EMU women's soccer game ends with a draw

The Eastern Michigan University women’s soccer team ended a four game road trip with a hard-fought 1-1 draw with the Butler University Bulldogs at the Butler Bowl in Indianapolis, Ind. on Sunday Sept 8.

The draw was the first tie of the season for EMU. Butler senior forward Katie Griswold opened the scoring in the 29th minute, taking advantage of a misplay by the Eastern defense. Eagles senior midfielder Cara Cutaia tied the game in the 65th, with a wonderfully placed chip from 20 yards out.

Sophomore goalkeeper Megan McCabe continued her stellar season for EMU (1-3-1), stopping seven shots. Cutaia’s goal upped her tally to three on the year, which leads the team. Defenseman Marisa Kozikowski and midfielder Molli Krick, both juniors, each picked up an assist for the Cutaia goal.

“The thing is we haven’t played a bad team yet,” EMU head coach Scott Hall said of his opponents. “Still, going off of quality chances and not just shots, I think we still had a chance to win the game.”

For Butler (4-1-2), senior goalkeeper Julie Burton faced only ten total shots, stopping three of the four on target. Griswold picked up her first goal of the season, which was assisted by senior defenseman Olivia Colosimo and senior midfielder Mary Allen.

“We did a lot of things well today, but our standard is still a lot higher than a tie,” Butler co-head coach Tari St. John told media after the game. “We are creating quality chances in the final third, but we need to do a better job of finishing.”

Early on, the two teams looked evenly matched, trading opportunities and each gaining two corner kicks apiece. But in the 29th minute, a lapse in communication between McCabe and the Eagles defense left a loose ball and an open net, which Griswold pounced on and gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead.

From then on, Butler controlled the rest of first half, outshooting Eastern 4-1. At the end of the half, Butler had outshot EMU 10-4 and held the Eagles to zero shots on target. But, despite the lopsided opportunities, the Eagles defense held their ground and kept the deficit at 1-0.

Eastern came out stronger in the second half, getting their first shot on goal of the game in the 50th minute, when junior forward Angela Vultaggio ripped a shot on the Butler goal, but was saved by Burton.

Play settled, in large part, following the Vultaggio shot, as the two teams traded possessions with little threat coming from either side.

But things changed in the 65th minute, when a Kozikowski ball found an open Krick, who dished it off to Cutaia just outside of the 18-yard box. With a heads up play, Cutaia chipped a perfectly paced ball over the head of Burton and into the Butler goal to tie the game at one goal apiece.

The two teams seemed to be preparing for overtime, making multiple substitutions and possessing more than attacking. Both teams each had shots on goal in the final minute, but neither were threatening and regulation ended deadlocked at 1-1.

Eastern had an opportunity in the 98th minute, winning a corner kick, but freshman forward Madison Hirsch’s cross was cleared away by the Bulldog defense. Butler responded with an opportunity of its own, but the Griswold shot was easily stopped by McCabe and the first overtime session ended still tied at 1-1.

Butler nearly ended things early into the second overtime, when sophomore midfielder Sophia Maccagnone caromed a shot off the crossbar in the 102nd minute. Griswold tried to head in the rebound, but her chance went out of play and the threat was ended.

The final chance came in the form of Eastern senior midfielder Emily Kowalzyk’s shot in the 109th minute. But Burton was present to make the save and the final whistle blew, forcing both teams to settle for the tie.

“We wanted to get through the (road) trip without any major injuries, which we did, we played tough teams and a tough schedule but we’re still excited,” Hall said about his teams’ four game road trip. “It will be nice to be back home and play on our own field and sleep in our own beds.”

EMU returns home to Scicluna Field on Sun. Sept. 15 to begin a five-game home stand, starting with Big Ten foe Michigan State University.

Game time is 1 p.m.

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Follow Josh Dye on Twitter: @JdyeEMUEcho.

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