(Credit: Toledo Sports Information)
Toledo put forth a quality offensive effort at Eastern Michigan on Sunday but came up on the short end of a 4-3 decision at Scicluna Field. With the loss, the Rockets fall to 3-7-0 overall, 0-2-0 in the Mid-American Conference.
UT received one goal and one assist from senior Rachel MacLeod and single scores from junior Rio James and freshman Brooke Maletic, but it was not quite enough against a talented EMU (5-4-1, 2-0-0 MAC) squad.
"We scored two good goals on restarts and nearly put ourselves in a position to grab a point on the road, but we weren't quite up to the task," Head Coach Brad Evans said. "We showed much more discipline in the second half and it showed. Over our next nine matches, I hope we can play with the mindset that there is still much to play for."
The Eagles registered all four of their goals in the first half to help the home team claim their fourth consecutive match. EMU has now tallied at least four goals in four straight contests.
Eastern Michigan opened the scoring on Martha Steven's third tally of the season at 7:26. Teammate Jennifer Bentley started the play with a pass to Bianca Rossi into the UT goal box. Instead of firing a shot at the net, Rossi found Stevens, who put the ball past Toledo senior goalie Kelsey Borowitz for the goal.
Toledo knotted the match five minutes later on junior Rio James' first goal in 2013. The Brownsburg, IN native accepted a pass from MacLeod and chipped a shot over EMU netminder Megan McCabe to knot the difference at 1-1 with 27:13 remaining in the half.
The Eagles then registered back-to-back goals by Cara Cutaia and Rossi to give the Green & White a two-score advantage after 35 minutes of play. Rossi was on the giving end of the first goal, finding Cutaia for her team-best sixth goal of the season at 22:32. The teammates then reversed roles 12 minutes later as Cutaia relayed a pass to Rossi on the right side, and she blasted a shot into the left corner of the net to make the score 3-1.
UT quickly answered back though less than two minutes later as a Maletic header found its way into the back of the frame, bringing the Midnight Blue & Gold to within a score. The Springfield, OH native was on the receiving end of a cross from junior Alexis Tice to record her second goal in 2013 at the 36:10 mark.
Unfortunately for the Rockets, they allowed EMU's Madison Hirsch to score her first collegiate goal in the waning moments of the first period at 43:38. Hirsch headed in a cross from Cutaia to give Eastern Michigan a 4-2 edge at the intermission.
The scoring subsided in the second half with Toledo tallying the only goal in the final 45 minutes. MacLeod cut the UT deficit to 4-3 with a header off a corner kick from junior Kirsten Catloth at 60:43 to tally her team-best eighth goal of the season.
Toledo continued to press in the second half and tried desperately to tie up the match, but Eastern Michigan would not allow the equalizer and walked away with the one-goal triumph.
EMU finished the division showdown with a 15-11 edge in shots, while the Rockets held a 7-3 advantage in corner kicks. MacLeod paced Toledo with a career-tying best six shots, while Rossi led the Eagles with five shots.
Borowitz made her second start of the season between the posts and totaled two stops.
"We continue to fight to find an identity on the defensive side of the ball," Evans said. "It's unacceptable to give up goals in the numbers we have. I give credit to EMU though for clinically finishing their chances."
The Rockets will return to the pitch on Friday, Oct. 4 when they host Buffalo. The MAC cross-division matchup against the Bulls will start at 4:00 p.m. at Scott Park.