Sept. 23, 2011
ATHENS, Ohio – Ohio Field Hockey opens MAC play this weekend when it travels to the Show-Me State for a slate of games. After the Bobcats square off against St. Louis on Saturday at 2 p.m., they will travel to Missouri State for the league opener on Sunday at noon
The Bobcats enter the weekend tops in the MAC in scoring margin by a full goal over the next closest team. The contest against the Bears on Sunday will feature the top two offensive teams in the MAC with Missouri State averaging 2.45 goals per game and Ohio averaging 2.41.
The Green & White have been stingy on defense, ranking seventh nationally with three shutouts and ranking fifth nationally in goals against average. The Bobcats have only allowed eight goals in the eight contests they have played this season.
Five Bobcats currently rank among the conference’s top 10 in scoring with Cathryn Altdoerffer and Jessica Jue tied for third place with 13 points apiece. Taylor Brown and Altdoerffer are tied for fourth in the MAC in goals with five apiece and Jue leads the league and sits ninth nationally with seven assists. Laura Mastro and Louzeth Schutte are tied for second in the league with five helpers apiece.
Bobcats in the Rankings
Ohio Field Hockey got off to its best start in program history, reaching No. 15 in the NFHCA weekly poll. The Bobcats had not been ranked that high since 2007 with their highest ranking coming back in 2001, when they reached No. 9 in the country.
Not only did the Bobcats' win over No. 8 American raise their record to 6-0, eclipsing the 5-0-1 start of the 1981 team, but it also gave the Green & White wins over top-10 opponents in the same season for the first time ever. In fact, the only time the Bobcats have beaten two ranked teams in a season was also in 2007.
MAC Players of the Week
For the second time this season, Ohio swept the MAC Weekly Awards with Taylor Brown and Louzeth Schutte earning the honors. The Bobcats captured five of the league's first six weekly awards to start the 2011 season.
Brown was named the Offensive Player of the Week for the first time in 2011 after scoring the game-winning goal against No. 8 American. Brown, a 2010 Longstreth/National Field Hockey Coaches Association Division I All-West Region selection, was a First Team All-MAC selection after leading the Bobcats in goals and points last year. She ended up tied for second in the MAC with 15 goals, the seventh highest single-season total in Ohio history.
Schutte was named the Defensive Player of the Week for the third time this season after scoring the first goal against the No. 8 Eagles. She has now scored three times this season from her defensive position. Schutte is part of a backline that has only allowed eight goals this season through eight games. Ohio has also blanked three opponents, tops in the MAC.
Opponents at a Glance
St. Louis (1-6) has dropped five in a row entering Saturday’s contest and the Bobcats have taken the last four against the Billikens in the series. Last year, Taylor Brown scored four times in a 6-1 win for Ohio at Pruitt Field. Nicole Kent leads St. Louis with three goals and an assist for seven points. Lexie Lindblad is second on the team with two goals and two assists for six points. Three other Billikens have scored at least one goal, and eight different players have recorded at least one point this season. Goalkeeper Megan Ambrose made a career-high 16 saves against Maine on September 10 and followed that effort by posting 15 saves in a contest at Missouri State. She ranks seventh in the country in saves per game at 9.17.
Missouri State (3-4) has won two of its last three contests and senior Casey Bayliss leads the Mid-American Conference with eight goals and 18 points despite playing in only four games. Sophomore Hillary Lawless also ranks near the top of the league with five assists and junior Reiann Stoute is currently second in the nation with five defensive saves. Ohio leads the all-time series 19-9 and has won the last three meetings and 11 of the past 12. The lone loss during that time came in Springfield during the 2009 season when the `Cats were dropped in overtime, 3-2. Last year, Taylor Brown scored twice, including the deciding goal in double overtime as the ‘Cats won at Missouri State, 2-1.