CLINTON, Iowa - The Ashford University women's soccer team overcame a sluggish first half to remain unbeaten in MCC play, knocking off the Viterbo V-Hawks on Saturday night in overtime, 2-1.
The Saints (8-3-1, 5-0 MCC) were outplayed in the first half by the V-Hawks (4-8-2, 1-3-1 MCC), but were able to get their game together in the second half to come out on top. For the team, it was all about wanting to win more than their opponent in the second half.
"It was all about desire," Saints Head Coach Mick Regan said. "We weren't fighting for loose balls, instead waiting for them to come to us. Fortunately, we were able to turn that around in the second half, and that was the biggest reason for the turnaround."
The Saints fell behind the V-Hawks in the 11th minute, when forward Steph Wisen was able to get in behind the Ashford defense on a feed from Breann Burry and beat Saints keeper Jerika Castillo from just inside the box to give Viterbo the 1-0 lead.
However, once the second half started, the Saints looked like a completely different team.
Ashford nodded up the game in the 49th minute, when junior and Calgary, Alberta native Chelsea Fisher got up for a centering feed from senior Stephanie Spencer and converted on a header to even the score.
From there, the Saints controlled the play for the majority of the second half, but were unable to convert, despite numerous quality chances.
"We felt we had the winner coming in the second half," Regan said. "We weren't able to get one in, but we felt good about how we played heading in to overtime."
The extra effort did pay off in overtime, when junior forward Michele Safatle of Sao Paulo, Brazil jumped in on a centering pass from senior Cate Sarrazin and hammered a shot past V-Hawks keeper Carley Esser for her third of the season and the game winner.
Regan added afterwards that in order for the Saints to continue their recent hot streak, contributions from everyone need to continue.
"It was great to see Michele get that goal," Regan said. "Hollie (Babut) and Chelsea are our two top scorers, but to see someone else step up and take some pressure off of them is very encouraging for us going forward."
Castillo finished the game with six saves to improve to 8-3-1 on the season. Esser finished the game with four saves in defeat.
The MCC-leading Saints will look to distance themselves from their competition on Wednesday, when they host arch-rival St. Ambrose at 5:00 p.m.