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Women's Soccer - Sat, Oct. 7, 2017
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(Oct. 7, 2017 - Howell, Mich.) -- Entering play today, the Cleary women's soccer team knew that every game is a must-win game if they want to make the USCAA National Tournament. Needing to win out to finish .500 for the year, the Cougars took another step forward with a 1-0 victory over Lake Michigan College.

Alexa Haraburda (Fr. - St. Clair Shores, Mich.) secured a loose ball just short of midfield and drove the ball into the upper left corner 33 minutes into the game to put Cleary up 1-0. 

That score would remain throughout the duration as the Cougars stifled the Red Hawks offensively and despite peppering the Lake Michigan keeper, couldn't score a second goal. 

With the win, Cleary picks up their third straight victory to improve to 3-7-0 on the season with four games remaining. Saturday's game was interesting in that it was critical for the Cougars chances to play in the postseason as it was a countable match as far as USCAA rules are concerned, but is considered a scrimmage as far as Cleary's membership in the NAIA.

Lake Michigan College is a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association - a national governing body for two-year schools - which is recognized by the USCAA but pursuant to NAIA rules, any game against a two-year school is considered a scrimmage.

Nonetheless, the present is what matters most and the win was key for Cleary. The Cougars have two matches against Grace Bible College, a team Cleary has never lost to in six previous meetings, one at Andrews University, who also has never beaten the Cougars, and the season finale against Cincinnati-Clermont, which will be the first-ever matchup.

Despite being 6-0 against Grace Bible, neither game is a sure thing as the last four meetings have been decided by two goals or less. While Andrews hasn't posed as much of a threat, they cannot be overlooked, and Cincinnati-Clermont will be a tough opponent as well as they are currently 5-4-1 and ranked #18 in the USCAA national poll.