On Sunday afternoon, March 26, the Rams (1-8) lost a road contest in Tiffin, Ohio, to the Dragons (4-3) of Tiffin University. The Dragons won the game easily, with a 15-5 score.
Early on, the Rams were able to tame the Dragons. In the first 17 minutes of action, they were tied with the Dragons, thanks to goals by senior midfielder Courtney Schwiegerath and freshman attacker Lillian Funke.
However, the Dragons would find gaping holes in the Rams’ defense the rest of the game, as they finished the half on a 5-0 run and a 13-3 run overall.
Midfielder Elle MacMillan scored two of the goals during this 5-0 run, both of them unassisted. She finished with three for the game, as the Rams could not seem to contain her.
MacMillan did not have to put the team on her back, however, because this was truly a group effort. Midfielders Morgan Sherley and Amie Morrison, and attacker Maddy Batley all had two goals apiece, while midfielder/attacker Tori Nelson contributed another three goals.
It was clear that the Rams’ defense was overwhelmed and outmatched, because the Dragons got off shot after shot, finishing with 34 for the game compared to the Rams’ 15. While 12 of the Rams’ shots were on goal, junior goalkeeper Casey Hickman was bombarded all day long, with 24 of the Dragons’ shots being on goal.
Allowing 14 free-position shots did not look good for the Rams’ defense either, as their litany of mistakes kept piling up.
Junior midfielder Sarah Wendt scored an unassisted goal in the second half, followed less than a minute later by another goal scored by senior midfielder Haley Price. Schwiegerath assisted Price’s goal to cut the lead to 8-4 with 25 minutes left, but then it was all Dragons to close out the game.
During the last 25 minutes, the Dragons dominated the Rams, winning 7-1. In each half, the Rams got off to a good start, but simply could not continue to execute when they needed it the most.
Price would add another late goal to make the score look better than it actually was.
Hickman had nine saves in goal for the Rams, while Kat Schneeberger recorded seven saves for the Dragons.
The Dragons won the turnover battle (among mostly every other category), turning it over 17 times, while the Rams turned it over 23 times. Winning the ground ball battle 18-13 allowed the Dragons to get on fast breaks and push the ball to tire the Rams’ defense. Also, the Dragons had a 13-9 edge in draw controls, controlling the pace of the game.
Falling behind after the relatively good start, the Rams could not find a way to keep pace with the Dragons. Regardless of what they tried, the Dragons just proved to be the better team in every way, shape, and form.
With a 1-8 record, the Rams certainly have room to improve.
The Rams will try to get back on the right track with a road win Monday afternoon, when they play Findlay (Ohio) at 3 p.m.
Anthony Bracken is the Sports Editor of The Picket. He can be reached at email@example.com