14 Nov Bailey Clark’s OT goal lifts Ashland University women’s soccer to G-MAC Tourney title
ASHLAND — Her head coach wanted her to shoot.
Junior forward Bailey Clark’s unassisted goal in the 99th minute lifted Ashland University’s women’s soccer team to a 2-1 overtime victory over Cedarville in the 2021 fall Great Midwest Athletic Conference Tournament championship game on Saturday at Ferguson Field.
The Eagles are 15-1-3 heading into the NCAA Division II postseason, while the Yellow Jackets are 12-5-2.
“Coach had just kind of yelled at me and said, ‘Hey, are you ever going to shoot?’ ,” said Clark, whose team-leading seventh goal of the fall officially sent the Eagles into the D-II playoffs. “As it went into the back of the net, it was crazy. It was the best feeling ever as a soccer player.”
Said Ashland head coach Cayleb Paulino, “Getting here in August, I didn’t know what to expect. I appreciate the girls and the buy-in of what we’re trying to do here. I think we have something special.
“Bailey had an opportunity to shoot about two minutes before she scored the game-winner, and I looked at her and said, ‘Bailey, you have to shoot it. You’ve got to put it on net.’ We ask players to be big in big moments, and there’s no bigger player than Bailey in that spot.”
Ashland also won the 2021 fall Great Midwest regular-season title, and was an eight-time regular-season champ of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (1997-2004).
Following a scoreless first half, the Eagles dented the scoreboard in the 50th minute, when senior midfielder Hannah Mueller scored her first goal of the season on a feed from Clark and freshman forward McKinley Mendenhall. Clark’s assist was her third of the season, and Mendenhall’s her fourth of the campaign.
In the 74th minute, Mackenzie Northcutt’s long free kick found the back of the AU net to tie the game at 1 – setting up overtime, and Clark’s heroics.
Junior goalkeeper Bri Rogers made five saves in the victory, and is 13-0-1 on the season.
Ashland finished with a 19-8 advantage in shots, and a 4-1 lead in corner kicks.
The NCAA Division II postseason selection show on Monday at 6 p.m. on NCAA.com.
“We’re excited to protect The Ferg,” Clark said of the potential of playing host to a split regional.
This article originally appeared on Ashland Times Gazette: Ashland U women’s soccer beats Cedarville to win G-MAC Tourney title
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