Oct. 23, 2011
Muncie, Ind. - Laura Mastro’s game-winning goal in overtime handed the Ohio Field Hockey team the 2011 Mid-American Conference Regular Season Championship on Sunday. The Bobcats defeated Ball State on the road, 2-1, to seal the top seed in the MAC Tournament, which will be held at Pruitt Field in two weeks.
Mastro had the only scoring attempts in overtime as she went wide of goal before delivering the decider at 79:39. It was the third goal of the season for the junior, who is also second on the team with 14 assists.
Cathryn Altdoerffer intercepted a pass in the Ohio end and passed to Mastro, who then took the ball the other way. This created a 2v1 opportunity with Taylor Brown running along side. Mastro chose to keep it herself and beat the Ball State goalkeeper for the game-winner.
“It feels good, almost a sense of relief, to wrap this up before the final weekend,” Head Coach Neil Macmillan said. “As tight as the MAC can be and as close the games we have played have been, it’s nice to go and be able to concentrate on the upcoming games and not seeding or position in the league.”
This is the fourth league title for Macmillan in his seventh season as head coach of the Bobcats. He led Ohio to the NCAA Tournament in 2007 and NCAA play-in games in 2006 and 2009. This is the seventh MAC Championship for the Bobcats and fifth since 2001.
Ohio had the first two scoring chances of the game before Katherine Fenzel capitalized on a 2-on-1 break in front of BSU’s goal. Brooke Edwards maneuvered past a few defenders and attacked the "D" with the ball, drawing the goalkeeper out of the cage. She then dropped a pass off to Fenzel at the far post and the sophomore scored her third goal of the season.
“We had a few people playing in different positions today,” Macmillan added. “It was an all-around team effort. Players stepped up and made the necessary plays. We wanted to get back to playing our game as well as we could.”
While the Bobcat offense had given the team the lead, the defense kept the Cardinals from registering a shot until the 30th minute of action. However, Ball St. took advantage of its second penalty-corner opportunity as Laura Malinoski corralled a rebound and scored her fourth goal of the season.
It was the last offensive chance for either team before the halftime break and the teams went to the lockers tied, 1-1. Ohio held edges in shots, 4-3, and penalty corners, 3-2.
The Green & White dominated the second half, not allowing the Cardinals any penalty corners or shots on goal. At the other end of the field, Ohio had eight shots, five in a two-minute span late in the game, but could not solve Cardinal goalkeeper Chelsea Mitchell.
“Ball State gave us a lot of pressure and we were not able to work the ball around as we have in the past,” Macmillan said. “So that’s something we will have to improve upon. I’m proud of our fitness level. It showed late in regulation and overtime because we were running all over the field and making things happen.”
Ohio closes regular-season play next weekend, starting with a road trip to Kent State for a Friday afternoon contest. The Bobcats will then honor their seniors at home next Sunday in the finale against Central Michigan at 1 p.m.