OXFORD, OH – No. 6 seed Toledo fell to No. 2 seed Central Michigan by a 1-0 margin in Friday's second semifinal match of the 2012 Mid-American Conference Tournament at the Miami Soccer Field. With the win, CMU (15-5-1) advances to Sunday’s finals for a fifth time in school history to battle top seed Miami at 1:00 p.m.
The Chippewas’ Autumn Hawkins netted the contest’s lone goal in the 28th minute to end the Rockets (7-12-2) bid to successfully defend their MAC tourney crown. CMU also defeated UT, 2-0, during the regular season on Oct. 5 at Scott Park.
Hawkins’ match-winning tally was set up on a 30-yard plus throw in by teammate Bailey Brandon. A scrum for the loose ball ensued in the middle of the UT goal box, before Hawkins redirected the sphere into the top corner of the net for her fourth tally of the season.
With the wind at its back in the second half, UT controlled much of the action and held a 5-1 edge in shots. Unfortunately for the MAC-best four-time tourney champions, they were unable to register the equalizer and suffered only its second league tournament loss under head coach Brad Evans (12-2-5).
The Rockets’ best opportunity to score came with about 29 minutes left in regulation. The Midnight Blue & Gold caught the Chippewas with too many players forward and reeled off a pair of shots from close range that barely missed the mark. The first shot came off the foot of junior Rachel MacLeod from approximately 12 yards out on the right side. The two-time All-MAC honoree drilled a high shot that bounced off the cross bar but stayed in the field on play. The loose ball found the feet of freshman Megan Connor, and she launched a shot from about eight yards away that looked like it was going in. Much to the Rockets dismay though, a CMU defender jumped high in the air and headed the ball out of danger.
Toledo’s only other quality scoring chance came with a little less than one minute remaining in the match. Freshman Angelica Hernandez received a cross from senior Rachael Kravitz in the middle of the CMU goal box and volleyed a shot from eight yards out that just sailed high over the frame.
UT finished with a 6-5 edge in shots, but Central Michigan goalie Stefanie Turner was credited with three stops to blank the Rockets for the ninth time in 2012.
Today’s match marked the final collegiate contest for UT’s five-member senior class (Megan Blake, Rachael Kravitz, Kristen Mattei, Jaimie Morsillo, Blair Sorg). This group won 47 matches over the last four seasons and was part of four-consecutive MAC Tournament appearances, two conference regular-season titles (2010, 2011) and one league tourney crown (2011).
Central Michigan 1, TOLEDO 0
CMU: Autumn Hawkins (Bailey Brandon), 27:32
SHOTS: UT 6, CMU 5
CORNER KICKS: UT 1, CMU 1
SAVES: UT 3, CMU 4
FOULS: UT 15, CMU 9