Toledo suffered a heartbreaking 2-1 setback to Ohio in Friday's Mid-American Conference cross-division matchup at chilly Scott Park. With the tough loss, UT falls to 5-11-1 overall, 2-6-1 in the league.
The Bobcats (7-5-5, 3-3-3 MAC) registered the winning goal in the 89th minute to snap a six-match losing skid against the Rockets, dating back to 2009.
Ohio's Holly Harris was credited with the winning score at 88:38 to give the visitors its first and only lead. The Bobcats' forward beat an offside trap by the Rockets and found herself all alone against Toledo sophomore goalie Sam Tiongson. She took a quick dribble or two and fired a low shot just out of the reach of Tiongson to account for her team-tying best fourth goal of the season. Tonya Frasik was awarded the assist on the eventual winning play.
Despite the bitter decision, Toledo dictated much of today's action and finished with a commanding 28-9 edge in shots, including a match-high nine off the foot of senior Rachel MacLeod. The 2011 MAC Offensive Player of the Year was supported in the attack by sophomore Geri Siudzinski, who finished with a career-best six shots.
Toledo was presented with three quality scoring chances in a scoreless first half, with the first two coming by MacLeod. UT's initial shot was setup on a nice pass from junior Rio James to MacLeod along the left side of the pitch. The Westerville, OH native quickly cut inside toward the middle of the field and fired a shot from approximately 15 yards out that slid just wide of the frame at 28:38.
The Rockets second opportunity to break the ice occurred when MacLeod beat a pair of Ohio defenders down the center of the pitch and blasted a shot from about 12 yards out that Bobcats' goalie Mattie Liston made a diving save on at the 9:14 mark.
UT's other quality scoring chance before the intermission was by senior Emily Tustin at 39:43. The fourth-year Rocket took the ball down the right side and made her way toward the middle before hammering a shot from approximately 20 yards out that Liston saved, sending the teams into the intermission scoreless.
Ohio had its first quality scoring opportunity in the opening stages of the second half by Maggie Murnane. The Bobcats' midfielder won a free ball in space along the left side of the UT goal box and put a shot on frame from about 10 yards out that UT's Tiongson was in the proper position to cover toward the near post.
Toledo continued to apply a great deal of pressure offensively in the second half and had another golden opportunity to score off a header by junior Alexis Tice with 32:34 remaining in regulation. Tice out jumped the Ohio defense off the corner kick from Siudzinski, but Bobcats' goalie Liston punched it over the cross bar and out of play.
UT's constant pressure finally paid dividends when sophomore Kika Hernandez found the back of the frame for her second goal of the season at 64:45. Ohio tried to clear the ball out of its end of the field when a pass bounced off Hernandez's knee and ricocheted into the net from approximately six yards out.
Unfortunately for Toledo, the lead did not last long as Ohio's Liz Finley tallied the equalizer less than two minutes later. Finley received a pass from Alexis Milesky deep in UT territory along the left side of the field to get the play started. She gained composure over the ball and slid a low shot just out of the reach of a diving Tiongson along the near post from about 10 yards out to register her fourth goal of the season at 66:43.
The Rockets did not panic after giving up the equalizer and looked to be in good shape to reclaim the advantage on a shot by freshman Kiersten Johnson with 9:44 left in regulation. Johnson made a long run down the right side and put a good shot on target only to have Ohio's Liston make another save and set the stage for Harris' match-winning score in the waning moments.
Between the posts, UT's Tiongson was called upon to make three saves, while Ohio's Liston finished with 13.
The Rockets will look to return to their winning ways on Sunday, Oct. 27 against Kent State at 1:00 p.m. Sunday's showdown with the Golden Flashes has been booked as "Senior Day" for six Toledo student-athletes (Kelsey Borowitz, Molly Cantwell, Rachel MacLeod, Becky Rhodes, Ashley Ross, Emily Tustin) who will be appearing in their final home contest. This group has collectively won 41 matches over the last three-plus seasons, including two MAC regular-season titles in 2010 and 2011 and one conference tournament crown in 2011.