MOUNT PLEASANT – Senior midfielder Ashley Mejilla scored her first goal of the season and junior forward Jennifer Gassman netted the game-winner in the 80th minute as the Central Michigan women’s soccer team defeated Akron, 2-1, Friday afternoon at the CMU Soccer Complex on Kick Away Cancer Day.
The Chippewas (10-4-1, 6-1-0 MAC) outshot the Zips (4-10-0, 0-7-0) 32-5 throughout the course of the match, with 16 shots in each half, to improve their home unbeaten streak to 37 since their last loss at the CMU Soccer Complex in 2008. In the interim, the Chippewas have gone 33-0-4 in Mount Pleasant.
The Chippewas also had a 12-2 advantage in shots on goal, and did not allow a corner kick while taking seven themselves. Sophomore goalkeeper Grace Labrecque earned the win, having to make only one save on the afternoon.
Gassman put the Chippewas ahead for good in the 80th minute with a header that was sharply redirected into the far corner of the goal past the Akron keeper. The goal, Gassman’s third of the season, was assisted on a long service into the box from the far sideline near midfield by junior defender Estee Outcalt.
Mejilla, playing in her first match since learning she had been invited to compete for a spot on the Philippine Women’s National Team, put the Chippewas on the board first with a give-and-go play with freshman forward Danielle Rotheram in the 12th minute. Mejilla played the ball to Rotheram on the near side of the box and cut toward the middle, where Rotheram found her again for a shot past the Akron keeper.
A momentary lapse in defensive pressure in the 33rd minute resulted in the Zips pushing up the far side of the field and into the box for the equalizing goal by Megan Waskowski, assisted by Ashley Hughes.
The Chippewas had plenty of opportunities in the first half to take the lead, including a shot by senior defender Bailey Brandon in the 20th minute that was saved by an Akron defender who had positioned herself on the goal line.
Senior forward Autumn Hawkins led the Chippewas with three shots on goal, while Brandon, Rotheram and Mejilla each took two apiece. Junior midfielder Kaely Schlosser took two shots that nearly resulted in goals, both of which bounced off the goal frame.
The Chippewas will look to continue their home unbeaten streak on Sunday when they host Buffalo at 1 p.m. at the CMU Soccer Complex.