EVANSVILLE, Ind. — Central Michigan scored three unanswered goals to defeat Evansville, 3-1, at Black Beauty Field at Arad McCutchan Stadium Friday night.
“We did well technically tonight at keeping possession of the ball and created a lot of space, which allowed us to have more time on the ball,” head coach Neil Stafford said. “When our offense is afforded more time and space, we can be a very good team.”
After Tasha Prentice put the Purple Aces (0-2-1) up, 1-0, on a 36-yard goal at the 7:25 mark, the Chippewas (2-0) came roaring back on the feet of senior Claire Horton and junior Autumn Hawkins.
At the 22:14 mark the first half, Horton lobbed a corner kick into the box to find Hawkins, who headed the pass into the back of the net to the tie the game, 1-1. The goal was her second of the season and third of her career.
The Maroon and Gold nearly extended their lead on headers by freshmen Morgan Wilcoxon and Laura Gosse later in the half, but both attempts just missed and the teams were knotted at the break.
The Chippewas came out aggressively in the second half and took the lead in the 51st minute of the contest on sophomore Jennifer Gassman’s first goal of the season and third of her career. Gassman fired a shot from 18-yards out after sophomore Kaely Schlosser’s attempt hit the crossbar to extend the lead to 2-1.
Just seven minutes later, freshman Emily Cooksey put the nail in the coffin for the Chippewas, scoring her first career goal from just inside the 18-yard box, as she fired a shot with her left foot past the diving UE keeper.
The Aces nearly cut the deficit to one with six minutes remaining, but Grace Labrecque, who was making her collegiate debut between the pipes after coming on for starter Stefanie Turner, made a spectacular diving save to preserve the 3-1 win.
“Our coaches did a great job of preparing our players this week in regards to what we worked on in training,” Stafford said. “Stephanie Webb and Ian Carry did a great job working with our forwards and that gave us the ability to keep the pressure off our backs and goalkeepers.”
The Chippewas outshot the Purple Aces, 13-7, in the game, while holding an 8-1 edge on corner kicks. Turner, who improved her record to 2-0 on the year, made two saves in 67 minutes before being replaced by Labrecque.
Central Michigan is back in action Sunday afternoon when it takes on Indiana State in Terre Haute, Ind., at 1 p.m.