat Rogers was credited with the assist.
Harris struck again in the 74th minute to give Ohio the 3-0 lead with 15 minutes remaining in the game. Rogers was again credited with the assist.
“I’ve played with her a lot this season and we can kind of read each other now,” Harris said of Rogers. “We have a few little slip-ups, but that second goal, I knew she wasn’t going to go baseline, there was other people there, so I just held my run and got the goal.”
After taking the 3-0 lead, the Bobcats were poised for victory, but the Zips looked to shake things up. Less than three minutes after Harris’ second goal, Akron found the back of the net. Amber Kern headed the ball in on a corner kick taken by Kelly DeNiro.
With the intensity of the match at heightened levels, Akron continued to push the Bobcat defense, again finding the back of the net with five minutes remaining in the game. Akron’s second goal came from Ashley Hughes who sent the ball low and just inside the goalpost. Katie Wise had the assist.
Ohio was able to fend off the Zips during the final five minutes to maintain the lead.
“It certainly would have been nice to not give up goals, but in the past, that’s the sort of thing that we would have really put our heads down and been in trouble,” said Strauss. “I thought that we really had some fortitude in the last five minutes, as I said, to keep the ball and take the win.”
Much of the first half was a game of possession, with both teams trying to create opportunities. In the first half, Ohio had seven shots compared to Akron’s five.
Ohio goalkeeper Mattie Liston had a crucial save in the 40th minute of the match on a corner kick, making a diving stop just inside the post, which kept the game scoreless.
The ‘Cats’ attack on the opposing goal paid off when Liz Finley fired the first goal of the game into the back of the net with three minutes remaining in the first half. Ronni Rock, who had the assist, sent the ball into the box on a free kick and Finley was able to take a shot at close range.
“I’m not the one to get up and go win headers with all of these tall people around me, so I usually get whatever comes out of the goalie’s hands, so if she bobbles it, I hopefully get a foot on it and put it in the net,” Finley said.
Both teams had 17 total shots in the game. For the Bobcats, eight of those shots were on goal. Akron had five shots on goal.
Much of the action occurred in the end of the game, but Ohio came out on top.
“This is a game that maybe later on (we can) look back to as an example of a game in which we did what needed to be done in the last five minutes to keep the ball and get the win,” Strauss said.