The Eastern Michigan University women’s soccer team continued its dominating start to conference play, beating Bowling Green State University 2-1 at Cochrane Field, extending EMU’s winning streak to five games. This win streak is the longest the team has had since 2001 (seven-game winning streak).
It was an unorthodox victory for Eastern (6-4-1. 3-0-0 MAC), as senior midfielder Stephanie Clarke scored her third penalty kick of the season, while the other goal came when a Bowling Green State defender knocked a crossed ball into her own net.
Sophomore goalkeeper Megan McCabe faced five shots on goal, stopping four in the win. The Eagles had the upper hand in scoring opportunities, outshooting Bowling Green 27-12 in total shots and 14-5 in shots on goal.
“We had to really fight through some frustration, but in the end, it was one of those games where good teams find a way to win,” EMU coach Scott Hall said of his team’s performance. “It was a little odd, with the PK and the own goal, but we got the goals we needed to win.”
For the Falcons (0-9-0. 0-3-0 MAC), redshirt freshman goalkeeper Lauren Cadel kept her team in the game despite facing a barrage of EMU shots. In the end, Cadel stopped 12 of the 14 shots on goal she faced. Freshman midfielder Taylor Bucaro scored the lone goal for BGSU.
EMU started the game on the attack, garnering dangerous opportunities very early. In the fourth minute, Clarke and junior defender Emily Dzik each had chances to open the scoring, but Cadel stood firm and kept the game level. Junior forward Bianca Rossi followed up with two chances of her own, one in the eighth minute and the other in the 15th, but both were stopped by Cadel.
Through the first 35 minutes of the game, EMU outshot Bowling Green State 7-0, yet the game remained scoreless. The first Falcons shot on goal came in the 39th minute, when freshman midfielder Haley Malaczewski attempted a shot from the right corner of the EMU 18 yard box. However, McCabe was spot on and hauled in the save to keep the score even.
Despite EMU dominating the play, BGSU would not go away quietly and nearly scored the first goal of the game right before the first half ended. With 35 seconds remaining, senior midfielder Madeline Wideman attempted a shot that headed towards the upper left corner of the EMU goal. But McCabe came up big again, getting the finger tip save and the game went into the half tied at zero.
The second half began with the Falcons being awarded back-to-back corner kicks. The first was knocked out of play, leading to the second, which was cleared out of danger by the EMU defense and the ensuing counterattack led to the first goal of the game.
In the 47th minute, junior forward Angela Vultaggio corralled the cleared ball and carried possession down the right flank, sending in a low cross into the Bowling Green box. As Cadel came off of her line in an attempt to stop the crossed ball, a fellow defenseman made a lunging attempt at the ball as well. The miscommunication led to the ball deflecting off of the defender and into the vacated net, giving Eastern the 1-0 lead.
Four minutes later, the Eagles sent a ball into the Falcons box, followed by a foul by BGSU. Bowling Green State was called for a hand ball and the Eagles were award a penalty kick. Clarke stepped up and converted on the shot, doubling the EMU lead to 2-0.
It wouldn’t take long for the Falcons to get one back, when Bucaro unleashed a blast from 35 yards out that found the top corner of the net and made the score 2-1 just 51 seconds after the EMU goal.
Both teams would trade shots during the second half, but neither team could change the score, as the defenses played strong.
Bowling Green threw one final barrage at the Eagles defense with seconds remaining in the game, but EMU held their ground and the team prevailed to the 2-1 victory, their first road win of the season.
“In this conference, it’s a dogfight. If you don’t bring your A-game, for 90 minutes, you aren’t going to get the result,” coach Hall said. “What I’m proud of today was we found a way to get the ‘W.’ We didn’t let the frustration get the best of us and we got the result.”
Follow Josh Dye on Twitter: @JdyeEMUEcho.