The Ashland University women's soccer team lost in heartbreaking fashion in the first round of the NCAA Tournament as McKendree scored in the third minute of overtime to win, 1-0, on Friday (Nov. 22) morning in Allendale, Mich.
The Eagles (14-5-1) controlled a majority of the game and maintained 57 percent possession, but were unlucky to come away with the win. Ashland hit the woodwork three times in the game, including three in the second half.
In the overtime, Riley Ross came free against the run of play down the right wing and her shot was denied by junior keeper Hannah Lee. The rebound came down and rolled out to Alynnah O'Leary, who finished inside the near post.
The Bearcats (16-3-3) had the first quality chance of the game, but Lee made a brilliant save down to her right to push it just wide of the post.
After that, much of the possession and all the chances belonged to the Eagles. They finished with a 17-6 advantage in shots, including a 12-2 mark in the second half.
"It was everything except for the final piece," said head coach Taylor Clarke. "Everything was so well executed, they were fired up, they did everything, but it was just one of those days where you hit the post, one goes over, one goes wide. That's how the game goes, but I'm super proud of the effort."
In the first half, the Eagles applied pressure and possessed, but their chances just missed. Junior Nadya Boualany had her shot tipped over the bar by McKendree keeper Zoe Brochu in the 16th minute.
Just before halftime, senior Emily Ledbetter had a crack from outside the box, but it went just over the bar.
In the second half, the Eagles were in total control. In the 48th minute, senior Deijah Swihart came free behind the defense and beat the keeper, but the shot hit the left post.
The Eagles hit the post in the span of 10 seconds in the 75th minute as Ledbetter's strike drilled the crossbar. It fell to Ashland, but sophomore Faith Lewis hit the right post before McKendree was able to collect the ball.
Swihart called Brochu into action a few minutes later, but the keeper was equal to it.
The game went into overtime with the Eagles in control, but McKendree was able to break on a counter and score the game-winner.
Lee made three saves for Ashland while Brochu stopped five shots for the Bearcats.
The Eagles matched the 2015 team for their most wins since the 2004 season.