MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. — Bowling Green State University senior forward Kennedy White continued her scoring prowess on Thursday.
Kennedy struck for two more goals as the women’s soccer team downed Central Michigan University, 2-0, at the CMU Soccer/Lacrosse Complex.
The win was the first in MAC play for the Falcons (3-3-3, 1-0-2 MAC) this fall. Central Michigan drops to 1-7-2 and 0-2-1.
“We played well again today and had a lot of possession, creating a number of good goal-scoring opportunities,” BGSU coach Jimmy Walker said. “Our first-half performance was very good where we looked sharp and had a cutting edge about our plan. We were a little sloppy in the second half and lacked quality in the attacking third.
“The difference in today’s game was that we defended better in the flow of the game and on set pieces. We challenged the players this week to improve our concentration levels defensively. We did that today.”
White now has eight goals in nine matches this season, including five in just three conference contests.
She has moved into the top 10 on the BGSU career points list and assumed sole possession of sixth place in school history in career goals.
Junior midfielder Maya Dean, like White a Michigan native, assisted on both goals in Thursday’s win.
Just over eight minutes into the match, White got the Falcons on the board. After a corner kick by senior midfielder Jasmijn Dijsselhof, the ball ping-ponged around the box for a few seconds.
Dean sent the ball toward White, who hit a quick turnaround shot that whizzed into the far right side of the net, just inside the post.
In the 31st minute, BGSU – and the Dean-to-White combination in particular – struck again.
Freshman forward Brynn Gardner beat a defender near the end line on the right side and put a cross into the box.
The ball was tipped by goalkeeper Emma Shingler and rolled toward the other side of the penalty area.
Dean collected the ball and slid a pass to White, who blasted a shot from approximately 15 yards out. Shingler had no chance as the shot found the upper 90 to double the visitors’ lead.
In the 39th minute, BGSU junior forward Lacee Bethea nearly added to the BG lead.
Bethea received a pass in the center of the park, and finding herself with room to run, the speedy striker headed down the field and hit a shot from just outside the box.
The ball eluded the diving Shingler but went just wide of the right goalpost.
There were other opportunities. Just 28 seconds into the second half, BGSU freshman forward Alaina Uncapher made a run down the left side of the field. She put a shot on frame from a difficult angle, but Shingler was able to block the ball at the near post.
Midway through the period, Bethea put a nifty through ball to Gardner, who slipped past the last defender. Gardner struck a volley, but the shot was hit directly at Shingler.
In the 68th minute, the Chippewas were given a yellow card, as Bethea was pulled down just as she got behind the last defender. BGSU was awarded a free kick just outside the circle at the top of the 18-yard box. Cox took that kick and hit a hard shot, but the ball sailed over the crossbar.
Senior goalkeeper Lili Berg had five saves in goal en route to the shutout win, including several that saved the win for the Falcons. CMU had 11 shot attempts on the night, with Berg stopping all five shots on frame.
Midway through the half, CMU’s first shot on goal came by Ashley Scesniak from the top of the box. The hard shot sailed toward the upper half of the goal, but Berg made a spectacular leaping save to tip the shot over the crossbar.
Berg grabbed a cross/shot by Elizabeth Chlystun with 8:24 to go, and that was the final CMU shot attempt of the night. For the most part, the Falcons kept the ball in Central’s defensive end of the field for the final few minutes of the shutout win.
Berg recorded her second complete-match shutout of the season and the 14th of her career. Berg has also been involved in five combined shutouts, meaning that she has been a part of 19 clean sheets in 38 career starts.
For the Chippewas, Shingler made nine saves, and the hosts also were credited with a pair of ‘team saves’ as two BG shots were blocked near the goal line.
The Falcons had 20 total shot attempts, putting 13 on goal. White and Uncapher were credited for a combined 12 shots, with five shots on goal each.
The Falcons return home to prepare for a Sunday matchup with Ball State. First touch is set for 1 p.m. at Cochrane Stadium, and admission is free.
Then, BGSU will head back out on the road, taking on Akron Thursday.