Updated Wed, Aug 31, 2011 10:56 am
In a game with precious few scoring chances, the first goal is incredibly important.
If that first goal is the only goal, however, it's everything.
Ohio needed only a Louzeth Schutte tally with 7:44 to go in the first half to beat visiting Richmond 1-0 at Pruitt Field. The Lady 'Cats improve to 2-0 in the young season after an opening 7-0 win over St. Francis (PA) on Friday.
The pace picked up late in the second half, as both teams won a handful of corners, but Richmond (1-1) couldn't put a shot into the Ohio net. Both teams had more shots and corners in the second half than they did in the first, but Schutte's goal - off an Ohio corner and assisted by Jessica Jue and Laura Mastro - was the difference.
"I just got to the spot that I normally go to, and it was wide open," Schutte said. "The keeper didn't lay down so it was lucky to have an open shot."
"It was exactly what we wanted," head coach Neil Macmillan said. "It's a basic play which we work through hundreds of times in practice. The keeper gave us that much space, and it was very easy for Lo (Schutte) to put it in."
Schutte's goal was the first shot of the game for Ohio. Richmond won the shot category 9-7, but the Spiders had few true scoring opportunities.
In the second half, Richmond pushed hard, recording five shots and winning four penalty corners, but Ohio held strong, and goaltender Jen McGill made three saves for her second consecutive shutout.
Richmond, a member of the Atlantic-10, offered a much better challenge to Ohio than St. Francis (PA) did in the season opener two days prior, but the 'Cats responded well, especially on defense.
"It was a good, hard fight today," Macmillan said. "I think our team did a great job trying to stick to our game plan. We had a lot of things taken away from us by Richmond, they're a good side. In the second half we played a much better game."
"Richmond's always a really competitve team," Schutte said. "It's always 50-50."
Ohio's biggest test of the season comes next, when the Lady 'Cats travel up U.S. Route 33 to play Ohio State - the nation's sixth-ranked team. Last year, the Buckeyes beat Ohio 2-1 in overtime in Athens, and pose a great early-season match-up for Macmillan's squad.
"They're very good skillfully, they move the ball around very well," Macmillan said. "That will be our major challenge, and I think we worked toward that today with working on our press and working on our backfield, so I think will be good."
"They're a really good team, and we always get really excited to play them," Schutte said. "It's always fun to play a top team and try to knock them off."
The game against Ohio State is the first of a five-game road trip for Ohio. The women return home September 18 to play Indiana.