Senior Rachel MacLeod scored the match's lone goal to lead Toledo to a 1-0 shutout victory over Akron on Sunday at rainy Scott Park. With the blanking, the Rockets' collect their first Mid-American Conference win of the season and improve to 4-8-0 overall, 1-3-0 in the league.
MacLeod received a pass from classmate Emily Tustin along the right side of the pitch and quickly made her way toward the top of the Zips' (4-6-2, 1-3-0 MAC) goalbox. The Westerville, OH native fought off a couple UA defenders along the way before firing a low shot from approximately 18 yards out that glanced off the far post and rolled into the back of the net for her squad-best ninth tally of the season at 70:24.
The Midnight Blue & Gold controlled a majority of today's action and finished with a sizable 18-8 edge in shots, with MacLeod registering a career-best seven shots. The three-time MAC regular-season champion Rockets also held a 7-1 edge in corner kicks to improve to 11-1-1 all-time against the Zips.
Between the posts, sophomore Sam Tiongson went the distance and was called upon to make five saves to earn her second shutout in 2013.
Toledo and Tiongson were tested early on, as Akron had two good chances to score in the fourth minute. UA's Lani Smith corralled a loose ball around the top of the UT goalbox and fired a shot that Tiongson made an acrobatic save on. The Rockets' netminder was not able to secure the ball completely, though, and allowed Akron's Madison Kaser to rattle off a follow-up shot that she made another diving stop on to keep the match scoreless.
As the first half wore on, the Zips had another chance to break the scoreless tie off the foot of Kelly DeNiro with about 20 minutes left before intermission. DeNiro beat a pair of UT defenders down the middle of the pitch and fired off a low shot that slid just wide of the frame.
After dodging a couple of bullets by the visitors to take the early lead, the Rockets settled down and took over the match. The home team had their best chance to score in the opening stanza on a shot by MacLeod with just under 15 minutes showing on the clock. The 2011 MAC Offensive Player of the Year carried the ball down the right side of the field before making her way towards the top of the UA goalbox. MacLeod had a step on the defense and blasted a left-footed shot that Akron goalie Alex Luevano-Harden was in position to make the save and keep the score 0-0 at halftime.
Toledo's MacLeod kept to the attack to start the second half and was presented with another quality scoring opportunity with 32:56 left in regulation. MacLeod had her back to the goal off a throw in before quickly turning to her right and firing off a high shot that barely slid over the crossbar.
Less than five minutes later, UT's Tustin accepted a corner kick from junior Kirsten Catloth and tried to ram home a hard shot toward the back post. Unfortunately for the Rockets, UA's Luevano-Harden was once again in proper position to make the stop with 29:36 remaining in the final stanza.
UT would not be denied, though, and took advantage of MacLeod's league-best ninth goal with just under 20 minutes left to assume a lead it would not surrender.
Toledo remained disciplined at both ends of the pitch down the stretch and did not allow the Zips any good looks at the goal to preserve the shutout.
The Rockets will look to build off today's momentum when they return to the field on Friday, Oct. 11 at Central Michigan. The opening whistle against the Chippewas is slated for 4:00 p.m. from the CMU Soccer Complex.