AKRON, Ohio – Rachel Phillip’s 95th minute goal vaulted The University of Akron women’s soccer team to a thrilling 1-0 win over Ohio on Thursday at a rain-soaked FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field.
The win sends Akron (7-8-2, 4-5-2 Mid-American Conference) into the MAC Tournament as the No. 7 seed and the Zips will travel to Central Michigan for the quarterfinal round Sunday. Kickoff in Mt. Pleasant is set for 1:00 p.m.
After putting together dangerous chances all afternoon long, Akron finally broke the scoreless tie in the 95th minute. Sophomore Maggie Rusnak found herself in tons of space in the center of the pitch and moved undefended into the Akron attacking half. Rusnak then fed a perfect pass to Phillip whose run in between OU’s two center backs was timed perfectly. Phillip beat Liston has she charged out, pouring the Akron bench onto the field for the celebration. It was the fourth goal of the season for Phillip and her second game-winner.
The Zips held a 13-7 advantage in shots in the match and controlled the pace of play for much of the day. Phillip led the way with three shots on goal, while Kelly DeNiro and Ashley Hughes also fired three shots each. Jeny Wolbert made three saves in net to claim her seventh clean sheet of the season. Wolbert is now tied for the most shutouts in a season by an Akron netminder.
The Zips held the possession in the match’s early moments and produced an early chance when Phillip was denied at close range by a charging Amari in the seventh minute. Hughes had found Phillip on a diagonal run behind the OU backline. Phillip was again denied by a charging Amari in the 16th minute after running onto the end of a Jordan Clark pass from just beyond midfield.
Sophomore Kyarah Foushee saw two attempts at the opener sail inches wide of the post. Both shots – the first in the 20th minute and again in the 34th minute - came from the top left of the penalty area and were just wide of the far post.
UA continued to apply pressure after the halftime break and had what was thought to be the go-ahead goal called back in the 58th minute. DeNiro’s shot from long range was spilled by substitute keeper Liston and into the path of Phillip, who slammed home the rebound. Phiillip was ruled to be offside on the play, however, and the match remained goalless.
Rusnak continued the UA barrage when her looping shot from 18 yards out rang the crossbar before being cleared away by the OU defense.
Wolbert was called into action to make two saves in less than a minute in the 72nd minute. She first knocked away a header from OU’s Toye Famodu and then parried away a shot to the near post by Famudu just moments later.
The MAC tournament berth is the third in row for Akron – who was also the No. 7 seed last season.
Zips Notebook: Rachel Phillip scored for the 16th time in her career – her sixth game-winner. Phillip is now tied for second in career goals at Akron and tied for first in career game-winners … Wolbert’s clean sheet is the 17th of her career. She is one shutout off of Krystin Wilspn’s Akron career record … Akron and Central Michigan played to a 0-0 draw in their regular season matchup earlier this season at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field.