On a beautiful Sunday night for soccer, Amber Kern’s 70th minute penalty propelled Columbus Eagles FC to a 2-1 win over Ohio Dominican University. The win closes out an undefeated preseason for Columbus, which also beat Ohio Wesleyan University on April 7. The team will take a few weeks off before starting WPSL play on May 12 against AAFC Lumberjills of Ann Arbor, Mich.
Kern’s penalty came in the middle of a physical, action-packed second half of play. The Eagles and Panthers traded a few scoring opportunities in the first half but neither team scored. Columbus came out flying in the second half, and the Eagles were rewarded for superb play with a 53rd minute goal by Rachel MacLeod off a feed from Lisa Nouanesengsy. Ashley Gogolin started the move forward with a slick through-ball to Nouanesengsy, who set up MacLeod for her second goal of the preseason.
A few minutes after Samantha Buck’s long-range effort beat Columbus goalkeeper Madi Moore to even the score at 1, the Eagles drew a penalty. A cross into the box bounced over the head of Eagles midfielder Christy Zwolski, who was fouled from behind. The referee blew his whistle and signaled for a penalty – even though Alexa Cheripko scored moments after the whistle blew – and Kern stepped up to take it. The Eagles’ captain cooly slotted it home to give Columbus a 2-1 win.
First-year Eagles midfielders Gogolin and Micaela Powers were terrific throughout for Columbus, which is unbeaten in preseason matches dating back to 2016. The team was playing without 2017 WPSL All-Stars Kelly DeNiro (unavailable) and Dani Gunderson (hamstring injury), who expect to return for the club’s WPSL opener May 12.Â The Eagles lost starting center back Deidre Abouahmed to a knee injury midway through the first half – her prognosis is unclear at the moment.
ODU’s Becca Gordon missed a penalty in the second half that would have leveled the match. For Columbus in net, Moore and Jenna Villacres were stellar again, holding a talented Panthers side to only a few shots on net for the whole contest.
The Eagles return to action May 12 at Otterbein University against AAFC Lumberjills of Ann Arbor, Mich. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. on that Saturday afternoon. Admission is $10 and is included with any CEFC membership.