Oct. 3, 2008
ATHENS, Ohio -
ATHENS, Ohio - Defense ruled the day for Ohio as the Bobcats shut out the Mid-American Conference's highest scoring team, Bowling Green, in a 0-0 tie Friday at Chessa Field. Both squads had opportunities to put goals on the board, but neither defense would allow it as the contest ended in a double-overtime draw.
Coming off a big 2-1 double-overtime win over Buffalo last time out, Ohio (2-6-2, 1-1-1) returned to Chessa Field riding some momentum for its conference home opener. The Falcons (6-3-3, 1-1-1) entered the match having scored a conference-best 24 goals on the season. Both sides went back and forth at each other over the entire 110 minutes with both defenses making the plays necessary to keep the other off the board. BGSU tallied 16 shots on the day, while Ohio recorded 10. Junior goalkeeper Jess MacLean helped anchor the `Cats in the goal with eight saves en route to her first shutout of the season and the third of her career.
"I was very proud of the shutout," Ohio coach Stacy Strauss said. "We did a great job defending, especially with set pieces. Jess (MacLean) played great. She called things early, and she eliminated Bowling Green's scoring opportunities. I think this was huge for our confidence today."
Both squads came out determined in the early going of the match, but neither side was able to gain any type of serious momentum as both the Bobcats and Falcons went back and forth. BGSU had a promising opportunity late in the fourth minute when Alyssa Zuccaro fired a shot from 15 yards out that reflected hard off the cross bar before the Ohio defense cleared it out. The action continued to go back and forth from there. The Falcons tallied some shots, but none came close to the goal.
Erika Schmitt had an opportunity to put the Bobcats on the board in the 27th minute, but BGSU keeper Alexa Arsenault came over to make a nice save on Schmitt's rocket shot to keep the action silent. The Falcons put seven shots on the board in the first half, but Ohio's defense kept them quiet. The Bobcats came up with three corner kicks in the first half, but a strong BGSU defense kept them from converting any of them.
The second half opened much the same as the first 45 minutes ended. Both teams went back and forth at each other with neither team managing to gain control of the ball for an extended period of time. Ohio had opportunities deep in Falcon territory on a few occasions, but the BGSU defenders rebounded to turn things away.
Sara Seitz came close to putting the first goal of the board on the game midway through the 65th minute, but Arsenault made another nice save to keep things quiet. The Falcons also had opportunities near the Ohio goal, but Sarah Brown and Rachael Philpot responded with strong defensive plays to keep BGSU at bay. The second half ended with the Bobcats holding a 6-5 advantage on shots.
The Falcons put two shots on the board in the first overtime, but a MacLean diving save at the corner of the box on one play helped keep the action going. Ohio's defense continued to turn BGSU away as well. Schmitt had an opportunity to end things mid way through the second overtime as she made a good play on a ball sent from Courtney Mink to get one-on-one with a Falcon defense. The defender managed to stick her foot in just in front of Schmitt's shot that looked to be heading straight for a corner of open net. Neither side was able to get close to scoring the rest of the way as it ended in a tie.
"I give our players a lot of credit for the adjustments they made today," Strauss said. "We just need to anticipate a little bit more, but this was good for us going into Sunday."
Ohio will now play host to preseason MAC favorite Toledo when the Rockets come into town Sunday. Action is set to get under way at 1 p.m. ET.