by Grace Mowery
On Saturday night under the lights, the Ashland University Eagles ended the Cedarville Lady Jackets’ three-game win streak with a heartbreaker in the final minute of the game. The strong defensive play, headlined by junior goalkeeper Jocelyn Gross’ five saves, fell short on the lone goal scored in the game. Ashland remains at the top of the G-MAC standings after the result while Cedarville sits in third.
Ashland dominated Cedarville offensively throughout the first half, tallying three shots on goal compared to Cedarville’s one. However, without G-MAC defensive player of the week – senior Mackenzie Northcutt – Cedarville still executed strong defense.
In the fourth minute, junior goalkeeper Jocelyn Gross collected her first save off a strong kick from Ashland towards the middle of the goal.
Ashland threatened again in the 13th minute and broke through Cedarville’s tight defensive front. The Eagles attempted a shot, but the ball flew past the goal and grazed the outside of the net.
Cedarville ramped up its offensive attack as the half went on, but none of the balls reached the net. Payton Fraley’s attempt in the 17th minute was the closest the Jackets came to a goal, but the Ashland goalie collected her only save in the half on Fraley’s shot.
In the 25th minute, Lisi Williamson ran up the field towards the Ashland goal with only the goalkeeper in front of her, but the keeper tripped her and stripped the ball before she could attempt a shot.
Gross collected two more saves, bringing her total in the half to three, as Cedarville’s defense held against Ashland pressure. Ashland played well on both sides of the ball and stymied the rest of Cedarville’s offensive attempts.
The defensive trend continued in the second half, although the Jackets amped up their offensive pressure. Despite their best efforts, Cedarville couldn’t find the angles for their shots. In the 53rd minute, junior Mary Kate Wyer kicked the ball towards the Ashland goal, but the Ashland goalie caught the weak kick. Wyer attempted another shot in the 25th minute and the ball sailed over the goal.
Ashland threatened multiple times throughout the half, and Gross’ excellent play continued. In the 88th minute, Ashland fired the ball towards the goal, and Gross dove, blocking the ball with her legs as she fell.
Ashland broke through Gross’ defense in the final minute of the game as the ball sailed just over her outstretched hands. Cedarville couldn’t break through the Eagles’ defense before the clock ran out.
Head coach Jonathan Meade praised the team’s effort saying, “Compared to the first time we played [Ashland], we’re better. That’s one of the reasons why I’m really proud of our team tonight.”
Although the Jackets couldn’t find a rhythm on offense and committed eleven fouls, Meade was encouraged by the team’s improvement: “From three weeks ago, we’re a better team. We’ll be a better team in another couple weeks.”
The Lady Jackets will look to redeem themselves on Thursday, Oct. 14 when they play again at home versus Malone University. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
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