THE TURNING POINT: Ashland junior forward Morgan Bittengle scored in the 22nd minute to break the scoreless tie.
STAT OF THE GAME: Dating back to 2015, AU is 5-0 in games when Swihart and junior forward Morgan Bittengle both score goals.
The Ashland University women's soccer team shut out Ohio Dominican, 3-0, on Sunday (Oct. 9) afternoon to move into a tie for second place in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with five conference games remaining on their regular-season schedule.
"It's definitely up there (for biggest win of the season)," head coach Danny Krispinsky said. "At this point in the season, every win is big, especially in GLIAC play. That was a good team that we beat today."
Junior forward Morgan Bittengle put the Eagles (7-1-3 overall, 4-1-1 GLIAC) up 1-0 during the 22nd minute on a through-ball from junior forward Kelsey McKernan that left her wide open on a breakaway. The goal was Bittengle's sixth, which is second most on the team. McKernan's assist was her third this season, tying her with Bittengle for the team lead.
"I give Kelsey and Morgan a lot of credit on that first goal," Krispinsky said. "They recognized that their backs were out of place, and they got behind them. Morgan did a great job of staying calm and had a really nice finish. That gave us the confidence we needed to go ahead and put a couple more away."
Just eight minutes later, sophomore forward Deijah Swihart gave the Eagles a 2-0 lead over the Panthers (4-4-4, 3-1-2), heading in a cross from junior defender Bridget McEldowney that came from beyond the right side of the 18.
"I thought we did a nice job of taking our best shots there in the middle part of the first half," Krispinsky said. "Our top line did a great job of recognizing moments and gaps to exploit."
Ashland headed into halftime up 2-0 despite ODU's 6-5 shot advantage.
"We got lucky that their shots hit the post a couple times and bounced out," Krispinsky said. "So that went our way. They had a couple really good opportunities."
In the 56th minute, Swihart netted her team-leading seventh goal of the season from six feet out following a touch-pass from freshman midfielder Korinna Lakes. Lakes leads the six Eagle freshmen with six points this season.
"Korinna got an assist from supporting the strikers," Krispinsky said. "I thought our midfield did a great job, including everybody that stepped in there, all six of them. We needed that today. Midfield is a big part of what we do, and they did a nice job of controlling the game and also getting into the attack."
"Deijah's a player with a lot of ability," Krispinsky said. "And before this weekend, as a team we were struggling to get in the attack and score goals. And a focus that we put on this week was how to be more dangerous in the final third. She put the coaching and her ability together, and that's the result. I'm really happy with her and what she's done so far."
AU's junior goalkeeper Courtney Barker was in the net for her fourth shutout this season, tying her career-high for shutouts in a season that she set as a sophomore last year.
"We limited their shots to being comfortable saves for Courtney," Krispinsky said. "We knew that they were going to get shots. But I thought it was key to limit how good of chances that they had."
UP NEXT: The Eagles take on the Saginaw Valley Cardinals at home on Friday (Oct. 14) at 4:30 p.m.