After tying a tough Michigan State squad at home to wrap up its nonconference schedule, the Eastern Michigan women’s soccer team headed to Ohio this past weekend to open its Mid-American Conference play.
The games against Akron and Ohio were the first test for Eastern in its quest for a MAC title. And both games ended in a stalemate.
The Eagles (4-2-4, 0-0-2) match with U-A went the distance to the tune of a double-overtime draw. Behind senior Ashley Rodrigues’ fourth goal of the season Friday, the Eagles finished with an 1-1 result.
“It was a really good game,” Rodrigues said. “Like anything else we’ve got to hang on to that lead. It kind of kicked us in the butt when they came back and tied.”
Junior keeper Monique Budani, who splits time in goal with fellow junior Maggie Manville, and started the game against Akron (2-3-2, 0-0-1), and said the match “was pretty intense.”
“I thought we played really hard,” she said. “When we went to the game we were really pumped up and wanted to win. They were just as determined as we were. It could have gone either way. Unfortunately we came out with a tie and not the win.”
In the second consecutive contest against an Ohio foe, the result was nearly the same as the first.
Eastern once again played to a double-overtime draw, but this time it was against Ohio University (3-5-1, 0-1-1). Playing to a scoreless tie, Eastern’s defense held O-U at bay but it couldn’t generate any scoring on offense.
“(Sunday) was pretty much the same thing,” Rodrigues said of the game. “We thought we were the better team out there.”
Even though the Eagles couldn’t come away with any wins on the road trip, Hall liked what he saw this past weekend.
“We played an Ohio team who had gotten beat pretty bad on Friday so they came out with the attitude of any means necessary,” Hall said.
“We show a lot of resiliency,” he added. “I’m pretty proud of the team as a whole because it’s tough to go on the road.”
The Eagles may be coming home with two ties to start conference play but their upcoming schedule is favorable.
EMU starts a four-game home stand this weekend at Scicluna Field where the Eagles are 2-1-1 this season.
“I think just playing at home makes the girls that much more determined to win,” Budani said. “We don’t want to let people take us on our home field.
EMU continues conference play and opens the afore mentioned homestand against Buffalo at 3 p.m. Friday. U-B is 1-8-1 (0-1-1).
“Like any other team in the MAC they’ll be a good competitor,” Rodrigues said. “We don’t over or underestimate any team we play. We’ve got to capitalize on our home game advantages and get some W’s.”