Even though they started the season with three straight home games for the first time in program history, the Ohio women’s soccer team will have to try to win its first game of the season away from Chessa Field.
Senior forward Natasa Radosavljevic’s two goals in two minutes in the second half guided the DePaul Blue Demons to a 3-1 win against the Ohio Bobcats at Chessa Field on Friday evening.
“We have to learn to win games,” Ohio head coach Aaron Rodgers said. “The game came down to who was willing to put themselves on the line to compete a little harder to win. They (DePaul) capitalized on our mistakes in the game. We have to finish our chances when they present themselves.”
Despite only scoring one goal in the match, the Bobcats out-shot DePaul by five, 15-10, and they also took 10 corner kicks, while DePaul only had one, which came in the second half.
Senior ‘keeper Mattie Liston got the start in net for the ‘Cats. Liston made four saves in the match, which put her over 300 for her career. On the other side, DePaul stopper Alejandria Godinez made seven saves in the match.
Ohio had the first opportunity in the match. On three minutes, Erin Feeney had a look at goal, but the midfielder’s shot went over the goal and caused Godinez no trouble.
Ohio started to come into the game a little more after DePaul passed the ball around Ohio’s half of the field. In the 11th minute, Sasha Haverchak decided to unleash a shot, but Godinez was able to save comfortably.
Ohio had their first corner kick in the 16th minute. Godinez got a punch on the ball to make sure Ohio could not score. One minute later, Natalie Bechtel made a run to goal, and her pass did not find one of her teammates, which resulted in another save for Godinez.
On 19 minutes, DePaul made the breakthrough. Elise Wyatt made a run down the left flank, and after the pass was deflected, Ana Greik cleaned up the mess and put the ball past Liston into the bottom right corner of the net.
DePaul had a great chance to double its lead four minutes later. Ashleigh Goddard collected a cross from Wyatt, and her shot went over Liston’s head and out of play.
On 29 minutes, Ohio missed a golden opportunity to tie the score. A corner kick was sent in by Tonya Frasik, and Feeney eventually got her head on the ball, which forced Godinez to tip the ball over the bar.
Seven minutes later, Ohio leveled the score thanks to Feeney. After the referee awarded a penalty kick because of a hand ball in the box, Feeney stepped up and slotted the ball into the bottom left corner of the net to tie the score at one.
“I am very calm when I step up to take penalties,” Feeney said. “I just stepped up to the spot and took it for the team. I was happy I scored, but I had to get back into the game quickly because we were tied at one at the time.”
After Liston made her 300th career save in the first minute of the second half, DePaul regained the lead. Ohio’s defense was unable to clear a cross, which allowed Radosavljevic to tap the ball into the net to put Ohio under pressure once more.
Just a minute later, the Blue Demons doubled their lead. Liston could not hang onto the ball at the first time of asking, and Radosavljevic popped up and headed the ball in the goal for a 3-1 advantage.
“They had dynamic players up front,” Rodgers said. “It was a test for us. We will learn from it and continue to grow. This is a process. We have to make adjustments to make it right.”
Mollie Whitacre and Liz Finley had chances after DePaul’s third goal to cut the deficit in half, but Godinez was able to keep Ohio’s remaining shots out of the net.
“We have to keep going with what we are doing,” Rodgers said. “We have to learn to score and we have to learn to win matches. We need to be the team that scores the gritty goal and goes on to win the game.”