Jackson held on for a 1-0 victory over Notre Dame.
Control possession and you can control the game.
That was the lesson of Thursday's soccer game between Jackson and Notre Dame, as the visiting Indians dominated possession in the opening half and used an early goal to shut out the Bulldogs 1-0.
"I thought our girls played phenomenal tonight," Jackson coach Zack Walton. "It was a great team win. They played well together, they communicated. I was proud of the girls. I thought we had the majority of the possession in the game."
Notre Dame (9-4-1) seemed to be in a lull much of the opening half. The Bulldogs had trouble connecting on passes, were caught standing still and often were stuck in chase mode.
Despite controlling possession, Jackson (10-5-2) did not have many scoring chances to show for it. But it only takes one goal to win, and the Indians were able to cash in 15 minutes into the opening half.
Jackson freshman Katelyn Myracle played a cross into the box, which was deflected by Lauren Drewett. The goal was the 12th of the season for Drewett.
"We just took it down to the endline and played a good ball in," Walton said. "When you're in close to the keeper, any redirection can cause havoc."
With the lead, the Indians continued to pressure Notre Dame, not letting the Bulldogs even sniff a scoring chance. Jackson goalie Kylie Werner hardly even touched the ball the opening half.
"Our touches weren't very good," Notre Dame coach Jeff Worley said. "We had trouble getting the ball. We had trouble with our passes, and Jackson smelled that. They put more pressure on us, and it kind of snowballed.
"Today was one of those lessons. Not every play is going to be the way you want it to be, but you have to stay with it. If we don't keep attacking a team like them, they will be relentless in attacking you."
After a halftime discussion, the Bulldogs seemed to be rejuvenated. Notre Dame's passing became more crisp, and it was not long before the Bulldogs would get their chance.
Notre Dame had an opportunity to tie the game 7 minutes into the second half. A deflection headed for the back of the net off a corner kick was cleared off the goal line by a Jackson defender.
"You're not going to get a lot of chances to score when you have these two teams going against each other," Worley said. "We got the kind of chances you're going to expect to get against a good team. Goals are hard to come by in these games. We were close."
Jackson's defense limited the Bulldogs to just a few shots on goal. Werner picked up her seventh shutout of the season.
"Notre Dame's a good counter-attacking team," Walton said. "They have some good speed on top. I thought our defenders stepped up tonight and played one of their best defensive games they've played all year.
"We put a lot of pride into our defense. That's something that doesn't get a lot of recognition, but we couldn't win a lot of games without our defense."