Vento’s OT Winner Keeps Vikings Unbeaten in HL Play

Vento’s OT Winner Keeps Vikings Unbeaten in HL Play

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Senior McKenna Vento scored her first-career overtime goal to lift the Cleveland State University women's soccer team to a 1-0 victory over visiting UIC on a sunny and cool Saturday afternoon at Krenzler Field.

Vento's team-leading fifth goal, a new career high, came on the first shot of overtime off a nicely weighted ball by classmate Ashley Thiss. With the win, the Vikings are unbeaten in their opening four matches in Horizon League play for the first time in program history.

Cleveland State put out the same starting lineup as it did in its midweek win at Youngstown State, with nine Vikings going on to play the entire match.

Vento was involved in some of CSU's best chances in the opening half. In the seventh minute, she turned a defender in the offensive third and dribbled toward goal before her shot from outside the box went wide.

Vento and senior Sarah Krause both had decent looks pushed away by the goalkeeper in the 31st 43rd minutes, respectively. Sophomore Stevie Holbrook made a pair of comfortable saves in the opening half.

Cleveland State successfully dealt with four UIC corner kicks in the opening 17 minutes of the second half.

One of the Flames' better chances of the match came in the 64th minute when a deflected clearance fell to a UIC player near the top of the box, but her low shot was pulled just wide of frame. That proved to be UIC's final shot of the match.

Freshman Ja'Maya Ward was involved in some of CSU's better offensive moments in the final 25 minutes. In the 69th minute, Ward picked up a loose ball and drove into the box but her effort to sneak a shot in at the near post was covered.

Ward drew a foul in the 83rd minute just outside the box, but Vento's subsequent free kick was a little high.

With it looking increasingly possible that the Vikings, despite a stout defensive effort, would be forced to settle for a tie, two seniors stepped up early on in overtime. Thiss collected a second ball off a throw-in and played a low through ball into the box. Vento ran on to it, and with the keeper coming out, slotted a shot inside the far post to send the CSU bench into jubilation.

Vento takes over the team lead with 11 points. She moved into the top five in career points at CSU (33) and into sole possession of seventh in career goals (11).

Thiss' assist was her first point of the season. Holbrook collected her fourth shutout with assistance from defenders Megan Bine, Essence Canady and Briana Niedermeier.

Cleveland State, which had a 10-3 advantage in shots for the match, is in second place in the League with 10 points.

Cleveland State won its second game in overtime this season and is now 6-2-1 in its last nine regular-season matches that have gone to overtime.

The Vikings will continue a three-match homestand next Saturday, Oct. 6, by welcoming Green Bay.