YPSILANTI, Mich. - Senior midfielder Claire Horton scored the game-winning goal for Central Michigan for the second time in as many games, defeating Eastern Michigan Friday, 1-0, at Scicluna Field.
Despite the win, the Chippewas (14-2-3, 8-1-2 MAC) were unable to claim their third-straight Mid-American Conference regular season title, as Toledo defeated Ball State earlier in the day. CMU will be the No. 2 seed in the upcoming MAC Tournament and will host the quarterfinal match Sunday versus the No. 7 seed, Akron, at 1 p.m.
"We did well enough today to keep a clean sheet," head coach Neil Stafford said. "Grace Labrecque was absolutely outstanding and Stefanie Turner did a great job in the first half as well. I'm very happy we are going into the conference tournament with two very solid goalkeepers."
Though not as dramatic as last Sunday's game-winner in the 76th minute of play versus Ball State, Horton found the back of the net for her second goal of the season in the first half to propel the Chippewas. The midfielder beat EMU's Maggie Manville from six yards out, as her shot deflected off an EMU defender at the 32:44 mark to put the Chippewas ahead 1-0 and in control of the match.
Juniors Laura Twidle and Katie Slaughter were each credited with an assist on the play. The point was the first of Twidle's season.
In the second half, the Chippewas held off a furry of shots by the Eagles as the redshirt freshman Labrecque put together her best performance of her rookie campaign. Eastern Michigan forced the issue, firing 14 of its 17 shots in the contest in the final 45 minutes of play.
The Battle Creek, MIich., native made a career-high six saves in the second half after coming in for the junior keeper Turner. Her final save of the contest came with under nine minutes to play in the contest as she stopped an attempt by the Eagles' leading goal scorer, Angela Vultaggio at the 81:31 mark.
"We have Akron now, who was very good at their place," Stafford said. "It will be a real tough game for us. We are confident that we can learn from what we didn't do well against them the first time and improve for Sunday."
The shutout was the fourth straight for the Chippewas, as they have won each of the last four contests, 1-0. It also marked the 13th game this season that the Maroon and Gold blanked the opposition.
The Chippewas equaled EMU's 17 shots in the contest, putting five on frame. Manville finished with five saves for the Green and White.Turner was credited with the win for the Chippewas, making one save in the first half to improve her record to 10-2-2 on the season.