A 20th-minute goal by junior midfielder Maya Dean, coupled with heroic defending by the Bowling Green State University back line, resulted in a 1-0 win for the Falcons over Miami University on Thursday at Cochrane Stadium.
With the win, the Falcons (6-5-4 overall, 4-2-3 Mid-American Conference) move past the RedHawks into fourth place in the conference standings with two matches remaining in the regular season.
The Falcons have outscored the opponents, 10-1, over the last five games.
Miami (7-4-5, 3-2-4 MAC) entered Thursday’s BGSU match having lost just once in the previous 11 contests.
“Hats off to Miami; they are a really good team, and they were really good tonight,” BGSU coach Jimmy Walker said. “They really challenged us, but we were able to grind out a result.
“Over the course of a season, we’ve had some games where we’ve maybe been the better team but haven’t come away with a result,” Walker continued. “But tonight, we were able to grind out a result. Sometimes you’ve got to win ugly to win games, and we did that tonight. It wasn’t our best performance, but we found a way to win.”
The lone goal of the night came after BGSU senior midfielder Mackenzie Reuber put a free kick into the box for the Falcons.
The ball was deflected by a Miami defender in the penalty area, and Dean quickly pounced on it, lunging and putting a quick shot over MU goalkeeper Izzie Vaccari and just under the crossbar.
BGSU senior goalkeeper LIli Berg had four saves en route to her fourth shutout in the last five matches. Included among that save total were back-to-back stops in the final minute of the first half, including a world-class save on the second one.
After Berg went to the ground to stop a shot by MU’s Makanna Morrison, the rebound fell to Mercedes Schroer in the center of the six-yard box.
Somehow, Berg not only stopped Schroer’s point-blank shot, but the Falcon ‘keeper also quickly grabbed the ball to prevent another rebound.
BGSU has allowed just one goal over the past five matches. Berg and the Falcons now have recorded seven shutouts this season, including four in the last five games.
Berg recorded her sixth complete-match shutout of the season. Berg has been part of 23 shutouts in her 44 career matches.
Miami had a 15-11 advantage in total shot attempts on the night, and the RedHawks had a slim 4-3 lead in shots on goal. BGSU had a 4-3 edge in corner kicks. Six of Miami’s shot attempts came in the final four minutes of the first half.
The Falcons hit the road for the final two regular-season matches, beginning Sunday. BGSU will travel to Ypsilanti to face Eastern Michigan, with first touch scheduled for 1 p.m. at Scicluna Field.
BGSU ends the regular season with a match at Northern Illinois on Thursday. That contest begins at 1 p.m. locally (2 p.m. ET) in DeKalb.