Oct. 14, 2005
ATHENS, Ohio -
Ohio scored twice in the first four minutes of the game, and the Bobcat defense recorded its third shutout of the season as the Ohio field hockey team held on to its lead in the Mid-American Conference with a 3-0 win over Ball State Friday at Peggy Pruitt Field.
Nikki Gnozzio (Flanders, N.J.) put Ohio (7-7 overall, 5-1 MAC) on top just more than two minutes into the game, and Torrie Albini (Escondido, Calif.) upped the lead to two 67 seconds later. The Bobcats never looked back, shutting down the Cardinal (2-10, 1-4 MAC) attack and keeping their seat atop the MAC standings.
"Getting a win in the MAC today was really important," said Ohio Head Coach Neil Macmillan. "Every time we can mark off another win in the conference we get one step closer to our goal, which is to win the MAC."
Goaltender Jennifer Cote (Raynham, Mass.) wasn't challenged often, but she responded when she was needed. Cote made a pair of saves, and freshman Jessie Martin (Louisville, Ky.) came on in relief to record her first-career save and help preserve the shutout.
Gnozzio and the Bobcats didn't wait long to take a lead. At the 2:09 mark, Gnozzio took a cross pass from fellow freshman Estienne Coetzee (Bloemfontein, South Africa) and pushed it past the Cardinal defense for her second-career goal and a 1-0 Bobcat lead.
Not long after, Albini struck for her league-leading ninth goal. With the Ball State goaltender coming out of the net, Albini found a seam and rolled it into the cage from the left side, boosting the Ohio lead to 2-0.
"It always makes a difference when you're able to score early," Macmillan said. "You can't ask for much more in the first few minutes of the game."
The match remained at 2-0 into intermission. For the half, Ohio took seven shots and had five penalty corners. Ball State took two shots in the first half and enjoyed two penalty-corner opportunities.
Just more than 20 minutes into the second frame, the Ohio offense struck again. Making the most of a penalty corner, Coetzee deflected an Amanda Arnold (Oceanport, N.J.) shot from the top of the circle and it flew past the Cardinal goaltender to put the Bobcats ahead 3-0. The tally was Coetzee's eighth of the season.
For the game, Ohio took 13 shots--eight on goal--and landed nine penalty corners. The Cardinals took four shots--three on goal--and were awarded three penalty corners.
Ohio will remain in conference play Saturday with a match-up against Miami. The Bobcats knocked off the RedHawks earlier in the 2005 season in Oxford.
At Saturday's game, the National Field Hockey Coaches Association will be accepting donations for St. Louis Head Coach Maria Whitehead, who is currently receiving treatment for melanoma. As a player at Wake Forest, Whitehead was coached by Macmillan and was an opponent of Bobcat assistant Katie Jo Gerfen. In addition to the donations, the NFHCA will be donating $1 for each goal scored by a Division I field hockey team on Saturday.
The Bobcats and RedHawks are set to tangle at Peggy Pruitt Field. Game time is slated for 1 p.m.