By Tim Glon
WESTERVILLE — No. 20-ranked Ohio Northern scored twice in a 3:18 span early in the second half and held on for a 2-1 victory at No. 17 Otterbein in a battle for the Ohio Athletic Conference Regular Season title on a rainy Wednesday evening at Memorial Stadium.
With the victory, the Polar Bears (14-2-2 overall, 8-0-0 OAC) clinched at least a share of the OAC Regular Season crown and will be the No. 1 seed in next week's OAC Tournament.
The Cardinals fall to 14-2-1, 7-1-0.
Otterbein controlled much of the scoreless first half, out-shooting Ohio Northern 7-1 as a steady rain fell on the artificial surface of Memorial Stadium.
The Cardinals scored just 3:50 into the second half when Priscilla Severance headed in a cross from Myian Kelley.
Senior Rose Nienaber (Cincinnati/Oak Hills) evened the match at 1-1 with a penalty kick goal with 35:29 left in the match.
Nienaber then fed junior Jenna Fuller (Countryside, Ill./Lyons Township) for a breakaway goal with 32:11 remaining to give the Polar Bears a 2-1 advantage.
"Otterbein pinned us in in the first half and we were not really able to generate much offensively," ONU head coach Mark Batman said. "After Otterbein scored, I think it gave us to more of a sense of urgency to move forward and we were very good for the next 10 minutes or so. Fuller's goal was a great finish off a beautiful pass.
"Once we got the lead, we were able to be strong in the back again and we held off their pressure. Otterbein is a very good team and it was nice to get a win on a difficult night."
Otterbein out-shot Ohio Northern 22-5 and held a 61-39 percent possession advantage.
Senior Meagan Grierson (Dayton/Miamisburg) had eight saves to record the victory.
The Polar Bears will wrap up their regular season schedule on Saturday with a 7 pm match at Mount Union.