HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech soccer team fell behind 2-0 to Ashland University in the first half of a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference match Friday night, but rallied late to get back within striking distance at Sherman Field. The Huskies trimmed the deficit to 2-1 in the 83rd minute, but unfortunately the Eagles were able to hold on in the end.
"Ashland's a very good team and we had to battle with them," Michigan Tech Head Coach Michelle Jacob said. "We played a little conservatively the first half and it put us back on our heels a little bit. In the second half, we regrouped and went forward and were on the attack a lot more, resulting in the goal more scoring opportunities. Overall I thought it was a really good battle and both teams had to work for everything."
Ashland (8-4-1, 5-1 GLIAC) went on the attack early with Morgan Bittengle unloading a shot against senior goalie Kirsen Hudak in the second minute. Hudak was able to turn the strike away to keep it scoreless at that point. Unfortunately, the Eagles pulled out to a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute Friday night. Hillary Mihalik pushed a shot from just outside the 18-yard mark past the defense and into the back of the net for the night's first goal.
Hudak went on to make two more saves in the 22nd and 28th minutes to keep Michigan Tech (5-6-1, 2-3-1 GLIAC) within just one goal. However, Ashland was able extend the gap to 2-0 in the 36th minute when Bittengle recorded her seventh goal of the season for the Eagles. Carson Janssen was credited with the assist as Ashland went into the intermission up 2-0.
The Huskies made their adjustments during the break and came out much more aggressive to begin the second half. Freshman Jesse Jacobusse blasted the first shot on goal of the match for the Huskies three minutes into the final period. Goalie Abby Lampe was able to turn it away to keep Tech off the board for the time being, Lampe would be tested a lot more in the second half with the Huskies generating more opportunities on the offensive end.
Freshmen Leah Goldman and Brooke Schauer sent shots Lampe's way a few minutes later with each player getting a look at the net, once again forcing saves by Lampe. Meanwhile, Hudak made a couple of solid stops on scoring chances by the Eagles in the 56th minute to keep the tally at 2-0.
The Huskies didn't give up and nearly got on the board in the 80th and 81st minutes when freshman Emily Zeitunian forced Lampe to make two saves within just a few seconds. Tech's persistence finally paid off in the 83rd minute as junior Maria DeMario notched her second goal of the 2017 season to draw Tech to within one at 2-1.
Jacobusse registered her second assist of the season after playing the ball forward to DeMario with a precision pass. DeMario tucked the ball into the lower left corner of the net and showed great composure to unload the shot on target going up against pressure from the defense. However, it would prove to be the final scoring opportunity for the Huskies Friday night. Ashland was the only team to attempt a shot in the last seven minutes of the match and it went wide of the net, leaving the score at 2-1 for the final result.
Zeitunian powered the Huskies' offense with three total shots followed by Goldman and Schauer with two shots apiece. DeMario had one attempt and made it count with the goal while Jacobusse ended the night with one shot and the assist. Hudak played all 90 minutes for the Huskies in front of the net and wrapped up the contest with five saves.
After being out-shot 6-0 by Ashland in the first half, the Huskies turned the tables on the Eagles in the final 45 minutes with a 9-3 advantage. By the time 90 minutes were in the books, shots ended up being even at nine apiece.
Bittengle had a match high six shots, including one that turned into a goal for Ashland. Mihalik had the other goal for the Eagles and Janssen picked up an assist. Lampe played all 90 minutes and generated five saves on her way to the win in front of the net.
The Huskies will look to regroup on Sunday when they host GLIAC foe Tiffin in the "Let's Kick Cancer Game" at Sherman Field. The kickoff is at noon and fans can get more information on the "Let's Kick Cancer" initiative by clicking here.