Cincinnati, OH -- Cincinnati scored two goals in less than three minutes early in the second half to lead the Bearcats to a victory over cross-town rival Xavier Tuesday, 3-1. Tasha Wagner, Lisa Stephens, and Renee Balconi net goals for the Bearcats.
Xavier took a 1-0 lead with10 seconds left in the first half, when senior Lindsay Yonadi headed a loose ball to junior Lauren Giesting, who sent it past Sophomore goalkeeper Sherry Slye (Cincinnati, OH/ Roger Bacon).
“It is a great lesson,” head coach Meridy Glenn said of the first half. “Good teams are going to score, and Xavier is a good team.”
Rain began to fall at halftime, but the teams were undaunted, and came out strong in the second half. Lisa Stephens (Union, MO/Union) took a short pass from Tasha Wagner (Middletown, OH/Middletown) a little over nine minutes into the second half, and blasted it down the center of the goal past the keeper, tying the game, at 1-1.
“I think Tasha and Lisa will connect a lot more in the coming games,” Glenn added. “Anytime you can score and run a play like that, you feel like you’ve created something.”
And create something they did. Xavier was called for a personal foul three minutes following the UC goal, giving the Bearcats a direct kick. Wagner capitalized, sending a rocket past the wall, and into the right corner of the goal, putting UC up 2-1, a lead the Bearcats would never relinquish.
“Our seniors have never lost to Xavier, so we knew we weren’t going to lose this time,” Wagner said. “I saw them setting up, and I just said I’m going to drill it at the wall, and they are going to turn or do something. That’s exactly what they did – they jumped.”
Junior Renee Balconi (Westerville, OH/Westerville North) took advantage of a corner kick by Wagner with just over six minutes left in the game, heading it past Andrea Garber for the final Bearcat goal, sealing the victory.
“Renee lives for those days when she can head a goal in like that,” Glenn said of Balconi’s goal. “I think we did a nice job of penetrating and playing more aggressively.”
The game was as much a defensive story as it was offensive. Both defenses made some great plays, keeping dangerous balls away from the net. Under the guidance and experience of senior Kristina Wilson (Cincinnati, OH/Glen Este) the UC backfield is becoming an organized threat.
“It was a real learning experience today,” Wilson said. “The young players, especially, are stepping into big roles, and that was unexpected.”
The Bearcats are back in action this Friday, September 5 at home against Central Michigan beginning at 6 p.m. UC will then travel to Oxford on Sunday, September 7, to take on Miami at 1 p.m.