Ohio Dominican was officially accepted as a member of NCAA Division II on July 8, 2011, and the athletic programs took another big step forward in the 2011-12 year. OhioDominicanPanthers.com is counting down the top 12 moments from the past year.
No. 12 - Football Knocks Off Regionally Ranked Foes to Cap Season (June 4)
No. 11 - Women's Golf Scores Win at Qdoba Invite (June 5)
No. 10 – Home Cooking for ODU Softball Team (June 6)
No. 9 - GLIAC Preview Title Highlights Men's Golf Campaign (June 7)
No. 8 – Panthers Stun Grand Valley with 41-8 Run (June 8)
No. 7 – Men's Tennis Wins Out to Earn GLIAC Tourney Bid (June 11)
No. 6 – Men's Soccer Takes Down No. 18 Ashland (June 12)
No. 5 – First Meet, First Title for Men's Track Team (June 13)
No. 4 – Milestone Victories for Baseball, Softball Programs (June 14)
No. 3 – Fantastic Fourth Quarter Leads to Upset (June 15)
No. 2 – Historic Victory for Men's Hoops at Southern Illinois (June 18)
No. 1 – Women's Soccer Claims GLIAC South Crown
The move from the NAIA ranks to Division II and membership in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, arguably the most competitive in the country, represented another step forward in the development of Ohio Dominican athletics.
ODU's student-athletes and coaches witnessed how rugged the league was in all sports during the 2010-11 season – the Panthers' provisional year of membership – and went into the 2011-12 campaign ready to challenge the conference's best.
The women's soccer program, which has known nothing but success since it began in 2000, had a solid 11-4-3 record in 2010, but scuffled to a 2-5-2 start to the 2011 season with national powerhouse Grand Valley – ranked fifth in the country and riding a 25-match unbeaten streak – looming on the schedule.
Even though ODU wound up falling to the Lakers, the 1-0 decision at Panther Field served as a wake-up call for the team that they could play with anyone in the country.
Following the GVSU setback, the Panthers embarked on perhaps the best eight-match stretch in school history, starting with a pair of 3-0 non-conference wins at home over Mercyhurst and Cedarville. ODU then went on the road to take a 2-0 win at GLIAC foe Tiffin, notched a 1-0 home win over Findlay on a game-winner by Megan Augusta and another 1-0 home victory – in overtime – against Ashland. Sierra Patterson drilled the game-winner in overtime that put the Panthers in first place in the GLIAC South Division.
Notice a theme? ODU's defense, spearheaded by the play of goalkeeper Laura Clark, was impeccable during this stretch, and continued its scoreless streak with a 5-0 victory over Lake Erie, the Panthers' sixth straight shutout victory.
The Panthers finally yielded a goal against Saginaw Valley to end the shutout streak at 671 minutes, the 24th-best stretch in Division II history, but ODU scored twice in the second half as Jennifer Holton hit what proved to be the game-winner in the 83rd minute.
That set up the Panthers for their regular season finale, a road contest at Northwood, in which ODU needed at least a draw to clinch the South Division crown. Ohio Dominican left nothing to chance, dominating the second half with three goals in a 4-0 victory, bringing the first GLIAC trophy of any kind to Columbus.
Overall, the Panthers won their final eight matches of the regular season by a combined tally of 21-1 and earned the second overall seed in the conference tournament. A disappointing overtime setback in the semifinals concluded ODU's season, but it was still one to remember for a program that has now recorded eight consecutive winning years.
Contact: Scott Miles