ATHENS, OH - Junior Rachel MacLeod scored a pair of first-half goals to lift Toledo to a 2-1 victory over Ohio on Friday at soggy Chessa Field. With the win, the Rockets’ (7-9-1 overall, 5-3-1 MAC) have secured a spot in the upcoming Mid-American Conference for an eighth consecutive season.
UT currently sits tied for fifth in the MAC standings with Kent State (16 points), but the four-time league tourney champions are only a mere three points out of third.
MacLeod tallied her first multi-goal effort of the season and fourth in her collegiate career to help the Midnight Blue & Gold register its sixth straight triumph versus the Bobcats (7-8-1, 3-4-1 MAC).
"We played a great match today, and I’m extremely proud of all my teammates," MacLeod said. "Kristen (Mattei) did a great job winning balls in the midfield and keeping the momentum going forward. With the win, we’ve made it into the MAC tourney and we can’t wait to keep improving through our last couple contests."
The Rockets dominated today’s cross-division matchup and finished with a commanding 21-3 edge in shots and 4-1 cushion in corner kicks. MacLeod fueled the attack with five shots, followed by senior Rachael Kravitz and freshman Megan Connor with four shots each.
MacLeod and her teammates wasted little time in setting the tone by opening the scoring at the 9:57 mark. Off a corner kick, the ball was bouncing around the box and she was able to redirect it into the back of the net for her first score in the last nine matches. Sophomore Meghan Topolewski was credited with the assist.
The 2011 MAC Offensive Player of the Year capitalized on a loss ball in the goal box resulting from a corner kick. Following a nice delivery into the penalty area, sophomore Meghan Topolewski hit a solid shot on target but it was blocked by the interior of the Ohio defense. The rebound spilled out to MacLeod, who promptly slammed it into the back of the net.
UT continued to apply a great deal of pressure on the Bobcats’ defense as the first half wore on, and MacLeod struck gold one more time at 25:16. The two-time All-MAC performer took advantage of an Ohio turnover deep in its own territory and beat the last line of the defense to tally her team-high fifth goal in 2012.
Unfortunately for the two-time reigning MAC regular-season champion Rockets, their two-goal advantage did not last long as Ohio’s Cat Rogers made the score 2-1 with her team-best sixth tally at 26:42. Teammate Veronica Rock started the play with a shot that hit the post, before Rogers knocked home the rebound to make it a one-goal difference at the intermission.
In the second half, UT posted a decisive 8-1 advantage in shots but was unable to extend its lead any further. It did not matter though, as Toledo’s defense put a bubble around its own goal to preserve the road triumph.
Sophomore Kelsey Borowitz went the distance between the posts and did not have to make a save to record her fifth win of the season.
"I was proud of the way we came out in the first half and responded to some of the challenges we identified for our team," Head Coach Brad Evans said. "The goals were definitely well taken. Rachel (MacLeod) and Megan (Connor) played very well as did each of our seniors. We need these seniors to be sharp for us to play well for the balance of the season."
Toledo will look to continue today’s momentum against MAC East Division foe Kent State on Sunday, Oct. 21. The opening whistle against the Golden Flashes is slated for 1:00 p.m. from Zoeller Field.
TOLEDO 2, Ohio 1
UT: Rachel MacLeod (Meghan Topolewski), 9:57
UT: Rachel MacLeod (Unassisted), 25:16
OHIO: Cat Rogers (Veronica Rock), 26:42
SHOTS: UT 21, OHIO 3
CORNER KICKS: UT 4, OHIO 1
SAVES: UT 0, OHIO 9
FOULS: UT 8, OHIO 6