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September 18, 2013

MU gains key regional win

NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – The first of three meetings against Ohio Athletic Conference opposition resulted in what Manchester University head coach Andy Stout called a "good team win."

MU, stopping a two-match losing skid, took a 2-1 win over Heidelberg on its home Spartan Field. The Black and Gold, improving to 4-3-1, out-shot the Student Princes (1-4-1) 15-8.

That steady dose of offensive pressure from the Spartans finally resulted in a pair of goals less than 10 minutes from the end of regulation. Taking advantage of a counterattack after Heidelberg (1-4-1) had a shot try knocked away, sophomore forward Brandy Crouse (Cleves, Ohio) and junior midfielder Katelyn Barta (Griffith, Ind.) worked a nifty two-on-one down the left side of the field with Crouse finishing for a 1-0 lead in the 80th minute. The duo came back just over seven minutes later with a long shot from Crouse finding its way into the box and Barta depositing it just past the out-stretched arms of Student Prine goalkeeper Molly Schriber for the eventual game-winning strike.

Heidelberg battled its hosts to the end, though. A free kick from freshman midfielder Alexandra Sivec, after a Manchester University foul, curled just over the hands of junior goalkeeper Emily Willmann (Montpelier, Ind.) to make the count 2-1 with less than three minutes to play.  The visitors made another rush up the field in the final minute, but the Spartans stopped it, sending the ball into the other end.

"We wanted to make sure we got more to the outside in the second half," head coach Andy Stout said. "Heidelberg's defense did a good job taking that away in the first half. Once we managed to move better on the edges, things started to work for us.

"The focus remains on our team getting as strong as it can going into Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play," he added. "We have two big road trips ahead (to Otterbein and Wilmington) to wrap up non-conference play in which we will work towards that."

Barta and junior forward Breanna McLane (Westville, Ind.) shared the overall shots lead with four each. Crouse and freshman defender Emily Anderson (Ann Arbor, Mich.) also had multiple cracks at Heidelberg's defense with two shots each. Willmann finished up with four saves en route to the victory.

Manchester University continues the 2013 campaign Saturday, Sept. 21, with a 3:30 p.m. kickoff at Otterbein College's Clements Field. Live statistics for the Spartans-Cardinals clash can be accessed at www.muspartans.com, the Internet home of Manchester University athletics.