Toledo (5-8-1, 3-2-1 MAC) wraps up an ultra-important, season-long four-match homestand this weekend with contests against Ball State and Mid-American Conference overall frontrunner Miami. Kickoff is slated for 4:00 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 12 against the Cardinals and 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 14 against the RedHawks at the corner of Hill Avenue and Parkside Boulevard, respectively.
Friday's division matchup with BSU has been tabbed as "Think Pink Day" at Scott Park. The first 100 fans through the gates will also receive a "Think Pink" Breast Cancer Awareness t-shirt. Groups of 10 or more can purchase tickets for this event for only $2.00 per ticket.
Sunday's cross-division showdown with MU has been booked as "Senior Day" for six Toledo student-athletes (Megan Blake, Natalia Gaitan, Rachael Kravitz, Kristen Mattei, Jaimie Morsillo, Blair Sorg). This group has collectively won 45 matches over the last three-plus seasons, as well as being a part of three-consecutive MAC Tournament appearances, two conference regular-season titles (2010, 2011) and one league tourney crown (2011).
This weekend, the two-time reigning MAC regular-season champion Rockets will look to stay in the thick of the race for a home match in the upcoming league tournament. Toledo currently sits tied for fifth in the conference with Kent State (10 points) and trails 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 earn three points for a win and one point for a tie. Toledo has hosted a first-round MAC Tournament contest on four occasions over the last five years.
UT split a pair of home matches last weekend, claiming a 3-0 victory vs. Bowling Green on Sunday and suffering a 2-0 setback against MAC West Division frontrunner Central Michigan on Friday. Freshman Angelica Hernandez sparked the shutout against the Falcons, scoring her first two collegiate goals to extend Toledo's unbeaten streak against its arch-rivals to seven consecutive matches (5-0-2 record). In the process, Hernandez became the first Rocket to score multiple goals in a match in 2012.
The 2012 MAC preseason favorite Rockets are paced by junior Rachel MacLeod, who has a team-high eight points on the season (three goals, two assists). MacLeod is supported offensively by Gaitan (two goals) and Hernandez (two goals) with four points each. Winners in three of its last four matches, Toledo's offense has vastly improved during this stretch, averaging 2.0 goals.
As a team, UT is eighth in the MAC in corner kicks (51), tied for eighth in goals (14), ninth in points (38), tied for ninth in assists (10) and 10th in shots (145).
On defense, the Rockets have tweaked their back four a little a bit and allowed only three goals over the last four matches, including posting a pair of shutouts. Senior Jaimie Morsillo, senior Megan Blake, sophomore Kirsten Catloth, sophomore Brooke Lawler and Gaitan are anchoring the defensive front and are starting to settle into a groove and connect well together.
Between the posts, sophomore Kelsey Borowitz (3-6-1 mark) looks to have solidified herself as the Rockets' top goalie, starting each of the first six conference matches. Borowitz has accumulated 858:35 minutes on the backline, giving up 14 scores (1.47 GAA) with 32 stops and three shutouts. She currently sits tied for eighth in MAC in blankings.
As a unit, UT is tied for third in the MAC in shutouts (5) and 10th in goals allowed (18) and goals-against average (1.25).
Ball State enters Friday's contest with a 6-4-4 overall record and a 3-1-2 conference mark. The Cardinals come off a weekend in which they claimed a 1-0 triumph vs. Eastern Michigan and played Western Michigan to a 0-0 double-overtime draw. They are led offensively by Nicole Pembleton (three goals, one assist) and Jasmine Moses (three goals) with seven and six points, respectively. A total of 10 BSU players have scored a goal so far this season. In goal, Aubrey Buehler has played all but 33 minutes and ranks tied for third in the MAC in saves (50), seventh in GAA (1.02), eighth in save percentage (.769) and tied for eighth in shutouts (3). As a team, BSU is second in shots (229), fourth in GAA (0.99), tied for fifth in goals allowed (15), sixth in helpers (14), tied for sixth in goals (15), seventh in total points (44), tied for eighth in saves (50), tied for ninth in shutouts (3) and 12th in corner kicks (41). Ball State leads the all-time series with the Rockets, 8-5-0, but UT has won three of the last four matchups between the division rivals. Last fall, Toledo's Danielle Case and Gaitan scored goals off corner kicks to give the home team a 2-0 victory.
Miami, which plays at Northern Illinois on Friday before traveling to Toledo, begins the weekend with an impressive 12-2-0 overall mark and a flawless ledger 6-0-0 in the MAC. Last weekend, the RedHawks defeated Western Michigan, 3-0, and Eastern Michigan, 4-3, at home to extend their win streak to seven consecutive matches. MU is loaded offensively and paced by the five-headed monster of Jess Kodiak (22 points, eight goals, six assists), Kayla Zakrzewski (20 pts., six goals, eight assists), Haley Walter (19 pts., six goals, seven assists), Kelsey Dinges (17 pts., eight goals, one assist) and Katy Dolesh (15 pts., five goals, five assists). All five players rank in the Top 10 in the MAC in both goals and total points. As an offensive unit, Miami is leading the conference in shots (236), goals (41), assists (36), corner kicks (101) and total points (118). In goal, Allison Norenberg has started all 14 contests and ranks tied for second in the MAC in shutouts (5), fifth in GAA (0.88) and ninth in saves (37). Defensively, Miami sits tied for first in the league in shutouts (7), second in goals allowed (12) and GAA (0.84) and 11th in saves (41). The Rockets lead the all-time series, 11-5-1, and have won six of the last seven matchups. UT is also unbeaten in its last six home contests against Miami (5-0-1 mark), dating back to 2004. A season ago, Toledo broke open a close match with two second-half goals to lift the visitors to a 3-0 triumph.