Courtesy: Tim Fitzgerald/CMU Athletics
Autumn Hawkins scored the game-winner in a 1-0 win over Toledo to send the Chippewas to the MAC Tournament Championship match against Miami (OH) on Sunday at 1 p.m.
CMU Advances to MAC Final with 1-0 Shutout of No. 6 Toledo

OSFORD, Ohio - Senior midfielder Autumn Hawkins scored the game-winner as the second-seeded Central Michigan women’s soccer team defeated No. 6 Toledo, 1-0, Friday afternoon to advance to a Mid-American Conference Tournament Championship showdown with top seeded Miami (OH).

After defeating the Rockets (7-12-2, 5-5-1 MAC), the Chippewas (15-5-1, 9-2-0 MAC) have put themselves in position for their third MAC Tournament Championship in the past four seasons.

Sunday’s 1 p.m. MAC Tournament Championship Match against Miami in Oxford, Ohio, will be a rematch of a double-overtime regular season matchup between the two sides that Miami claimed to clinch the MAC Regular Season Championship.

“We survived and we’ve advanced to our third MAC Tournament Championship match in four seasons, which speaks volumes about the character of this team and its senior leadership,” head coach Neil Stafford said. “We were a little bit disappointed with our performance today, but we are certainly happy about the final outcome and the result.”

The defense, led by MAC Defensive Player of the Year Bailey Brandon and fellow All-MAC First Team members Katie Slaughter and goalkeeper Stefanie Turner, allowed just four shots on goal en route to its 12th shutout of the season, and its fifth in the past six matches. Turner posted her 11th shutout of the season.

After earning a throw-in on the near side of the field along the baseline in the 29th minute, Brandon heaved a long throw into the box, where Hawkins emerged from a crowd with possession and buried it in the back of the net from less than five yards out for a 1-0 lead. 

The goal was Hawkins’ fourth of the season and eighth of her career, giving her a new single-season career high and doubling her career total from the previous three seasons combined. The assist was Brandon’s second of the season.

The Chippewas improved their record when they score the first goal of a match to 14-0-0.

Junior Estee Outcalt made a pair of critical defensive saves in the 61st minute when a shot by Toledo’s Rachel MacLeod bounced off the crossbar, resulting in two rebound shots that were both saved on the goal line by Outcalt to preserve the 1-0 lead.

Senior midfielder Ashley Mejilla took two shots in the first half that were saved. Freshman forward Danielle Rotheram took a shot on goal to begin the second half that was saved.

Sunday’s match in Oxford against No. 1 Miami will be streamed live on MAC-Sports.com and live stats will be available.

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