TOLEDO - Toledo did more than hold its own against Mid-American Conference frontrunner Miami on Sunday, but the Rockets came up a little short and suffered a 1-0 setback at rainy Scott Park. With the loss, UT falls to 6-9-1 overall, 5-3-1 in the league.
The two-time reigning MAC regular-season champion Rockets finished with a 12-10 edge in shots in the cross-division showdown, including a match-best five off the foot of junior Rachel MacLeod. Unfortunately for the Midnight Blue & Gold, they were unable to find the back of the net and sustained its first home setback against the RedHawks (14-2-0, 8-0-0 MAC) since 2002. UT had been unbeaten in its last six matchups (5-0-1 mark) against Miami at the corner of Hill Avenue and Parkside Boulevard.
The RedHawks' Katy Dolesh scored today's lone goal on a well executed free kick at the 19:31 mark in the first half. Teammate Kelsey Dinges started the play with a pass forward to Dolesh along the left side of the pitch about 30 yards from the Toledo goal. Dolesh made a quick turn to her left to create some open space between her and the Toledo defender and blasted a shot just inside the far post to collect her seventh goal of the season.
In the opening stages of today's contest, Miami's Kayla Zakrzewski was presented with a quality scoring opportunity. Zakrzewski accapted a pass from Jess Kodiak and made a long run down the left side before launching a shot that hit the near post and caromed out of danger in the ninth minute.
UT's best opportunity to score in the first stanza came a little more than six minutes later off the foot of MacLeod. The 2011 MAC Offensive Player of the Year fired a shot from the left side toward the back post that Miami netminder Allison Norenberg made a diving stop on to keep the match scoreless.
Following the goal, Miami had one other chance to double the lead before the intermission on a pair of shots by Zakrzewski with only nine minutes showing the clock. The midfielder's first shot from about six-yards out in the middle of the goal box was blocked by sophomore goalie Kelsey Borowitz, but the keeper was unable to corral it. The loose ball bounced right back to Zakrzewski, and she fired another shot that eluded Borowitz but UT senior Jaimie Morsillo cleared the ball before it crossed the line to keep it a 1-0 difference at halftime.
To start the second period, Toledo sophomore Rio James made a nice play to create a scoring opportunity with just over 38 minutes left in regulation. The second-year Rocket accepted a high pass from freshman Geri Siuizinski and volleyed a shot from approximately 12 yards out that Miami's Norenberg made an acrobatic save toward the near post to maintain the 1-0 lead.
The only other legitimate scoring chance over the final 45 minutes was by Miami's Jess Kodiak with a little under 24 minutes remaining. Teammate Haley Walter put a pass deep into UT territory that Kodiak outsprinted the Rockets' defense to. UT's Borowitz came off her line and forced Kodiak out wide to cut down her angle at the goal. By the time Kodiak was able to get a good look at the net and fire off a shot, Toledo senior Megan Blake had recovered and blocked it out of danger.
Toledo had the wind at its back and controlled a majority of the action in the second half. The four-time MAC Tournament champions posted a 5-4 edge in shots in the second stanza but were unable to convert and as a result suffered their eighth shutout of the season.
Between the posts, UT's Borowitz went the distance and finished with three saves.
Dolesh and Kodiak led the RedHawks with three shots each, helping the MAC overall leaders post their ninth consecutive victory. Norenberg also worked all 90 minutes in goal and tallied four stops to collect her sixth blanking in 2012.
The Rockets return to action on Friday, Oct. 19 when they travel to MAC East Division foe Ohio. The opening whistle from Chessa Field is slated for 3:00 p.m.