by Josh Decker
In a game of high stakes and G-MAC tournament implications, the Cedarville Lady Jackets secured a 1-0 victory over visiting Ohio Dominican on Tuesday night. Cedarville finishes the regular season with an 11-4-2 record, including a dominant 11-2-1 conference record.
With the win, the Lady Jackets jumped Findlay in the G-MAC regular season standings to finish in second place, earning a first-round bye in the upcoming tournament.
“Tonight’s win was a big one for us,’ said senior forward Olivia Hoffman. “We were able to stay composed and stay committed which helped us get the result we needed.”
“I’m really proud of our team,” head coach Jonathan Meade said. “Everybody stepped up and we kept battling.”
Cedarville started the game off with early offensive pressure, winning a corner kick in the first minute of play.
Ohio Dominican defended the corner well, and both teams traded possession early on.
In the sixth minute, junior defender Anna Burkhard made a promising run up the pitch with the ball, firing it on goal for an Ohio Dominican save and Cedarville’s first shot on goal.
Continued offensive pressure in the final third of the pitch led to a couple good looks for Cedarville, with Hoffman sending a ball into the box that was nearly headed by junior Mary Kate Wyer in the 14th minute.
With only three minutes left in the half, Ohio Dominican established some offensive possession and got a quality opportunity in the box, but Cedarville defended the attack well and Marissa Hoober cleared the ball for the Lady Jackets.
Going into the break, the teams remained knotted at zero, with Cedarville leading in shots on goal by a margin of 5-2.
Coming out of the break, the Lady Jackets quickly gained early momentum and earned a corner kick in the 50th minute.
Despite a good delivery into the box from Hoffman, Cedarville was unable to get a touch on the ball and Ohio Dominican cleared.
Only a minute and a half later, freshman Addie Erslan controlled the ball and sent a pass up the sideline. Hoffman made an excellent run and managed to keep the ball inbounds before winning yet another corner for the Lady Jackets.
Senior Aleah Martone stepped up to deliver the kick in the 52nd minute, and she sent a great ball into the box that was headed by Wyer before deflecting off a defender and into the net.
The goal would prove to be the game-winner for Cedarville.
“The goal was nothing but a team effort,” said Wyer after the game. “Aleah just put in a great cross that I was able to get my head on.”
As the match progressed, Ohio Dominican managed to win a couple corner kicks and create some pressure on the Cedarville backline, but the defense was up to the task, not allowing any quality chances.
In the 67th minute, Lady Jackets’ goalkeeper Brooke Ackley made a key save after Ohio Dominican got a great look on goal inside the box.
Then in the 90th minute, Cedarville surrendered two key goal-scoring opportunities to the Panthers, but Ackley was up to the challenge as she made a diving save off of the initial Ohio Dominican strike and then jumped back up to save the rebound attempt.
Ackley’s saves preserved the 1-0 victory for the Lady Jackets as she stopped all five shots on goal and earned her third straight shutout of the season.
Cedarville will now prepare for postseason play after earning a first-round bye for the G-MAC tournament scheduled to begin this weekend. The Lady Jackets are set to play on Thursday, Nov. 11 in the semifinal matchup hosted at Ashland University. Kickoff for the match is set for 7:00 p.m.
“We just have to focus on one game at a time and take each practice and opportunity we have to improve as a whole team,” said Hoffman.
Josh Decker is a senior Sport Business Management major, and a sports reporter for Cedars. He loves playing sports with friends, and spends much of his free time as a student assistant for the Cedarville men’s basketball team.