Bobcats host Akron and Buffalo in important MAC East matches
Head Coach Stacy Strauss
Entering her 13th season as head coach of the Ohio women's soccer team, Stacy Strauss has guided the Bobcats into perennial contenders in the Mid-American Conference, leading the team to two regular-season conference titles (2001 and 2004), one second-place finish (2002) and four conference final four appearances (2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004).
Strauss' 100-112-21 career coaching record makes her the program's all-time leader in wins. More importantly, she holds a 67-52-17 MAC record that is among the highest in the conference's history. Under her tutelage, 23 players have garnered All-MAC honors and eight have been named to the All-MAC Freshman Team, which began in 2003.
The 2011 season was one of transition for the Bobcats, as the team graduated ten seniors. Ohio posted a 7-11-2 record and earned a berth in the Mid-American Conference Tournament for the third consecutive season before falling at Toledo. Strauss achieved a coaching milestone during the season, earning her 100th career victory in a 2-0 win over Bowling Green on October 16.
During the 2010 campaign, a strong defense helped the Bobcats to tie program records in fewest goals allowed (21) and shutouts (six). Mattie Liston was named to the MAC All-Freshman Team and posted four MAC clean sheets to tie for second in the league. She ranked third in the conference in saves with 92. Additionally, senior defender Sarah Brown, who helped anchor the sound Bobcat defense was named Second Team All-Ohio, along with midfielder Kelsey Pichel. In addition to being named to the All-MAC First Team, Brown was also named to the NSCAA Scholar All-East Region Second Team, while 16 Ohio women's soccer players garnered MAC Academic Awards. Jackie Hanson received the MAC President's Award, the conference's most prestigious academic honor.
Fielding young squads and fighting a hoard of injuries during the 2008 and 2009 seasons, Strauss' teams have faced its share of obstacles and succeeded amidst challenging situations. After having faced a very challenging 2008 schedule that included two Top 25 programs (Georgetown and Minnesota), Strauss led Ohio to a four-game improvement in 2009, while also winning six conference road games and tying a program record with five conference road wins. In addition, the team finished fourth in the 12-team MAC. This came with a squad that included 20 underclassmen. Sophomore Kelsey Pichel tied for the league lead in assists in conference play and garnered All-MAC recognition, the 22nd all-conference honor under Strauss' watch.
Strauss and the Bobcats played an incredibly difficult non-conference schedule to start the 2007 season, with close games against Louisville, Kentucky and a 2-1 loss to Ohio State, then ranked No. 25 in the nation, in double-overtime. But the stiff competition paid off when Ohio defeated four of its first five MAC opponents on its way to a No. 6 seed in the conference tournament. Strauss' impeccable recruiting showed with freshmen Jackie Hanson and Sarah Brown playing meaningful minutes at midfield and defense, respectively, and Hanson garnering All-MAC Freshman team recognition. Three other players also picked up All-MAC recognition as well. Erika Schmitt earned First-Team All-MAC honors, while senior forward Lindsey Price and sophomore defender Rachael Goulding were selected to the All-MAC Second-Team.
Strauss worked wonders in 2006 after an injury-filled 2005 season that saw the Bobcats go 3-14-0 on the season and 1-10-0 in MAC play. Already working with a relatively young and inexperienced squad, Strauss lost two projected defensive starters before the 2006 campaign began. Despite the losses, Strauss led the Bobcats to a 9-9-1 overall record and a 7-3-1 mark in conference play. The Bobcats earned the No. 2 seed in the MAC Tournament and finished just one game out of a conference title. Three players picked up All-MAC selections, including Rachael Goulding, who was named to the All-MAC First Team as a defender in just her freshman year. Tiffany Horvath earned All-MAC Second Team honors for the third time under Strauss' guidance, while Goulding and fellow freshman Amy Lower were named to the All-MAC Freshman Team.
Ohio's 2004 championship season included an 11-match unbeaten streak highlighted by a run of nine consecutive shutouts, both MAC records. The nine straight shutouts tied them for eighth in NCAA Division I all-time records as they did not allow a goal during a span of 942 consecutive minutes. As a result, the 2004 All-MAC team consisted of three first-teamers and two second-teamers from Ohio, marking the most selections in the program's eight-year history. After setting school single-season records for save percentage (.867) and goals-against average (0.75), Michelle Meglaughlin was named to the 2004 NSCAA/adidas Great Lakes All-Region third team, becoming just the fourth Bobcat to earn all-region honors.
Ohio overcame a slew of injuries to key players, a brutal schedule that featured six straight road games to start the season and a heart-wrenching string of one-goal losses that included four in overtime to still have a successful campaign in 2003. The Bobcats won five consecutive matches late in the season to march into their third straight MAC "Final Four" appearance. Three Ohio players received All-MAC accolades following the 2003 season including Tiffany Horvath, who was named MAC Newcomer of the Year.
In 2002, Ohio won 15 matches - the second-highest total in school history - and advanced to the championship match of the MAC Tournament for the first time since 1998. Four Bobcats earned All-MAC honors and one, Abby Leopold, became just the third Ohio player to make the All-Great Lakes Region team and went on to play for the semi-professional Boston Renegades in the W-League. The Bobcats outscored their opponents 52-27 on the season, marking the highest output in the program's eight-year history. Ohio also was listed as a "near-miss" team to the NCAA Tournament by Soccer Buzz magazine.
The team improved its win total and its finish in the MAC Tournament in each of the first three seasons under Strauss, who was named the 2002 Division I Coach of the Year by the Ohio Collegiate Soccer Association.
In only her second season, Strauss guided the Bobcats to their first outright conference title in 2001. Ohio won the regular season crown with a 10-2 MAC record, setting a new league high for the most conference victories in a season. The Bobcats allowed a MAC-low seven goals in conference play while netting 25 scores on offense. Ohio hosted the MAC Tournament and finished its season with a 12-9 overall record. In Strauss' rookie campaign, the Bobcats posted impressive wins against Ohio State and MAC regular-season champion Buffalo. Ohio finished the 2000 season in a tie for third place with a 7-4 conference record and a 10-9 mark overall.
Strauss, a native of Bay Village, came to the Ohio soccer program after serving as assistant coach at the University of Rhode Island. In her two seasons with the Rams, she directed the team to a 12-7-1 overall record in 1998 and a 12-8 record in 1999. She also coordinated numerous youth clinics and a fund-raising drive for a program called "Ram Goal-a-thon."
Prior to her stint at Rhode Island, Strauss spent one year as the assistant coach for Dartmouth College. While planning practice and coaching the goalkeepers, she served as the primary coach for the program's junior varsity team.
Strauss also has been actively involved with youth soccer, serving as a head coach for teams in the Upper Valley Lightning Soccer Club (N.H.) and the Rhode Island Rays Soccer Club. In Athens, she organizes several youth soccer clinics throughout the year and shows up with her players at every "You Go Girl Day" and "Women in Sports" event on campus. She and her squad are also active in various service events on campus and in the community.
A 1996 graduate of Kenyon College, Strauss was a four-year starter at goalkeeper. She led her team to a 50-21-3 record over her career while earning All-North Coast Athletic Conference honors each season. The two-time captain holds Kenyon career records in shutouts, goals-against average and games played, as well as season records in games played and shutouts.
Strauss earned her bachelor's degree in history from Kenyon before also earning a master's degree in education from Ohio State University in 1997. She is a licensed member of both the United States Soccer Federation and the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. Strauss also holds the Premier Diploma from the NSCAA, giving her the highest level of coaching certification offered by the national association.
She married former Bobcat wrestler John Ellis of Athens on Dec. 11, 2009. The couple resides in Athens.