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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

AU women’s soccer protects undefeated record with 3-0 win over Saints

The Eagles move to 10-0-1 on the season, remain No. 1 in the country
Jan Powers Media
Eagle sophomore Dani Hicks warms up before a game. She has recorded six goals and two assists on the 2023-24 fall season.

sixAs the 2023-24 fall season rolls through the fifth week of the 2023-24 season, the pressure continues to mount on the shoulders of the Ashland University women’s soccer team as the No. 1 national ranking expectations remain.

The Eagles, headed into this week with two challenges in front of them in conference play, the Lake Erie College Storm and Thomas More Saints. They were able to easily slide past the Storm on Wednesday, Oct. 4 in a 4-1 victory on the road, before shutting out the Saints on Saturday, Oct. 7, in a clean 3-0 affair.

When the Eagles took on the Saints on Saturday, they dominated from start to finish with little hiccups.

In the first half of play, the Eagles were able to take early momentum as they began pushing the pace of play offensively. Through the opening 25 minutes, the team took three shots, with one going on goal. Although the shot count was low compared to other performances, the offense held a majority of the possession.

Defensively, the team remained solid as the back line continued to allow five shots to be taken on Eagle goalkeeper Mackenzie Simon.

While none really poised a threat, she was able to secure two of them for saves to keep the score line clear.

As the first half came to a close, the Eagles put together one last attack and in the 45th minute, they were able to put the opening goal onto the board. Eagle forward Merrik Mihalek was able to send a phenomenal ball into the top right corner of the goal.

The shot was taken off a free kick, with the ball soaring past Saint goalkeeper Lauren Welsh for the one-goal lead in favor of the Eagles.

With momentum riding high, the Eagles headed into halftime with a 1-0 lead over the Saints at home. During halftime, the cold weather in Ashland, Ohio, only got colder as the wind picked up and the rain started coming down, producing less than favorable conditions for both sides.

Heading into the second half, it would be an uphill battle for the Saints as they attempted to mount a comeback on the road against the No. 1 nationally ranked team in the country.

Out of the gates, the Eagles would find the team’s second goal at the foot of sophomore standout forward Dani Hicks, who slotted the ball just past Welsh for the goal. The Eagles would push the lead to two, 2-0.

They then continued to mount the pressure on the Saints to bring the game back around, but the elite defensive play of the Eagles’ backline remained consistent.

In the second half, they allowed just three shots from the Saints with none ending up on goal. After the second goal was scored, the Saints attempted to go back down the field and find an answer, but the scheme put into place by Head Coach Cayleb Paulino would give the Eagles the advantage in numbers drastically.

The Eagles would find the third and final goal of the outing in the 68th minute as Hicks once again found the back of the net, this time just a few yards outside of the six-yard box. Her goal would give the Eagles a 3-0 lead, shutting down any chance for the Saints to produce a comeback.

Outside of the first half, Simon would barely be tested by the Saints attack as her two first half saves would be her only two as she recorded her eighth clean sheet of the season.

With the win, the Eagles look to stay at home for one more game as they take on the Tiffin Dragons on Wednesday, Oct. 11, with kickoff set for 3:30 P.M. at Ferguson Field.

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