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Abby Townsend (16) fights a defender for the ball during the Ohio versus Northern Illinois match at Chessa Field on October 6, 2022.

Soccer: Ohio draws Northern Illinois 1-1

On Thursday, Ohio hosted Northern Illinois in its fifth Mid-American Conference match of the season. Ohio entered the match on a 2-match win streak after starting conference play with back-to-back losses. Northern Illinois was also 2-2 in MAC play entering the match.

The game started slow, with both teams sizing each other up, attempting to find weaknesses for them to exploit. Ohio had the first shot of the match, and would continue to take plenty of shots throughout the game. 

Sadie McGill, the Huskies goalie, who was making just her second start of the season, was put to the test throughout the game, recording 10 saves. The Bobcats would end the game with 14 shots on target, three of them being team saves.

Despite Ohio’s relentless attack throughout the game, Northern Illinois still had opportunities, taking four shots in the first half. Ohio ended the half with seven shots to NIU’s four. All of Ohio’s shots were on target, but none found the net.

Ohio started the second half with the ball, but did not get a shot off until the 57th minute, when Shae Robertson hit a chip shot over the goalie that bounced off the right post and was promptly cleared by Northern Illinois defenders. 

Ohio would continue to put quality shots up, as just four minutes later, in the 61st minute, Abby Townsend took a shot from 25 yards out which was batted down by the goalie, but Regan Berg came in to clean up the loose ball and fire it into the net to put Ohio up 1-0.

The Huskies would put up a fight though, with Amber Best taking a strong shot that Ohio goalie Sam Wexell could not keep in front of her. The ball rolled into the bottom corner of the goal after Wexell got her hand on it, tying the game at 1-1 in the 64th minute. The Huskies only took two more shots in the game, with neither threatening a goal.

In the 77th minute, Eve Berish received a ball from Townsend and found the goal. The officials called the goal back for offsied because Aubrey Rea was in front of the goal when Townsend hit her free kick towards the goal. After the game, Ohio coach Aaron Rodgers questioned the call.

“I think they’re saying that Aubrey was in an offside position interfering.” Rodgers shared. “It was a pretty subjective call. I don’t think the goalkeeper ever would have had a chance to save it, if (Rea) was there or not. I don’t think so, but we’ll look at it either way. That's the way sports go.”

Ohio would get four more shots and three more corner kicks, but none would prove fatal as the game came to a close at 1-1.

Ohio’s defense throughout the game held Northern Illinois to just three shots on target, and despite the draw, Rodgers was happy with the performance.

“That was one of the most important things that we talked about going into the game.” Rodgers said. “We really needed to be solid defensively, we needed to stay more compact defensively. I mean, It’s one of those weird things in soccer, where you can draw and you feel like you probably left two points on the table. With some of the other results, if we would’ve won, that would’ve put us in the top 4 (in the MAC).”

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