By Blake Moore
ADA — On a wet, late-October afternoon, the No. 23-ranked Ohio Northern women's soccer program dropped its regular season finale 2-1 to Ohio Athletic Conference foe Mount Union on Saturday at Kerscher Stadium.
The Polar Bears move to 13-3-1 overall and 7-1-1 in league play. With their conference record, Northern has claimed the two seed in the 2018 OAC Tournament, a first round bye, and semifinal round hosting rights in their first postseason contest next Thursday. Northern can also claim a share of the OAC Regular Season title with an Otterbein loss Saturday evening when they play Capital at 7 p.m.
Meanwhile, the Purple Raiders improve to 10-6-0 overall and complete their OAC regular season with a 7-2-0 mark.
Prior to Saturday's contest, Ohio Northern honored senior women's soccer student-athletes McKenna Welsh (Westerville/Bishop Hartley), Kelleigh Pier (Mason, Mich.), and Sarah Puntel (Strongsville) as part of the program's annual Senior Day festivities. The trio has helped ONU reach the OAC Tournament all four seasons, capture two OAC Regular Season titles and one OAC Tournament crown, and achieve an impressive .900 win percentage in league play entering Saturday's matchup.
On the pitch, the Purple Raiders would quickly provide the opening strike in just the eighth minute of action. Junior forward Lauren Beech would beat her defender to the endline and slot a pass back to an open Julia Krause who was cutting through the penalty box. Krause would then send home the visitors' first score of the afternoon to give Mount Union a 1-0 advantage they would take to the halftime break.
Following the intermission, Mount Union would find the netting once more as junior forward Maggie O'Donnell would find an open net after an initial shot was deflected by Ohio Northern goalkeeper Meagan Grierson (Miamisburg).
ONU's offensive attack broke through in the 70th minute as Welsh found the scoring column. On the play, the senior would one-time a cross from junior defender Hannah Martin (Mason/Mount Notre Dame) for her eighth score in the 2018 campaign.
With renewed energy following the brace, Ohio Northern increased the offensive pressure down the stretch as they looked for an equalizer. The Polar Bears generated several scoring opportunities late, including a shot that required a diving save by Mount Union netminder Michelle Kissane, but the late rally would fall short.
Sophomore forward Jenna Fuller (Countryside, Ill./Lyons Township) paced the Northern offense with seven shots on the afternoon.
In the contest, Ohio Northern would hold a 27-6 overall shots advantage. Additionally, the Polar Bears earned six corner kick opportunities while the Purple Raiders were blanked in the statistical category.
ONU will break from action until next Thursday, November 1 when they host a semifinal round matchup in the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament at Kerscher Stadium. A time and an opponent will be determined at a later date as the team awaits the completion of the quarterfinal rounds on Tuesday evening.