The Cardinals' fall season continues after both soccer teams and the volleyball team won on Thursday night, advancing them to the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) Tournament finals.
At 4 p.m., the No. 3-seed women's soccer team began their semifinal match at No.2-seed Capital University. Bernlohr Stadium did not treat Otterbein well in their 0-2 loss on November 2, and Crusaders senior defender Allyssa Kimbler continued the Cardinals' struggles in Bexley with a goal in the 25th minute.
Otterbein's offense managed only five shots in the first half, but their heightened attack of 16 shots in the second half was led by junior forward Emily Ganz's eighth and ninth goals of the season. Since the scoring concluded in the 58th minute with Ganz's second goal of the match, the Cardinals are headed to Ada, Ohio, on Saturday to play No. 1-seed Ohio Northern at 5 p.m.
In front of Otterbein's home crowd, senior forward Kennedy Mensah's goal in the 100th minute broke the men's soccer team's defensive deadlock against No. 5-seed Mount Union, whose 0.67 goals-against average ranked second in the conference entering Thursday's semifinal contest. Mensah played aggressively upfront, even after receiving a yellow card in the 12th minute.
The other OAC Men's Soccer Tournament finalist is No. 1 seed John Carroll, who possess a top-10 national ranking, the conference's top defense, and home-field advantage going into Saturday's 7 p.m. game against the No. 2-seed Cardinals.
Thanks to an upset in straight sets over the nationally-ranked No. 2-seed Muskingum, the Otterbein volleyball team is joining the women's soccer team in playing a top-seeded Ohio Northern in Ada on Saturday at a time to be determined.
Freshman setter Carlie Craycraft evenly distributed chances to junior outside hitter/middle blocker Emily Shuk, who led the team with nine kills, and to three other Cardinals who ended with seven kills each. Set scores of 25-21, 25-15, and 25-19 ended Muskingum's 13-match win streak.
These three Otterbein teams can earn an automatic bid to their sport's NCAA Division III tournament by winning the conference tournament on Saturday.