Nov. 15, 2009

Courtesy Otterbein Athletics

WESTERVILLE, OHIO – Otterbein, ranked ninth in the nation, used a first-half goal from junior forward Lindsey Rudibaugh and played to a 1-0 victory over Denison Sunday afternoon in the second round of the NCAA Division III women’s soccer championship.

Lindsey Rudibaugh notched the deciding goal to propel OC to the Sweet 16.
The Cardinals, who will make their second trip to the NCAA sectionals in as many years, upstaged Denison in last year’s second round as well.

Denison put pressure on the Cards early, as Otterbein goalkeeper Tara Carter was forced to stop a pair of Kate Henderson shots in the ninth and 11th minutes.

The Cardinals saw a chance on a free kick from the top left corner of the box in the 20th minute, but a bending shot from Rudibaugh went right into the hands of Denison keeper Courtney Cobb.

In the 32nd minute, OC ‘s Jenny Knox attempted a shot in the box off a Cardinal corner kick, only to see it blocked by a Denison player.

As the ball deflected and was rolling around near the middle of a clustered box, Rudibaugh got a hold of it and rocketed the ball into the right side of the net for the score.

The play, similar to Rudibaugh’s game-tying goal against Capital in the regular season finale, allowed Otterbein to take a 1-0 lead into the half.

The Big Red scrapped to find an opportunity in the second half, but the Cardinals held their ground to preserve the victory.

By holding Denison scoreless, the team recorded its 18th shutout of the season, a mark that leads the country.

Senior co-captain Carly Dent rejoices after the final horn sounds.
The win moves Otterbein to 20-1-1 on the year while Denison ends its season with a 16-4-2 mark.

With the victory, Otterbein ties a school and Ohio Athletic Conference record for wins in a single season, tying the output of the 2005 Otterbein squad that went 20-1-1 and lost to Denison in penalty kicks in the Sweet 16.

Carter made three saves in the game for Otterbein while Cobb stopped five for Denison.

OC held a slim 9-8 shot advantage and attempted six corner kicks compared to just two for the Big Red.

Otterbein now advances to the Round of 16 to take on the winner of Messiah and Endicott, who play later this evening at 6:30 p.m.

The Cardinals fell 1-0 to Amherst (MA) in the Sweet 16 a year ago.