LOUISVILLE, KY - Toledo (2-3-0) will venture to the "Bluegrass State" this weekend for a tough pair of non-league matches at the Marriott Louisville Airport Cardinal Classic. The Rockets will tangle with Southern Conference member Samford (1-3-0) on Friday, Sept. 7 at 5:00 p.m. at Cardinal Park, before battling Big East member and nationally ranked host Louisville (4-0-0) on Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
UT will look to continue its momentum from an impressive 3-0 victory against Loyola (IL) this past Friday at the friendly confines of Scott Park. The 2012 Mid-American Conference West Division preseason favorite Rockets received goals from junior Rachel MacLeod, sophomore Sarah Seig and junior Emily Tustin to register their most productive offensive effort this year. The Midnight Blue & Gold also took advantage of an excellent performance from freshman Sam Tiongson between the posts in her first collegiate start to post their second shutout of the season.
The reigning MAC Offensive Player of the Year, MacLeod leads the squad with two goals. She is closely supported in the attack by sophomore Rio James, Tustin and Seig with one goal each. Senior Jaimie Morsillo, senior Rachael Kravitz and freshman Megan Connor have also registered one point apiece with one assist this season. Kravitz was credited with the match-winning helper against the Ramblers on Friday to move into sole possession of second place in school history with 16 career assists.
In the midfield, the group of senior Kristen Mattei, junior Ashley Ross, sophomore Meghan Topolewski, sophomore Molly Cantwell, freshman Geri Siudzinski, Morsillo and Connor continue to be a work in progress, but they have done a better job as of late controlling the pace of play and winning 50/50 balls.
On the defensive side of the field, UT is starting to find its stride and is showing the form that could make them one of the elite units in the Great Lakes Region. Senior Natalia Gaitan, senior Megan Blake, freshman Angelica Hernandez and Kravitz are getting acclimated to playing with one another and are making it extremely difficult for the opposition to get good looks at the goal. The Rockets have registered shutouts in two of their last three matches.
On the backline, Tiongson (2-0-0 record) and sophomore Kelsey Borowitz (0-3-0 mark) have continued to share time. Tiongson has seen action in 180:00 minutes, allowing two goals (1.00 GAA), while making nine saves. Borowitz started UT’s first four contests and accumulated 270:00 minutes in net, giving up five scores (1.67 GAA) with seven stops.
Two-time reigning MAC Coach of the Year Brad Evans and the Rockets will have their hands full again this weekend as the Bulldogs and the nationally ranked Cardinals both participated in the 2011 NCAA Championships.
Samford enter Friday’s neutral-site matchup with a 1-3-0 ledger, most recently claiming a 3-1 victory against UAB on Sunday. The Bulldogs have arguably faced one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the nation this year with road matches at Southeastern Conference (SEC) powers Tennessee, Alabama and Auburn. McKenzie Thomas sits atop the team’s overall statistics with four points (two goals) and is followed closely by Trine Taule with three points (one goal, one assist). UT and Samford will be meeting for the first time. Toledo has never competed against a member of the SOCON.
The No. 13 Cardinals, which hosts in-state rival Kentucky on Friday before entertaining the Rockets two days later, won both their matches last weekend, topping SEMO, 4-0, and UNC-Greensboro, 3-0, in Lexington. Angelika Uremovich leads the team with nine points (four goals, one assist) on the season, while Erin Yenney is right behind her with five points (two goals, one assist). In goal, Chloe Kiefer has played all but five minutes, yielding only three scores (0.74 GAA) with nine stops. Toledo and Louisville will be meeting for a third consecutive season with the Cardinals holding a 1-0-1 mark in the first two matchups. Two years ago in the "Bluegrass State", Louisville emerged with a 4-1 triumph, before the teams played to a 1-1 double-overtime draw at Scott Park last season.
Following this weekend’s matches, Toledo will wrap up its non-league schedule vs. Illinois State on Sunday, Sept. 16 at Scott Park. The opening whistle is slated for 1:00 p.m. at the corner of Hill Ave. and Parkside Blvd.