Sept. 24, 2008
ATHENS, Ohio -
Week 5 Game Notes
Gametracker: Ohio vs. Central Michigan
After playing on the road for three-straight weeks, the Ohio field hockey team finally returns to Pruitt Field for its Mid-American Conference opener against Central Michigan Friday at 3 p.m. The Bobcats will travel to MAC preseason-favorite Kent State on Sunday for their second conference tilt of the season, with action set to start at 1 p.m.
"We've proven ourselves able to compete with some of the top teams in the country and that's definitely given us confidence and experience coming into conference play," Ohio assistant coach Gracie Sorbello said.
Ohio (2-5) enters conference play after dropping a pair of tough games against ranked ACC teams last weekend, taking No. 8 Virginia into overtime. Senior goalie Jessie Martin (Louisville, Ky.), the 2007 MAC Player of the Year, is averaging 2.08 goals against and has 57 saves on the year.
Two-time All-MAC performer Rachelle Coetzee (Bloemfontein, S.A.) leads the Bobcats with six points, on two goals and two assists. The two goals are tied for the team lead with her sister, Estienne Coetzee (Bloemfontein, S.A.). Rachelle's two assists are also tied for the team lead with three other players: seniors Nikki Gnozzio (Flanders, N.J.) and Lauren Stahlhuth (St. Louis, Mo.) and sophomore Paige Herr (Lancaster, Pa.). Rachelle is also tied with junior Marcy Dull (Ephrata, Pa.) for the team lead in shots, with 14 apiece.
"We don't have the results that we've had in the last few years or the record, but that aside, we've been competing with the nation's best on a week in week out basis," Ohio head coach Neil Macmillan said. "That is very important going into the game with Central Michigan, who will be ready to play us but won't quite pose a threat the likes of Wake Forest and Virginia."
The Bobcats are 15-12-1 in MAC openers since 1980.
Central Michigan (1-5, 0-1 MAC) comes into Friday's match having been outscored 10-0 over their last two games, but routed Colgate 7-1 for their lone win this season. The Chippewas dropped their MAC opener to Miami 2-0 on Sept. 12.
Senior Samantha Sandham leads CMU with four goals, nine points, 29 shots and 16 shots on goal. Junior Kim Erasmus has a team-best four assists and is second on the team with 12 shots and seven shots on goal. Three keepers have seen time for the Chippewas this season, with junior Kahla Schwall seeing the bulk of the time. She's appeared in five games and has a 4.98 goals against average and a 65.9 save percentage.
Ohio is 31-21 all-time against Central Michigan and has won the last five meetings between the teams.
Kent State (5-3), ranked No. 20 in the Womensfieldhockey.com Poll, has won their last two games, including a 4-3 double-overtime win against then-No. 20 Albany. Ohio and Kent State share three common opponents in No. 16 Ohio State, No. 7 James Madison and No. 8 Virginia. While neither team won any of those games, the Flashes were outscored 7-2 in those matches, with Ohio losing to each team by a goal and going to overtime with OSU and Virginia.
Freshman Debbie Bell leads KSU with nine goals, including five last weekend. She is also tops on the team with 18 points, 32 shots and 20 shots on goal. 2007 MAC Freshman of the Year Rachel Miller is second on the squad with five goals and 21 shots. Sophomore goalie Caroline Suitch has one shutout with a 1.57 goals against average, which is first in the MAC, and a 75.9 save percentage, ranking second in the MAC behind Ohio's Jessie Martin.
Kent State leads the all-time series with Ohio 36-20, with the two squads splitting their matches last year.
The Bobcats and Chippewas will get underway at 3 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 26 at Pruitt Field in Athens. Fans that can't make it to the game can follow the action via Gametracker by clicking here. Live stats are also available for Sunday's Kent State match by clicking here.
Across the Atlantic: Friday's match against Central Michigan will feature six participants from South Africa. Senior sisters Estienne and Rachelle Coetzee (Bloemfontein) will represent their native country for Ohio, while CMU assistant coach Earl Marais attended Paterson High School in South Africa and played field hockey in his homeland for 15 years. The Chippewas also have three players from South Africa, in senior Samantha Sandham (Cape Town), junior Kim Erasmus (Port Elizabeth) and freshman Andrea Marais (Port Elizabeth).
High School Hook-ups: Freshman Jenna Green (Wescosville, Pa.), who attended Emmaus High School, will see some familar faces across the field this weekend. On Friday versus Central Michigan, Green will face CMU senior Amanda Lucik, who attended Emmaus, while Sunday at Kent State, KSU senior MaryKate Hanosek will join Green as Emmaus High School alumnae on the field.
Close "One"s: Five of Ohio's first seven games have been decided by one goal, with the Bobcats going 2-3 in those contests. Ohio was 8-5 in one-goal games a year ago. The Bobcats have played three overtime games so far in 2008, with two going into double overtime. Ohio is 1-2 in those contests and went 4-3 in overtime games in 2007.
Martin's Mark: Senior goalie Jessie Martin (Louisville, Ky.) earned her seventh-career MAC Player of the Week honor last week. She made a career-high 15 saves against Ohio State on Sept. 3. The 15 saves put Martin over the 200-save plateau for her career and are tied for the ninth-most saves by one goalie in a Division I game this season. Her 12 saves against No. 1 Wake Forest ranks in a tie for the 17th-most single-game saves by a goalie. Her 8.14 saves per game ranks eighth nationally and first in the MAC, while her 78.1 save percentage is 18th in the nation and is also tops in the conference.
Afraid of No One: The Bobcats have played a brutal non-conference schedule so far this year, with the seventh-toughest schedule in the country, according to fieldhockeycorner.com. Ohio has faced four teams ranked in the Top 20 of the STX/NFHCA Coaches' Poll, with Ohio State also now ranked. Below is a list of those games with the ranking at the time they played (current ranking in parentheses):
Aug. 31 - No. 7 (No. 7) James Madison (L, 1-0)
Sept. 3 - Unranked (No. 16) Ohio State (L, 2-1 OT)
Sept. 6 - No. 17 (No. 11) Louisville (L, 4-1)
Sept. 20 - No. 1 (No. 1) Wake Forest (L, 4-0)
Sept. 21 - No. 8 (No. 8) Virginia (L, 2-1 OT)
Ohio also played Indiana, who is receiving votes in the poll, and defeated them 2-1 in double overtime. The Bobcats still have two ranked opponents left on the schedule, with an Oct. 14 meeting at No. 9 Duke and an Oct. 18 showdown at No. 10 Michigan State.
For complete weekly notes, please click the link at the top.