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Pair of Second-Half Goals Downs Ohio in Soccer

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OHIOBOBCATS.COM Bobcat freshman Erika Schmitt gave Ohio its best chance at a goal with a blast in the closing minutes.
OHIOBOBCATS.COM
Bobcat freshman Erika Schmitt gave Ohio its best chance at a goal with a blast in the closing minutes.
OHIOBOBCATS.COM

Oct. 14, 2005

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ATHENS, Ohio - After holding the Mid-American Conference's most prolific attack scoreless for the first 70 minutes, the Ohio women's soccer team gave up two goals Friday and lost 2-0 to Ball State at Chessa Field.

The Bobcats (3-10-0, 1-6-0 MAC) played well and controlled most of the possession in the first half against the Cardinals. Playing just her second game in goal, redshirt freshman Katie Overmann (Batavia, Ohio) made three saves during the opening stanza as the Ohio defense, led by senior co-captains Sara Williams (Princeton, N.J.) and Crystal Reed (Alexandria, Va.), limited Ball State's chances in front of the goal.

"In the first half, I felt like we had the run of play and they weren't dangerous at all," said Williams, one of four Bobcats who will be honored on Senior Day for Sunday's 1 p.m. match against Miami. "In the second half, we just didn't have composure and energy. They got two good opportunities and they put them away."

Ohio was forced to play without Reed for the entire second half. The two-time All-MAC sweeper has been battling back problems recently and was unable to return to the field after halftime. As a result, junior Larissa Najjar (Columbus, Ohio) - also a 2004 All-MAC first-teamer - was moved from center mid to sweeper and the Bobcats' control of the midfield suffered.

"Reed is definitely a presence back there for us," said Williams. "Larissa plays well back there, too, but that takes her away from contributing up top and in the middle for us. It made it a little bit of a different game."

In the 72nd minute, Ball State (12-3-0, 5-2-0 MAC) was able to get on the board when Laura Bandy drew Overmann out from the goal on the right side and then slid a ball across the front of the goal, where Emily Rein slid past a defender and knocked it in for her sixth score of the season. Less than five minutes later, Angie Heyer fed a ball to Bandy, who banged it off the left post and into the goal for a 2-0 Cardinal lead.

"We were lacking in communication, possession and leadership today," said Ohio head coach Stacy Strauss. "Definitely in the second half, we were not effective and we kind of sat in and let them come at us. We were unable to really dictate the tempo of play."

Despite the late deficit, the Bobcats did not back down and created scoring opportunities with three corner kicks down the stretch. Ohio's best chance at a goal came in the closing minutes when freshman midfielder Erika Schmitt (Wyoming, Ohio) fired a shot from 15 yards out that was saved by Ball State keeper Alison Becker.

It was one of three saves on the day for Becker, who preserved her sixth shutout of the season and the 16th of her career. She entered the game as the MAC leader in shutouts, save percentage and goals-against average. Overmann, meanwhile, managed four saves while playing all 90 minutes between the pipes.

The final home match of the season for the Bobcats will be Sunday against Miami. The Green and White Club is hosting a free tailgate beginning at noon and a special ceremony honoring Ohio's four seniors - Reed, Williams, Amy Elrod (Lee's Summit, Mo.) and Holly Hinman (Madison, Wis.) - will also take place prior to the 1 p.m. game.

"We just need to dig deep and play with pride and passion," said Strauss about her team's attitude heading into the final four games of the regular season. "We need to go back to the simple things and focus on moving the ball and keeping possession and talking to each other more on the field. And we need to expect to win."