Toledo shuts out Ball State to claim 2011 MAC regular-season championship

October 28, 2011 | News, UToday
By Brian DeBenedictis

The Rockets celebrated after beating Ball State, 2-0, to win the 2011 Mid-American Conference regular-season championship for the third time in the last four seasons.

Toledo scored a pair of goals off corner kicks and claimed a 2-0 win against Ball State Thursday at Scott Park. With the shutout victory, the Rockets wrapped up the 2011 Mid-American Conference regular-season championship for the third time in the last four seasons.

UT’s blanking gives Head Coach Brad Evans and the Midnight Blue and Gold an overall record of 11-6-2 to close out the regular season, including 9-1-1 in league play. The Rockets now will be the top seed for the MAC Tournament for the second consecutive season, which opens Sunday, Oct. 30, with quarterfinal-round match vs. No. 8 seed Ohio at 1:05 p.m. at the corner of Hill Avenue and Parkside Boulevard.

The University of Toledo Division of External Affairs has agreed to pay the admission fee for the first 100 UT students with their UT ID to Sunday’s contest against the Bobcats.

Toledo cashed in on its only legitimate scoring opportunity in the opening stanza in the regular-season finale when senior Danielle Case tallied her second goal of the season at 15:42. The marker was setup beautifully on a corner by junior Natalia Gaitàn to Case on the Ball State back post. The tri-captain found a seam in the defense and out-jumped the opposition, hammering the header to give the home team a lead they would not relinquish.

Moments before the first half ended, the Cardinals (9-8-3, 4-5-2 MAC) were presented with an opportunity to draw even on a header by Brigit Reder. Teammate Pavla Benyrova played in a free kick from about 25 yards out to Reder in the middle of the UT goal box. The Cardinals’ defender extended high into the air and blasted a header that skimmed over the bar and out of play to keep the difference 1-0 at the intermission.

The Rockets then added to their advantage when sophomore Rachel MacLeod found the back of the net for the seventh time this fall at 54:44. Gaitàn started the play once again with a well-struck ball toward the Ball State back post to junior Kristen Mattei, who headed it back toward the middle of the Cardinals’ goal box. MacLeod was there waiting for Mattei’s header and promptly placed a header herself into the net to establish a two-goal cushion.

Toledo then dodged a bullet moments after MacLeod’s goal with a misplay on defense. UT’s Case had a pass stolen by BSU’s Jasmine Moses deep in its third of the pitch. The Cardinals’ swift-footed forward then found herself one-on-one with Toledo senior goalie Vicki Traven. Fortunately for the two-time defending MAC regular-season champs, Traven came off her line enough and cut down Moses’ angle to the goal to force her shot wide of the target, preserving the shutout.

BSU finished the division matchup with a slight 9-8 advantage in shots. MacLeod paced the victors with two shots, while Moses also had two shots for the visitors.

UT held an 8-2 advantage in corner kicks to register its third win over BSU in the last four seasons.

Between the posts, Traven was called upon to make four saves to collect her seventh shutout of the season.

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