Toledo played its best match of the season against Loyola (IL) on Friday and emerged with a 3-0 shutout victory at steamy Scott Park. With the win, the Rockets improve to 2-3-0 on the season.
UT was dominant in the attack, controlled the pace of play in the midfield and was nearly flawless on defense to register its second blanking over its last three matches. The 2012 Mid-American Conference preseason favorite finished with a 12-9 edge in shots and a 4-1 cushion in corner kicks. Last Friday, UT claimed a 1-0 victory at IPFW to post its first triumph of the 2012 campaign.
Freshman Geri Siudzinski led the Midnight Blue & Gold with a match-best four shots, while classmate Megan Connor had two shots in winning effort.
Between the posts, freshman Sam Tiongson was brilliant in her first collegiate start and recorded four saves to move her record to 2-0-0 on the season.
The visiting Ramblers (1-3-0) came ready to compete and nearly found the back of the net within the first five minutes of the non-league matchup. LU's Tricia Stonebraker played a nice pass over the UT defense to a streaking Maggie Olsen on the right side. The midfielder took a quick dribble and found herself one-on-one with UT's Tiongson. Fortunately for Toledo, the first-year netminder came off her line and did a good job cutting down Olsen's look at the goal, forcing her shot wide.
A little over 15 minutes later, Loyola (IL) was presented with two more golden opportunities in succession to crack the scoring column. Kristin Papierski launched a shot from approximately 10 yards out that ricocheted off the far post and bounced directly to teammate Ana Claudia Michelini in front of the goal. UT's Tiongson was quick on her feet and made an acrobatic diving save to deny Michelini's follow-up shot, keeping the match scoreless.
After the Rockets weathered the storm, they took advantage of a corner kick to open the scoring on junior Rachel MacLeod's team-best second goal of the season at 27:35. Senior Rachael Kravitz played a perfect cross to MacLeod who was unmarked right in front of the Loyola (IL) goal. The reigning MAC Offensive Player of the Year redirected a header into the back of the net for the eventual match-winning goal. With the helper, Kravitz moves into sole possession of second place in school history with 16 career assists.
As the first half wore on, LU's Elyssa Kulas fired a shot from 15 yards out that Tiongson came up big on one more time with another acrobatic stop to help the home team maintain its one-goal advantage.
With the first stanza nearly complete, UT's Siudzinski weaved her way through a couple Loyola (IL) defenders and blasted a shot from 12 yards out that goalie Monica Gonyo made a diving stop to keep the score 1-0 at the intermission.
The Rockets continued to apply pressure to start the second half and doubled their lead on sophomore Sarah Seig's first collegiate tally at 55:14. The second-year forward won a free ball about 15 yards out on the left side and blasted a shot that caromed off the near postb and moved across the entire goal and hit the far post before ending up in the back of the frame.
Toledo was still not done attacking, and Connor came within inches of tallying her first collegiate goal when she tried to slide in a low shot from eight yards out off another beautiful free kick off the foot of Kravitz. The UT defender played a ball into the far post that Connor was able to run on to. The Lodi, OH native tried to finesse a shot past LU's Gonyo, but the agile keeper made a nice diving stop.
UT was a resilient bunch, though. and junior Emily Tustin made the opposition pay when she beat an offside trap and hammered a shot across the face of the frame at 69:58. Connor was credited with the assist on the play to close out the scoring.
Toledo's defense stood tall in the second half and was never really threatened to preserve the impressive shutout victory.
Alex Brown and Papierski paced Loyola (IL) with two shots each. Gonyo went the distance in goal and finished with seven saves in a losing effort.
The Rockets will return to action next weekend, Sept. 7-9 when the will compete in the Courtyard by Marriott Louisville Airport Cardinal Classic against 2011 NCAA Championships participant Samford (Sept. 7) and the host 2011 NCAA Championships qualifier Cardinals (Sept. 9).
TOLEDO 3, Loyola (IL) 0
UT: R. MacLeod (R. Kravitz), 27:35
UT: S. Seig (Unassisted), 55:14
UT: E. Tustin (M. Connor), 69:58
SHOTS: UT 12, LU 9
CORNER KICKS: UT 4, LU 1
SAVES: UT 4, LU 7
FOULS: UT 7, LU 10