Bobcats start conference play with victory over winless Falcons

Ohio head coach Aaron Rodgers and the Ohio women’s soccer team know they have a great opportunity to start Mid-American Conference play with a bang against two winless teams.

Carly Manso made sure that the team did not have a let down in their first home game in 19 days.

Manso’s second-half goal and two assists gave the Bobcats a come-from-behind 3-1 victory against the Bowling Green State Falcons at Chessa Field on Friday evening.

Kaitlyn Tobin found the back of the net in the ninth minute for Bowling Green (0-7-0, 0-1-0 MAC), but second-half goals from Holly Harris, Allison Cislo and a penalty from Carly Manso secured the victory for Ohio (5-2-2, 1-0-0 MAC).

With the win, the Bobcats extended its unbeaten run to six games. Even though the team has started on the right foot in conference play, Rodgers knows his team can perform better than they did today.

“We outshot them and had more corner kicks, but we didn’t come to compete in the first half,” Rodgers said. “I talked to the team at halftime about showing heart, and we were able to take our chances in the second half.”

The Bobcats held a massive advantage over the Falcons in shots and corner kicks. Ohio took 21 shots compared to Bowling Green’s five, and Ohio executed 15 corner kicks, while Bowling Green was unable to attempt a single corner kick.

Ohio starting goalkeeper Mattie Liston made two saves in the match, and Bowling Green starting stopper Lauren Cadel collected seven saves in the contest.

In the first minute of the match, Ohio had a great chance to get on the board. Junior defender Tonya Frasik put the ball into the box from the left side of the field via a free kick, and the ball fell right to Alexis Milesky, whose right-footed shot was saved by Cadel.

Eight minutes later, the Falcons shocked the hosts. Madeline Wideman’s shot was saved by Liston, but the ‘keeper could not prevent Tobin from cleaning up the spill and putting the ball in the back of the net to give the Falcons the early 1-0 advantage.

In the tenth minute, the Bobcats almost leveled proceedings. Carly Manso was on the right edge of the penalty box, and the Colorado transfer unleashed a shot that was saved by the finger tips of Cadel.

Sixteen minutes later, Manso was at it again. The redshirt freshman was on the left side of the field, and her long-range effort was easily saved by Cadel.

Despite wearing a brace on her right knee, Maggie Murnane came close to adding to her goal tally for the season. Cislo ran down the right side of the field and picked out Murnane with a pass, but the senior slipped and her shot lacked power, which led to another save by Cadel.

Three minutes before halftime, the Falcons were a couple inches away from adding a second goal. Tobin got the ball in the middle of the field, and she charged toward the goal. The true freshman blasted a shot at goal and her shot beat Liston, but the ball hit the crossbar and bounced out.

Ohio came out after halftime and applied immediate pressure on the visitors. The Bobcats had to wait 15 minutes before they eventually knotted the game at one.

Manso had the ball on the right side of goal, and she delivered the ball to Harris, who tapped the ball into the bottom left corner of the goal to hand the Bobcats the momentum.

On 64 minutes, Ohio wasted a great opportunity to take the lead for the first time in the match. Frasik took a corner from the right side of the field, and Annie Beard got her head on the ball, but the junior’s effort went right of the post.

With six minutes remaining, the Bobcats got the lead for good. Frasik took another corner, found Manso, who found Cislo, and the freshman’s one-timer went past Cadel to put pressure on Bowling Green to find an equalizer with a little amount of time remaining.

“It was an amazing feeling when the ball went in the back of the net,” Cislo said. “The team relies on the forwards to score, and I knew I needed to get one.”

Two minutes later, Ohio put the result beyond doubt. Cislo was brought down in the penalty area, which resulted in a penalty kick for the home side. Manso stepped up and coolly slotted the ball past Cadel into the bottom left corner to make the score 3-1.

“I embrace the pressure of taking a penalty,” Manso said. “It is a good opportunity to score a goal.”

Bowling Green did its best to try to answer, but they were unable to beat Liston for a second time.

Ohio will now look to extend its current unbeaten run to seven matches on Sunday afternoon. Rodgers knows the team must play hard for the whole match.

“We need to play a 90-minute match,” Rodgers said. “We can’t pick and choose when we want to play.”

Ohio will be hoping to win its first two matches in conference play when it hosts Central Michigan on Sunday. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.

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