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Soccer Kicks off Season with Eastern Kentucky Exhibition

Ohio's Veronica Rock

Aug. 10, 2012

ATHENS, Ohio – This Sunday, Ohio Soccer hosts the first live Ohio Athletics event of the 2012-13 academic year. The Bobcats are set to welcome Eastern Kentucky to Chessa Field for a 1 p.m. exhibition match.

Ohio’s roster in 2012 features a bevy of new faces, as ten seniors departed following the 2011 season and a total of ten newcomers entered into the fold. Transfers Maggie Murnane and Tonya Frasik are joined by freshmen Heather Buckwald, Alyson Meister, Lauren Haley, Sasha Haverchak, Holly Harris, Leah Sandercock, Grace Campbell and Brieanna Charlebois.

The program also welcomes a new assistant coach to the sideline, as Stephanie Demake joins the Bobcats in advance of the 2012 season. Demake was a standout performer at Worcester State University during her playing days and most recently spent two seasons serving as an assistant coach at Wheaton College.

Eastern Kentucky is coming off a strong 2011 season during which the program won seven of its last ten matches to finish as the regular season conference runner-up for the second time in the last four years. The Colonels were picked by Ohio Valley Conference coaches to finish fourth in the OVC this season, their highest preseason OVC ranking since 2008.

Standouts Deja Tennon, Lauren Fant and Paige Larkin return to bolster an EKU defense which did not allow multiple goals in any of the Colonel’s final 12 regular-season matches during the 2011 season.

Ohio and Eastern Kentucky have never met one another in a regular-season match. Sunday’s exhibition marks the second time in a span of four months during which the programs have met in a non-official match. Ohio played EKU on Apr. 21 of the 2012 spring season, defeating the Colonels by a final score of 3-1. Despite falling behind early, the Bobcats showed a lot of character by being able to battle back and earn the victory. Recent transfer Murnane (Libertyville, Ill.) scored a brace, netting Ohio’s first two goals of the day. Cathryn Rogers (Etobicoke, Ontario), scored the final goal of the afternoon to make it 3-1 in favor of the Green and White.

During the 2011 season, Ohio Soccer spent some time at the top of the Mid-American Conference East Division standings following a hot 3-1 start to league play. The ‘Cats earned their third consecutive berth in the MAC Tournament, ultimately losing in the first round on the road at Toledo. Head Coach Stacy Strauss achieved a career milestone during the season, earning her 100th career victory on Oct. 16 during Ohio’s 2-0 win over conference rival Bowling Green. The Bobcats were led in scoring by former seniors Toye Famodu (five goals, two assists) and Kelsey Pichel (four goals, one assist). Current seniors Erin Schwenke, Cathryn Rogers and Veronica Rock were next on the scoring list, combining for four goals and five assists in 2011.

Then-freshman goalkeeper Nicole Amari made her career debut against Bowling Green, earning a shutout in her first appearance. Amari played in five matches during the latter part of the season, posting a 1-1-1 record while making 26 saves and only allowing 0.76 goals per match. Starting goalkeeper Mattie Liston suffered a slight injury setback during the year but managed to make 92 total saves in 17 appearances.

Following Ohio’s exhibition contest against EKU, the Bobcats open up the 2012 regular season with three straight road matches. Ohio will play at Wright State (Aug. 17), at Indiana (Aug. 19) and at DePaul (Aug. 24) before playing its home opener against Marshall on Aug. 26.