Bowling Green traveled to Chessa Field on Sunday afternoon and earned its third MAC victory of the season by means of a 2-0 win over Ohio. A goal by Lexi Czerwein at minute 21 and another by Brynn Gardner at minute 55–the latter being sparked by a very skillful assist from Emma Stransky–proved to be more than enough to secure the win.
After 20 minutes of scrappy, physical and at times sloppy play, Lacee Bethea took the ball down the left wing and played a dangerous, penetrating ball into the Bobcats’ box. It was poorly played by the Ohio defense; the clear was weak and bounced around the box, where it ultimately fell to Czerwein, who blasted the ball high and hard past Celeste Sloma to make the score 1-0 for the Falcons.
“We didn’t clear the ball quick enough, and then when it bounced out to the top of the 18 (yard box), we didn’t show enough urgency to close it down,” Ohio Head Coach Aaron Rodgers said. “We just have to be a little bit tighter in the box and a little more urgent to either block the shot and press the ball or get our toe in there a little bit faster to win that ball.”
Ohio struggled to create scoring chances until a minute before halftime when it was Bowling Green’s turn to misplay a cross. A defender whiffed a header, leaving Maia Kaufman with near control of the ball and only a single defender–and no goalkeeper–between her and the goal. Her contact wasn’t great and she made the job easy for the Falcon defender, who blocked and subsequently cleared the ball for a Bobcat corner.
Coming out of halftime, Ohio played as though it was rejuvenated for a period, and the Ohio faithful in the crowd felt like a goal was impending. After about 10 minutes, and against the run of play, Bowling Green doubled its lead; Stransky trapped the ball at the top of the box with her back to the goal and was taken down by an Ohio defender. However, despite being in a sitting position, she spun on her hip and played a perfect penetrating ball through the Ohio back line, across the face of the goal, where Gardner met the pass and slotted it right past Sloma.
“The second goal was very similar (to the first) in the sense that we didn’t deny an entry ball, and then it got a little bit hectic in there. And they were just first to win that ball to play it out. And the (player) was by herself and she finished,” Rodgers said.
In Thursday’s game at Northern Illinois, Ohio played from behind after conceding early, and did so well, as it won 3-1; however, this was not the case today. The stats will say that Ohio outshot Bowling Green 10-7 in general. They also recorded only two shots on frame compared to Bowling Green’s five but a couple of them were extremely ambitious attempts by Ella Deevers and Haley Miller and few were truly dangerous. Rodgers attributed some of the struggles to the “long week” the Bobcats had, which included two road trips that were over eight hours. Despite this, he believes they might have left a result on the field today.
“I feel like the game was kind of there today,” Rodgers said. “I mean, I don’t know if we changed much when we went down from an intensity level, but that’s what we have to get better at; that’s what we have to fix … I think recognizing the strength of (Bowling Green) ... is just going to be making it chaotic and being physical and being direct. You know, we didn’t quite match that today.”