HOUGHTON, Mi. It took just over a minute in overtime, but the Michigan Tech soccer team prevailed against the University of Findlay 2-1 in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference battle Friday night at Sherman Field. Sophomore forward Marisa DeMario connected on the game winner in the extra frame, giving the Huskies their sixth victory of the season. Seven of the eight matches so far in 2016 have been decided by one goal.
"I give a lot of credit to Findlay as they really came out and battled with us," Michigan Tech Head Coach Michelle Jacob said. "I'm really proud of my team because we dug deep at the end and we were able to finish it. Throughout the game we created a lot of opportunities. We were able to stick with the plan and support each other and creating the goal in overtime is a good thing to be proud of."
Michigan Tech (6-2-0, 2-1-0 GLIAC) went on the attack early and nearly gained the advantage in the opening ten minutes of the contest. Senior forward Jaci Mielke just missed over the crossbar from the right side of the box after a crossing pass from senior Jessica Splittgerber cruised through the defense in the fifth minute. Freshman forward Alex Vasile then made a bid in the 8th minute, but her strike curved just to the right of the net.
Findlay (3-6-0, 1-2-0) engineered a counter attack with the next three shots of the match. Two of the three kicks went into the box score as saves for junior goalie Kirsen Hudak, who made seven stops in all Friday night. Mickayla White and Marissa Swindell where denied potential goals on the Hudak saves.
The Huskies broke through first in the 31st minute when Splittgerber found the back of the net for the third time this season, tying Mielke for the team lead in goals. Splittgerber got behind the Oiler defense and Mielke, who was stationed in the middle of the field, threaded a perfect past onto the foot of Splittgerber to setup the breakaway attempt. Finding herself in a one on one showdown with goalkeeper Sarah Baer, Splittgerber made the shot count for a 1-0 Michigan tech lead.
The Huskies took the 1-0 edge into halftime, but unfortunately it didn't take long for the Oilers to come up with the equalizer once the second half got underway. In the 53rd minute, Swindell snuck through the Husky defense and a pass from Megan Kupetz created a breakaway attempt for Swindell. She was able to slip the shot past Hudak to knot the score at 1-1.
Both teams had chances late in the second half to pull in front, but some solid work by both goalies and near misses kept the match deadlocked 1-1 after 90 minutes. The Huskies went to work on the opening kickoff and with 8:43 left on the clock in overtime, DeMario secured the win for Tech. DeMario's initial blast was deflected by Baer but DeMario reacted quickly to get the rebound and put back to end the game.
DeMario led the offense with six shots with the game winning kick included in those totals. Mielke followed with three shots and her third assist of the season while Splittgerber picked up her third goal of the season on two shots. The Huskies out-shot Findlay 19-13 and had a 2-1 edge in corner kicks. Hudak played all 91:17 in goal to earn the win thanks to the seven saves.
Swindell had five shot attempts and one goal to power the Findlay offense while Kupetz took one shot and recorded the assist on the Swindell goal. Baer made five saves in 91:17 and suffered the loss.
The Huskies will be back on the pitch Sunday when they host Ohio Dominican University in the "Let's Kick Cancer Game" at Sherman Field. The kickoff is slated for Noon.