Published: September 4, 2013
TOLEDO, OH - Toledo (1-3-0) will continue its rugged stretch of non-league play when the three-time Mid-American Conference regular-season champions take on Atlantic Coast Conference member Pittsburgh (3-1-0) and West Coast Conference participant Pepperdine (2-0-1) this weekend. The Rockets will battle the Panthers on Friday, Sept. 6 at 6:00 p.m. at Ambrose Urbanic Field, before hosting the Waves on Sunday, Sept. 8 at 12:05 p.m. at Scott Park and televised live on BCSN.
Following the conclusion of Sunday’s home match, UT will hold a free Community Clinic. The 30-minute clinic is open to all youths, five to 13 years old. Head Coach Brad Evans and the Rockets will teach the participants new kicking and shooting skills, exercises to improve speed and agility and the importance of teamwork and good sportsmanship. Participants are encouraged to bring all necessary soccer equipment, such as a ball, cleats (sneakers, if no cleats), shin guards, water bottle and sweat towel.
Last weekend, the Midnight Blue & Gold split a pair of contests with a 1-0 road triumph at Youngstown State on Friday, followed by a hard-fought 2-1 loss to Kentucky on Sunday.
In the victory against the Penguins, senior Rachel MacLeod scored the match-winning goal in the 14th minute to lift Toledo to its first win of the season. MacLeod’s marker against YSU also moved her into sole possession of fifth place in UT annals with 23 career goals.
Offensively, four different Rockets have tickled the twine through the first four matches this fall, including MacLeod with a team-best two tallies and junior Kirsten Catloth, freshman Kiersten Johnson and freshman Brooke Maletic with one goal each.
As a team, UT is currently tied for fifth in goals (5), eighth in total points (11), ninth in shots (32) and tied for 11th in assists (1).
On the defensive side of the field, the Rockets continue to shuffle players in different positions, searching for the right combination. Over the last two contests, the back line of senior Becky Rhodes, junior Brooke Lawler, sophomore Kika Hernandez and Catloth have stood their ground and been quite solid. As a unit, UT is tied for second in the league in shutouts (1), sixth in goals against average (1.75) and tied for 10th in goals allowed (10).
Between the posts, sophomore Sam Tiongson has started three of the four matches and has shown signs of becoming a premier netminder in the conference. Tiongson stands tied for second in the legue in blankings (1), tied for fifth in GAA (1.33), tied for eighth in saves (8) and ninth in save percentage (.667).
UT will face a Panthers squad that won a pair of home matches over the weekend. Pitt defeated Bucknell, 3-0, and fellow MAC member Central Michigan, 1-0. Pittsburgh, who returns nine starters and welcomes 12 freshmen in 2013, will also do battle with Robert Morris this afternoon before entertaining the Rockets on Friday evening under the lights. The Rockets have won the two previous matchups in the series, claiming a pair of 2-1 victories during the 2005 and 2008 seasons.
Pepperdine, which plays at Michigan on Friday before making the short trip to the “Glass City,” is coming off a 3-1 triumph at No. 19 Texas A&M on Sunday. 2013 MAC Hermann Watch List selection Lynn Williams scored two of the goals to lift the Waves to the upset road victory. An All-WCC First Team pick in 2012, Williams led the league in shots (97), as well as ranking tied for sixth in goals (8) and tied for ninth in total points (19). The Waves’ 2013 roster features 11 freshmen and 12 newcomers overall. There are 10 upperclassmen on the squad, including four seniors. UT and PU will be meeting for the first time.
Following this weekend’s action, Toledo will wrap up its gauntlet of a non-league schedule when it hosts Missouri Valley Conference member Indiana State on Friday, Sept. 20 and Atlantic 10 participant Dayton on Sunday, Sept. 22. The Rockets’ match against the Sycamores will start at 5:00 p.m., while the match versus the Flyers will kick off at 1:00 p.m. at Scott Park.