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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

The Eagles take down the Timberwolves on the road, 2-0

Another week, another game, another win for the AU women’s soccer team
Ben Nichols
Eagle forward Dani Hicks takes a shot for the Eagles before a contest at Ferguson Field.

In arguably the team’s most anticipated outing of the 2023-24 Great Midwest Athletic Conference (GMAC) regular season, the Ashland University women’s soccer team did not disappoint.

On Tuesday, Oct. 18, the Eagles traveled north to Midland, MI. to take on the Northwood University Timberwolves, downing them 2-0 after 90 minutes of play. Led by the likes of forwards McKinley Mendenhall and Dani Hicks, the Eagles remained undefeated on the season, pushing the team’s record to 13-0-1 and 9-0-1 in conference play.

I know we speak about this a lot but the job each week is to go 2-0.   Mid-week games are always the most difficult to dial in and focus on the task at hand,” said Head Coach Cayleb Paulino. “Northwood’s athletics teams created a really cool environment with hundreds of athletes there supporting their team.”

In the first half of play, the Eagles started off swinging as they utilized a quick pace of play to put pressure on the Timberwolves’ defense early, something they have done all season long.

Well, it would not take long for that pressure to burst as the Eagles’ offense would capitalize in the 6th minute of the game, on the road, with Mendenhall finding the back of the net.

The goal would be her fifth on the season to go alongside three assists as she pushed the team ahead, 1-0.

With early momentum the Eagles did not back down offensively, and just four minutes later a second goal would be scored.

This goal would come from Hicks, who has been red-hot on the season, as she buried her ninth goal of the season unassisted. Her nine goals are the highest for the No. 1 nationally ranked side, matching the most she recorded in her freshman campaign last season.

The remainder of the first half would be highlighted by just three more shots being taken by the Eagles over the course of the next 35 minutes of play. For the Timberwolves, they would attempt to respond as they took four shots in the first half, with none ending up on frame.

Heading into halftime, the Eagles led 2-0, with sole control of momentum moving forward.

The message to the team all week was to handle the environment and stick to our principles.  If we could really focus on us and not so much on what they are doing, we could find a way to get a result,” said Paulino.

To begin the final 45 minutes of play, the Timberwolves came out swinging and instantly put pressure on an injured Eagle defense. Throughout the 2023-24 campaign the Eagles have lost two starting defenders, with a number of individuals stepping up to fill voids left.

Although the team has been faced with adversity, the defense recorded its fourth consecutive clean sheet of the season, even with a barrage of shots being taken.

Throughout the second half, the Timberwolves took a total of 13 shots, with just two ending up on frame. Both shots would be saved by Mackenzie Simon, who was named this past weeks GMAC Player of the Week.

The Eagles now have 11 clean sheets on the season, while Simon herself has nine.

Offensively, the Eagles were less active as they took just three shots, opting to sit back defensively to keep the scoreline in the team’s favor.

With the win they improve to 13-0-1 and 9-0-1 in conference play as they stay on the road to take on the Findlay Oilers on Saturday, Oct. 21, with kickoff set for 4:00 P.M.

For us, it is sticking to our weekly goals.  We are halfway to this week’s goal of going 2-0 with another tough conference opponent ahead of us over the weekend,” said Paulino. “We have to continue to meet the standard each week on what our expectations.  Our focus is on the next opponent and what we need to do to prepare.”

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