Lady Cardinals Defeat Panthers 1-0 in First Round of NCAA Tournament

SVSU defeated ODU 1-0 to advance to the Midwest Regional Semifinals
SVSU defeated ODU 1-0 to advance to the Midwest Regional Semifinals

SOMERS, Wis. – The Saginaw Valley State University women's soccer team defeated the Ohio Dominican Panthers 1-0 on Friday (11/14) afternoon in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Wood Road Field on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.  SVSU recorded the first NCAA Tournament victory in program history.

The first half was played in similar fashion to the teams first meeting which ended in a 0-0 draw in double overtime on September 28th in Columbus, Ohio.  The Panthers out-shot the Cardinals 8-3 in the first 45 minutes, but each team managed to record two shots on goal.  Sophomore goalkeeper Claire Spleth made both saves to keep the game scoreless heading to the halftime break.

The Cardinals made a bid to break the scoreless tie just minutes into the second half.  Sophomore Ashley Henderson broke through the Panther defense and fired a shot towards the net but hit the cross bar.  The game would remain tied, 0-0.

SVSU would continue to put the pressure on ODU and finally found the back of the net at the 60:33 mark of the second half.  Senior Holly Laser sent a pass into the box for Henderson who was able to beat the Panther goalkeeper to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead.  The sophomore scored her team-high ninth goal while Laser recorded her first assist of the season on the play.

The Cardinal defense held strong the remaining 30 minutes of the contest to preserve the 1-0 victory.  Ohio Dominican out-shot SVSU 18-7 but could only manage to put three shots on goal in the game.

Spleth earned her 11th win and recorded her ninth shutout of the season, making three saves in the contest.

"Today was a great team performance," said SVSU Head Coach Michael O'Neill.  "We knew it was going to be a grind; not just because of the weather but also we were playing against a strong ODU team.  We had a game plan and we promised ourselves that we would respond from the tough 5-2 defeat against Ashland with an all-important shutout.  The game was scrappy from start to finish but we knew one goal would be enough to advance if we remained disciplined. We are looking forward to Sunday's game against Wisconsin-Parkside, as we will prepare the best way we can and make sure we leave it all out on the field." 

Saginaw Valley advances to the Midwest Regional Semifinals on Sunday (11/16) and will take on the Midwest Region hosts, University of Wisconsin-Parkside Rangers.  The game is scheduled to begin at 1:00 pm ET.  The Rangers are the top-seed in the Midwest Region and are unbeaten this season with an overall record of 17-0-3.