Toledo scored early and often in a convincing 5-2 victory against Indiana State on Friday at soggy Scott Park. With the non-league win, UT improves to 3-4-0 on the season.
Four different Rockets found the back of the net against the Missouri Valley Conference member Sycamores (3-5-0), as the Midnight Blue & Gold scored their most goals since tallying eight versus Ohio in the quarterfinals the 2011 Mid-American Conference Tournament on Oct. 30. Senior Rachel MacLeod fueled today's offensive explosion with two goals and one assist, while freshman Kiersten Johnson had one score with one helper and freshman Shelby Antonacci and sophomore Megan Connor also tickled the twine in the impressive home triumph.
Toledo wasted little time in setting the tone in today's match as MacLeod scored her first of two goals at the 12:03 mark. MacLeod headed home a cross from sophomore Kika Hernandez and Johnson to give the home team a lead they would not surrender. Hernandez started the play with a nice pass from the middle of the field to Johnson along the right endline. Johnson then crossed the ball back into the middle of the ISU goal box to MacLeod, who found a seam in the defense and headed the sphere into the back of the net.
Indiana State was presented with its best chance to score in the opening stanza on a shot off the foot of Emily Chura at 26:30. Chura accepted a cross from teammate Kayla Welch before blasting a shot from approximately 12 yards out that sailed just wide of the frame.
The score remained the same until the waning moments of the first half when Antonacci registered her first collegiate goal at 41:13. The tally was almost a carbon copy of Toledo's first score. Junior Meghan Topolewski began the action with a solid pass to senior Emily Tustin along the right side of the pitch. Tustin took a quick touch and crossed the ball into the middle of the ISU goal box to a wide open Antonacci, who headed it into the goal.
Following the intermission, the Sycamores came out with some flare and quickly cut the deficit in half on the first of two scores by Kate Johnson at 49:30. The speedy forward slipped in behind the UT defense and accepted a nice pass from Sydney Lovelace before hammering home a shot to put the visitors on the scoreboard.
UT was quick to counter though, as the four-time MAC Tournament champions made the difference 3-1 on Johnson's second goal of the season only 25 seconds later. The Cincinnati, OH native successfully beat an ISU offside trap and lifted a left-footed shot from approximately 20-yards out just inside the far post. MacLeod was credited with the assist to once again help the home team assume a two-goal advantage.
The Rockets were still not done attacking, as MacLeod scored her second goal of the contest and team-high seventh of the season off a long clear by junior Kirsten Catloth at 60:44. UT had the ball deep in its own territory before Catloth unloaded on ball that traveled a good 45 yards. The sphere bounced over the last line of the ISU defense and ended up at the foot of a streaking MacLeod down the middle of the pitch. The 2011 MAC Offensive Player of the Year took a quick touch and flicked a shot over the outstretched arms of Indiana State goalie Brittany San Roman to make it a three-goal match.
The Sycamores made one final push and and it looked like they had some momentum following Johnson's second goal of the contest at 72:14. Johnson headed a cross from teammate Taylor Hancock off the cross bar and dropped into back of the net.
Fortunately for UT, Indiana State's momentum did not last long as the home team retaliated with its fifth and final score only 32 seconds later. Connor found herself all alone in front of the ISU goal, knocking home a cross by freshman Brooke Maletic to set the final score at 5-2. It was Connor's first collegiate goal.
Toledo finished the match with a slight 16-15 edge in shots, including a squad-best three each by MacLeod, Connor and Antonacci. Johnson led Indiana State with a contest-high five shots.
Sophomore Sam Tiongson went the distance between the posts for the victors and made five saves to earn her third victory of the season.
The Rockets will return to action on Sunday, Sept. 22 when they wrap up non-league competition against Atlantic-10 member Dayton. The opening whistle is slated for 1:05 p.m.
Sunday's contest has been tabbed as "Girls Day" at the corner of Hill Ave. and Parkside Blvd. Groups of at least 10 are able to purchase tickets at $1.00 each for Sunday's non-league finale. Groups are advised to purchase tickets all together or else the group promotion will not apply. Members of the Girl Scouts and Girls on the Run will participate in fun activities such as face painting and an autograph session during the course of the afternoon. This match will also serve as the first of four kick-off games toward Girl Scouts earning their Athlete Legacy Badge Quest.