ATHENS, Ohio – The Ohio field hockey team (3-10, 1-3 MAC) is set to close out the home portion of the 2017 season on Thursday (Oct. 12) when the Bobcats host MAC opponent Ball State (4-8, 0-1 MAC) at 5 p.m. at Pruitt Field. The contest will also serve as senior day for the graduating Bobcats.
Ohio will honor four seniors in their final home match at Pruitt Field. The Bobcats will honor Kennedy Farr (Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario), Rachel Kho (Oakville, Ontario), Maria Russell (Hudson, Ohio) and Megan Silveira (Kitchener, Ontario) before the match begins.
REWINDING LAST WEEK
The Bobcats finished last weekend 0-2 in the seventh week of the 2017 season. On Friday, Ohio fell to MAC-opponent Longwood 2-1 in a match-up on homecoming weekend. Ohio then fell 3-2 to Big-10 competitor Indiana while on the road.
In the match-up with Longwood, Ohio's single goal would come from Maria Russell (Hudson, Ohio) with just over two minutes remaining in the game on a combination from Kendall Ballard (Charlottesville, Va.) to Karynne Baker (Falls Church, Va.) shortening the Bobcat's deficit and making it a 2-1 game. Russell would lead the way in shots for Ohio with four on the match. Ballard and Warren would each record one shot on the game. Ballard and Baker would each earn a single assist on the match. Alex Pennington (Easton, Pa.) would not record a save, allowing two goals on the game.
Ohio would fall to Indiana 3-2 on Sunday, but the Bobcats fought hard throughout the game. Ohio's first goal would come from Ballard on a send in by Silveira and a set-up from Emma Eggleston (Houston, Tex.). The Hoosiers responded right away with their third goal on the game and in the half. Ohio wasn't able to convert another shot until the 63rd minute on a put-back by Russell to make it a 3-2 game. As a team, Ohio recorded eight shots on the match with five on goal. Pennington would record eight saves on the day.
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 131-123 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.
BALL STATE SCOUTING REPORT
The Cardnials are currently 4-8 overall and 0-1 in the MAC. Ohio and Ball State competed in an exhibition match in August of this year. The Cardinals would take the game 4-1 at the BSU Turf Field. The Cardinals would score on goals from Carley Shannon, Sierra Jefferson, Michelle Shampton and Anya Eicher. In goal for Ball Sate was Grace Chavez who recorded three saves on the day.
The Cardinals are ranked sixth in the MAC, just behind Ohio. Ball State is currently third in the conference in saves with 63 on the season. Chavez currently ranks third in the conference in save percentage at .712 along with a 1-7 record. Shannon leads the Cardinals with two goals and three assists on the year along with 11 shots on goal. Michelle Shampton has recorded three goals and two assists on the year.
This will be the 74th meeting between Ohio and Ball State with the Bobcats leading the all-time series 38-34. The last time the two squads met, Ohio would leave with a 2-1 victory. Ballard would score both goals for Ohio in a tough battle on the road. Carly Shannon would score the single goal for the Cardinals.
After Thursday's match, Ohio have a week without competition before hitting the road for the remainder of the 2017 season when it competes with 2016 MAC Tournament Champion Kent State on Saturday (Oct. 28) at 12 p.m. followed by the last game of the regular season with Louisville on Sunday (Oct. 29) at 1 p.m.