They say defense wins championships, but an explosive offense worked just fine for Cedarville.
The Lady Jackets’ defense has played historically well this year, and the conference semi-final was no exception. But the real action took place at the other end of the field. The Yellow Jacket attack scored six goals against the Findlay defense.
Six different Cedarville players combined to produce the avalanche of goals: Megan McClish, Aleah Martone, Audrey Nelson, Payton Fraley, Taylor Meadows and Maddy Nelson.
“Our depth is a strength for us heading into the postseason,” forward Aleah Martone said. “We’re confident with a lot of different players coming and making and making a difference no matter who it is.”
This victory marks 13 straight for Cedarville, extending what was already a school record.
This blowout came as a shock to most, given that less than two months ago Findlay played them down to the wire, resulting in a 2-1 Yellow Jacket victory.
Cedarville has allowed only 13 goals all year but has scored 46. Both of those marks lead the G-MAC.
The defensive back line and goalkeeper Brooke Ackley held the Findlay attack at bay, allowing only one goal. Every Ackley save resulted in a chorus of cheers, shouts and even barks from a raucous Cedarville sideline that refused to take a seat throughout the whole match.
“We have this saying,” Martone said. “Win from the sidelines. “That’s something that really sets us apart and gives us an advantage. It takes one through 30 of us to win a game.”
The starting players gave the bench plenty to cheer for, but the roles were reversed later in the match, with the final three goals coming from substitute players.
The 13th nationally ranked Yellow Jackets play the host of this year’s conference tournament, a right earned by finishing on top of the G-MAC with a 13-1 in-conference record. The Ashland Eagles will take on Cedarville in the G-MAC championship game on Saturday, November 5, at 7 p.m..
These two teams are no strangers to each other, having met in the conference final last year, with the top-seeded Eagles coming out on top.
Before the Lady Jackets can set their eyes on the national tournament, they aim to achieve one thing.
“Redemption. That word has been written on our whiteboard all week,” Martone said.
If the stakes of a conference tournament title weren’t high enough, Cedarville and Ashland rank 2nd and 3rd in the Midwest region respectively, meaning the winner of the matchup has an excellent chance at hosting NCAA division II National tournament games.
“We’re hungry,” forward Payton Fraley said, echoing the phrase that could be heard all around the Yellow Jacket bench postgame. “All 30 of us came hungry and ready today. But we’re hungry for more and ready to move on to the finals.”
Alan Brads is a sophomore journalism student and frequent contributor for Cedars. He enjoys playing the drums and speaking Spanish, and watches Buckeye football like his life depends on it.