ATHENS, Ohio – Freshman forward Holly Harris scored the first two goals of her collegiate career, including the second half game-winner, to lead Ohio to its fourth straight victory on Sunday afternoon. The 2-1 win over Cleveland State marks the longest winning streak in eight seasons for Ohio Soccer.
“Our focus has been on continuing to get a little bit better with each day of training,” said Head Coach Stacy Strauss. “I think we need to continue to keep our focus on the process and the results will come. Moving forward we’d like to finish more of our chances.”
Harris’ game-winning goal came in the 62nd minute of the match. With the score tied at 1-1, the Bobcats had been applying a lot of pressure throughout the first part of the second half and finally found the back of the net with the freshman’s game winner. Harris scored off of a corner kick by senior midfielder Cat Rogers (Etobicoke, Ontario). Rogers served the ball to the top of the box where it was headed by midfielder Annie Beard (Mason, Ohio). Beard’s header bounced around the front of the net where Harris kicked it in past the diving Viking goalkeeper.
“We definitely played as a team,” Harris said. “There were times where the match got a little out of control, but we played as a team to keep things together and get that second goal.”
The Bobcats struck first in the match. Fewer than 10 minutes into the first half Harris recorded her first goal on a close-range shot into the top of the net. Harris (Batavia, Ohio) carried the ball into the right side of the box from just beyond the midfield line and was assisted by both Natalie Bechtel (Westlake, Ohio) and Liz Finley (Mason, Ohio). The score moved to 1-0 with 35:58 remaining in the first half.
“I beat the girl on the sideline and I had an open goal,” Harris added. “I thought, ‘I can’t miss this one,’ so I made sure that I hit it on frame.”
The Vikings answered back quickly after the Bobcats’ goal. Cleveland State (2-5) forward Vickie Havas scored just a minute later, finding the net in the 11th minute. Havas took a shot from the right side of the box that caught Bobcat goalkeeper Mattie Liston (Lakewood, Ohio) unaware. Havas was assisted by midfielder Jackie Krugan. The first half ended at a 1-1 tie, setting up Harris’ second-half heroics.
Ohio finished the game with a total of 15 shots, nine of which came in a strong second-half effort. Of those 15 shots, seven were on target, forcing Cleveland State’s goalkeeper Becca Coleman to make five saves in the game.
“Holly is probably the most prolific goalscorer in this freshman class,” Strauss added. “We felt like this was coming and we’re happy that today she was able to finish two.”
Rogers led all players with four total shots, two of which were on goal. She also recorded an assist in the game, continuing her incredible streak of play. Rogers had scored in each of the Bobcats’ previous three games.
Three different Ohio goalkeepers saw action in the game. Regular starter, Liston, played the entire first half and recorded one save. Sophomore Nicole Amari (Vernon Hills, Ill.) started the second half and had a save. Amari split time in the second half with freshman ‘keeper Rachel Fryan (Racine, Wisc.), who recorded a save and finished the game for the Bobcats.
The three goalkeepers were aided by strong backline play, which limited Cleveland State to just six shots in the entire game. The Bobcats have given up just one goal in the past four games, fueling their four-game winning streak.
Ohio moves to 4-3 on the season and remains undefeated at home. The Bobcats will return to action on Friday, September 14 at Chessa Field. They will close out their three-game homestand against Youngstown State at 4:00 pm.