TOLEDO - Toledo blanked arch-rival Bowling Green, 3-0, on Sunday to earn a much-needed Mid-American Conference victory at chilly Scott Park. With the win, UT improves to 5-8-1, 3-2-1 in the league.
UT received a pair of scores from freshman Angelica Hernandez and one from senior Natalia Gaitan to extend its win streak against the Falcons (1-12-1, 0-5-1 MAC) to seven consecutive matches (5-0-2 record).
The home triumph keeps the two-time reigning conference regular-season champion Rockets in the thick of the race for a home match in the upcoming MAC Tournament. Toledo currently sits fifth in the league with 10 points, trailing Miami (18 pts.), Central Michigan (15 pts.), Eastern Michigan (12 pts.) and Ball State (11 pts.) with five regular-season contests remaining. The top four squads in the final regular-season standings regardless of division will host teams five through eight in the quarterfinal round on Sunday, Oct. 28 at campus sites. Teams earns three points for a win and one point for a tie.
Toledo started fast in today's cross-division showdown with Hernandez opening the scoring at the 7:35 mark with her first collegiate marker. Senior Jaimie Morsillo was credited with her team-tying best second assist in 2012. Morsillo started the play with a pass into the thick of the BGSU defense that the visitors were unable to clear out of danger. Hernandez won the 50/50 ball and found herself all alone in the middle of the pitch with Falcons' goalie Jenna Underwood. The Bogota, Colombia native took a quick dribble and perfectly placed a shot under the outstretched arm of Underwood to give the home team an advantage it would not relinquish.
UT's Hernandez nearly made the score 2-0 when she came within inches from finding the back of the net for a second time with approximately 23 minutes left in the opening stanza. Junior Rachel MacLeod made a nice run down the right side and crossed the ball to Hernandez who was streaking toward the near post. The first-year Rocket tried to hammer home a low shot, but BGSU's Underwood made an acrobatic diving stop to the keep it a 1-0 difference at the intermission.
Toledo finished the first half with a 9-2 edge in shots and a 2-1 advantage in corner kicks.
UT then blew the match open in the opening stages of the second stanza, tallying its other two scores in a span of two-plus minutes to make the final margin 3-0.
Gaitan registered the first goal in the second-half burst at 46:31. The play was made possible following a BGSU foul in the penalty box, resulting in a penalty kick. UT's MacLeod intercepted a pass from the Falcons defense and dribbled down the right side of the pitch before being tripped from behind by Emma Norris to set up the free kick. Gaitan's initial attempt was nicely blocked by Bowling Green's Underwood, but the ball bounced right back to Gaitan, and she hammered home the follow-up shot for her second goal of the season.
The Rockets' other tally came on Hernandez's second goal of the afternoon at 48:52. Hernandez received a cross from MacLeod along the right side about eight yards from BGSU's near post. The first-year forward found a seam in the Bowling Green defense and blasted a shot that Underwood was able to get a hand on but was unable to stop and the ball rolled into the back of the frame.
In between Toledo's two scores, BGSU had a golden opportunity to break up the shutout off the foot of Kaitlyn Tobin at 46:47. The midfielder plastered a shot from approximately 25-yards out that UT sophomore goalie Kelsey Borowitz punched over the crossbar and out of danger.
With a little over 27 minutes left in regulation, Bowling Green was presented with its other quality scoring chance. There was a scrum in the middle of the Toledo goal box and the Falcons were able to fire off three shots from close range. Fortunately for the Rockets, the defense held their ground and was in the right spot to protect the goal line and preserve the shutout.
UT finished the match with a 16-9 edge in shots. Hernandez paced the home team with three shots, while senior Rachael Kravitz, senior Blair Sorg and Gaitan and two shots each.
In between the posts, Borowitz went the distance and was called upon to make four stops to collect her third shutout of the season.
The Rockets will look to continue today's momentum when they host MAC West Division rival Ball State on Friday, Oct. 12. The opening whistle is slated for 4:00 p.m. at Scott Park.