Central Michigan Holds Off Western Michigan, 3-1

Updated 11/7/2010

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MAC Women's Soccer Championship
Central Michigan 3, Western Michigan 1

Game story courtesy of Central Michigan Media Relations

Central Michigan 3, Western Michigan 1
TOLEDO, Ohio - Sophomore Ashley Mejilla scored a goal in the 89th minute to clinch Central Michigan's second-straight Mid-American Conference tournament championship match over Western Michigan. 

With the 3-1 win, the Chippewas (16-4-1) earned their second-straight NCAA Tournmant berth. The Broncos end the season at 10-7-5. 

"Give credit and a lot of respect to Western Michigan's staff and their players," head coach Tom Anagnost said. "They were very difficult to play against today. In the second half, they were very, very good. We've been pretty resilient all year and I think we showed that resilience throughout the game."

Both teams played even the first 36 minutes of the match before the Chippewas  found the net for the first time in the 37th minute on sophomore Laura Twidle's team-leading eighth goal of the season. Junior forward Chelsi Abbot beat a defender to the middle of the field, crossing a pass to Twidle, who headed her shot past the Broncos' goalkeeper Julia Francy for a 1-0 CMU lead. 

Just six minutes later, the Maroon and Gold would pad their lead with a goal by Charlese McLemore. The second-year player gathered the ball in the box amidst a trio of Bronco players only to attempt a shot that just crossed the goal line before Francy knocked it away. The referees awarded McLemore the goal, her fourth of the season. 

The Chippewas maintained control of the first half, out shooting the Broncos 10-4 and gathering a 3-0 advantage in corner kicks. 

Abbott and Twidle nearly both added second half goals right at the beginning of the second half. Abbott fired a shot just 45 seconds into the second half, missing wide of the left goalpost. Just a minute and a half later, Twidle's shot just sailed over the crossbar and the tied remained 2-0 CMU. 

The Broncos cut the lead to one at the 67 minute mark of the match when Nicole Dulyea scored on an assist from Brittney Pavlica. Pavlica found Dulyea, who fired a shot just inside the 18-yard box into the far post. 

The league's leading defense then went to work, maintaing a 2-1 Chippewa lead while facing a series of shots by an all-out attack Bronco offense. In the 78th minute, Western's Alison Szcypka's shot from the left side of the pitch found it's way through the CMU defense only to hit the left post. Senior goalkeeper Shay Mannino corralled the ball and the Chippewas maintained their 2-1 lead. 

The dagger to the Broncos came in the 89th minute on Mejilla's fifth goal of the season. After a clear by sophomore Katie Slaughter, Mejilla touched the ball over a WMU defender and found herself one-on-one with Francy. Mejilla dribbled right and fired a shot just inside the left post, securing the win and sending the Chippewas to the NCAA tournament for the second straight year .

The Chippewas are the first team to win back-to-back regular season and conference tournament championships since 1997-98 when Northern Illinois accomplished the feat. 

Mejilla, Twidle, freshman Kaely Schlosser and junior Claire Horton each earned all-tournament honors. 

Mannino made three saves while allowing the one WMU goal to improve her record to 13-1-2 on the season.

2010 MAC All-Tournament Team
Jess Kodiak, Miami
Julie Thompson, Miami
Erin Flynn, Toledo
Natalia Gaitàn, Toledo
Nicole Dulyea, Western Michigan
Julia Francy, Western Michigan
Anina Cicerone, Western Michigan
Laura Twidle, Central Michigan
Kaely Schlosser, Central Michigan
Ashley Mejilla, Central Michigan
Claire Horton, Central Michigan