ATHENS, Ohio – The Ohio field hockey team (2-8, 0-2 MAC) is set to continue the 2017 season on the road on Saturday when the Bobcats compete with MAC opponent Central Michigan (0-9, 0-1 MAC) in Mount Pleasant, Mich. at 1 p.m.
REWINDING LAST WEEK
The Bobcats split the weekend during the fifth weekend of the 2017 season, dropping the first game 3-2 to conference-newcomer Appalachian State on Friday (Sept. 22) followed by an exciting 2-1 win over Davidson on Sunday (Sept. 24).
Alex Pennington (Easton, Pa.) finished the weekend with eight saves. The junior recorded three saves in the match with the Mountaineers, facing six shots on the day. In game two of the weekend, Pennington added five saves on six shots faced.
The Bobcats would record 21 shots on the weekend. The Bobcats would win the shot battle with13 shots on the game compared to Appalachian State's seven on the day. Davidson would win the shot battle with nine shots on the game compared to eight shots from Ohio in the Bobcats' win.
Kendall Ballard (Charlottesville, Va.) was named Mid-American Conference Offensive Player of the Week, as announced by the league office on Tuesday (Sept. 26). Ballard's nomination is the first weekly honor for the junior and first MAC Offensive Player of the Week recognition in 2017 for Ohio.
Ballard led Ohio team to a 2-1 victory over Davidson. Ballard would score her first goal on a penalty stroke opportunity, striking the back of the box to tie up the game at 1-1 with the Wildcats at the conclusion of the first half. Ballard would strike again in the 45th minute after multiple corner attempts by the Bobcats to solidify the win for Ohio. Ballard recorded 11 shots on the weekend, three of which were on goal. Not only did Ballard record both goals for Ohio on Sunday, the junior also dished out an assist to teammate Emma Spinetto (Houston, Tex.) in Ohio's match against Appalachian State on Friday (Sept. 22).
Ballard currently ranks 34th in goals per game in the NCAA. She also currently ranks fourth in the MAC in shots and fifth in shots per game with 29 and 2.90 respectively. Ballard is also tied for third in goals and ranks fourth in goals per game with 7 seven and .70 respectively. The junior is currently tied for second in game-winning goals with two on the season.
MACMILLAN RETURNS FOR 13TH SEASON
Neil Macmillan is at the helm for his 13th season at Ohio. The Portsmouth, England, native sports an all-time record of 130-121 and has led the Bobcats to four MAC titles, 2006, '07, '09 and '11, during his tenure. He is the longest-tenured head coach in Mid-American Conference field hockey and notched his name in the record books as the all-time winningest coach in Ohio field hockey history last season.
The Bobcats return junior Kendall Ballard (Charlottesville, Va.), who earned First Team All-Mid-American Conference and Second Team All-Region honors while she also earned a spot on the U.S. U-21 National Team with USA Field Hockey. She led the Bobcats with a career-high 12 goals, 28 points, 55 shots and 31 shots on goal. Ballard also finished tied for second on the squad in assists (4), which was also a career-high. Ballard finished in the top-10 in the Mid-American Conference in shots (9th), points (5th), goals (5th) and assists (10th) during the 2016 season.
Senior Maria Russell (Hudson, Ohio) also returns to the Bobcat lineup for 2017. She received Second Team All-MAC recognition following the 2016 season. Russell finished in a tie for second on Ohio with six goals and was second on the squad in shots on goal with 15. Russell also ranked third on the team in shots (21) and points (14) while adding two assists to bring her career total to three. Russell now has 20 career goals to start her senior season.
Ohio's 2016 roster features six new players,-- Claire Buckey(Powell, Ohio), Peyton Taylor (Catonsville, Md.), Emma Spinnetto(Louisville, Ky.), Samara Schratz (McMurray, Pa.), Annmarie Hoppel (Fredricksburg, Va.) and Leah Warren(Hamilton, New Zeland).
BOBCATS PICKED TO FINISH FOURTH IN MAC PRESEASON POLL
The Ohio field hockey team has been picked to place fourth in the league standings in the 2017 Mid-American Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll, as voted on by the conference's head coaches, the league office announced.
The Bobcats received 19 points to tie with Ball State to finish fourth in the poll.
Defending league champion Kent State was picked to win the MAC by way of 41 points – including six first-place votes. The Golden Flashes were also picked to win the conference's tournament championship. Miami garnered 35 points to place second in the poll and also received one first-place vote. Longwood would fall in the third spot with 25 points.
Appalachian State and Central Michigan each tied for sixth place with four points each to round out the poll.
CENTRAL MICHIGAN SCOUTING REPORT
The Chippewas are currently 0-9 and 0-1 in the MAC and are coming off of a 0-2 week, suffering a 4-0 conference loss to Longwood on Saturday (Sept. 23) and a 2-0 loss to VCU on Sunday (Sept. 24). The Bobcats lead the series with Central Michigan 41-25 with last year's contest going to Ohio in an exciting 4-3 overtime win in Athens, Ohio. The Bobcats would dominate the box score, leading in penalty corners (12-4) and shots (17-14). Eggleston, Kho, Keen and Russell would each add a goal for Ohio in the contest. Pennington would record eight saves on the game on 11 shots faced.
After the weekend on the road, Ohio will return home to continue the conference portion of the 2017 schedule, hosting Longwood for a Friday matchup during homecoming weekend. The match is set to begin at 5 p.m. at Pruitt Field.