By Abigail Hintz
The Lady Jackets opened their 2019 G-MAC season with an overtime 1-0 win over current G-MAC leaders Ohio Dominican University. Coming off of a similar 1-0 outcome over West Virginia Wesleyan, the Jackets move to 2-3 on the season with a 1-0 G-MAC record. Sophomore forward Aleah Martone scored the winning goal in the 99th minute on a penalty kick.
Goalkeeper Allison Garlock had a busy night but kept the clean sheet, facing 13 shots and six on goal. Forward Olivia Hoffman led her team with four shots and two on goal. Martone was close behind with three shots, one on goal which was the winning PK.
“It was a great team effort,” said head coach Jonathan Meade. “Kind of a never-say-die effort. To get that streak going a little bit feels really good. We knew those hard games early on would be beneficial now.”
Both teams’ defenses were under a lot of pressure early in the match. Goalkeeper Allison Garlock had to make two saves early, one of which involved coming off her line to assist one of her defenders.
In the 15th minute, Cedarville took a well-earned corner that led to a flurry of chances. A shot by defender Bethany Alecusan deflected off the crossbar and fell to the feet of Martone who took a shot that hit the post. Hoffman took the final shot, but it went wide.
The Panthers controlled possession, though neither team held it for long stretches. The Jackets were dangerous on the counter, while Ohio Dominican often built up runs from the midfield.
Set pieces also provided a number of chances for the Jackets in the first half. A free kick from outside the eighteen-yard box was well taken but couldn’t connect and was easily collected by the Panthers’ keeper.
Towards the end of the half, the game started becoming more physical as both teams were anxious to convert. Ohio Dominican got a dangerous chance six minutes before the half when Garlock and a defender were 2-1 with a Panthers forward who had broken away. Garlock had to come off her line and smother the run.
Cedarville answered on the counter when forward Ava Dotlich took a shot with her head, but she mishit it and the Panthers’ goalie was able to collect it.
The half ended with a lot of action on both sides of the field. Garlock sent her team into the locker room with some serious momentum when she made a full reach stop to keep it 0-0. It was her third save of the night.
The second half picked up right where the first left off, but they couldn’t convert. The midfield was creating chances and providing solid services, but no one could finish. The first ten minutes were back-and-forth with no legitimate chances for either team.
Hoffman had another close chance that brought the crowd to their feet, but the goalie got to it before the forward could get there.
ODU continued to dominate in stats, but Cedarville’s chances proved to be higher quality up until the final touch. Freshman Taylor Noll almost put it away for her team with 15 minutes to play, but it sailed just over the top of the goal.
Fans thought Hoffman was going to have the winning goal for the third time that night when she ripped a shot from about 25 yards out that the Panthers’ goalie had to stop at full reach then collect on the ground. This gave the Jackets some momentum but couldn’t finish and they went to overtime.
In the 99th minute, the Jackets efforts paid off and they drew a handball that resulted in the referee calling a penalty kick, which Martone buried.
“It felt incredible [to score],” said Martone. “Our team has been working so hard and fighting so hard, I’m so proud of my teammates.”
The Lady Jackets now look to next Thursday and Saturday when they travel to Trevecca and Kentucky Wesleyan, respectively. They will look to carry the momentum of this two-game unbeaten streak into this next stretch.
Martone said, “We had a pretty rough start to the season, just tough mentally. Just to have the momentum heading into our conference play feels incredible.”
Abigail Hintz is a sophomore journalism major and Digital Editor for Cedars. She loves reading, playing Spikeball with her friends and watching soccer 24/7.