Nov. 1, 2009
2009 Championship Bracket
ATHENS, Ohio -
Ohio Field Hockey emerged victorious in a hard-fought game Sunday against Miami, beating the visiting RedHawks 1-0. The win was Ohio's seventh consecutive Mid-American Conference victory, and gives them the first seed in the upcoming conference tournament. Marcy Dull (Ephrata, Pa.) scored the game-winner in the 59th minute off a penalty corner.
On Senior Day in Athens, Ohio, much was on the line for both teams. With Miami's victory over Kent State on Saturday and Ohio's win against Ball State, the winner of Sunday's game would determine the regular-season conference co-champion (with Kent State claiming the other share) and the number one seed in the conference tournament.
The Bobcats knew what was at stake and played accordingly. The match got off to a quick start, with Miami's Katie Brightwell firing an early shot on goal. Courtney Seiders (Mt. Joy, Pa.) was equal to it, making her first of what would ultimately be six saves on the day.
Not long after that, Nina Bruno (Chevy Chase, Md.) launched a shot on goal that actually beat keeper Kelsey Dean but was saved off the line by Brightwell. The Bobcats were just inches away from going up 1-0 early.
Dull fired a shot on net in the 20th minute, but Dean was in the right place and knocked it aside. The match then settled into a defensive battle for the remainder of the first half, with the `Cats controlling much of the play for the first 35 minutes.
The second half got off to a roaring start, with the teams combining for five shots in the first five minutes. The visiting RedHawks really stepped up the pressure in the second half, but the stout Ohio defense--which has not allowed a goal in three consecutive games--held firm.
"Everyone played well," said head coach Neil Macmillan. "Courtney (Seiders) played exceptionally well at the back; Nina (Bruno) did a great job of stepping up...it was the usual suspects back there."
The intensity of the day kept getting higher and higher until Ohio struck first, scoring in the 59th minute on a penalty corner. Brittany Zorn (Millersville, Md.) fed the ball in to Katelyn Shelley (Ephrata, Pa.) who laid it up perfectly for Dull's strike.
"Patty (Donahue) set that up," said Dull. "She won a corner and everything was executed perfectly..I got a pretty good hold of it and put it in the back of the cage."
Ohio was able to hold off Miami's furious and frantic attempts at an equalizer, and Seiders made a very solid save in the 68th minute to preserve the victory.
The regular-season conference title is a huge accomplishment for the Bobcats (10-8, 8-2 MAC), who at one point were 1-2 in MAC play.
"It is really exciting," said Dull. "I'm really proud of our team because we had some struggles at the beginning of the season and we really took it upon ourselves to turn our season around."
The Bobcats will begin play in the conference tournament in Muncie, Indiana, on Friday, November 6 against the winner of Central Michigan and Ball State.