ATHENS, Ohio – Following a 2-0 exhibition win over Eastern Kentucky on Sunday afternoon, Ohio Soccer prepares to begin the regular season Friday evening at Wright State. The ‘Cats will then travel further west to match up with the Indiana Hoosiers on Sunday.
Second-half goals by Liz Finley (Mason, Ohio) and Cathryn Rogers (Etobicoke, Ontario) led the ‘Cats to their exhibition win over the Colonels on Sunday. The goalkeeping tandem of Rachel Fryan (Racine, Wis.) and Nicole Amari (Vernon Hills, Ill.) combined to make one save and keep a clean sheet for the Green and White.
WINS THIS WEEKEND WOULD… Be the 136th and 137th in program history Be the 42nd and 43rd non-conference victories in program history Be the 101st and 102nd of Head Coach Stacy Strauss’s career Be Ohio’s fifth win over Wright State (first since 2005) Snap a two-match losing streak to the Raiders Be Ohio’s first-ever victory over Indiana
PREVIEWING THE RAIDERS Ohio’s match at Wright State on Friday night will serve as the 2012 season-opener for both programs. The Raiders were projected to finish fourth in the Horizon League in 2012 and are coming off a 2011 campaign in which they went 10-8-3 (3-3-2 in league play). Wright State made it to the Horizon League Championship match before falling 5-1 at Milwaukee to end its season.
The Raiders graduated their top four scorers from the 2011 season, with current junior Liz Soto (three goals, one assist) being the highest producing returning Raider. Forward Adrianna Guerrero will be a scoring threat to watch out for, as she scored two goals and notched three assists in 2011.
Between the pipes, Wright State returns junior goalkeeper Brooke McCurdy, who posted a 9-8-3 mark in net last season, registering six shutouts and posting a 1.46 goals-against average in the process.
OHIO – WRIGHT STATE SERIES HISTORY Friday’s match will be the tenth all-time meeting between the two soccer programs. Ohio has lost the last two regular-season meetings against the Raiders, falling 1-0 at home in 2011 and 4-1 at home in 2006. The Bobcats last beat the Raiders on Aug. 26 of the 2005 season and have posted an impressive 3-1 record in matches played at Wright State.
PREVIEWING THE HOOSIERS Indiana also opens its season on Friday evening, hosting Arkansas State in Bloomington before the ‘Cats and Hoosiers meet up on Sunday. The Hoosiers went 6-12-1 a year ago, a mark which included a 2-9-0 record in Big Ten play. Indiana returns its top two leading scorers in Orianica Velasquez (seven goals, two assists) and Lisa Nouanesengsy (six goals, two assists) from a team which found the back of the net 25 times during the 2011 season. Velasquez recently made history for the Hoosiers, becoming Indiana’s first women’s soccer player to compete in the Olympics. Representing her home nation of Colombia, Velasquez registered nine total shots in three matches.
The Hoosiers graduated their starting goalkeeper from last season, with current junior Shannon Flower being the most experienced netminder from 2011. Flower posted a 1-1-1 record in five appearances, making four saves and recording a 2.19 GAA.
OHIO – INDIANA SERIES HISTORY Sunday’s match will be just the second all-time meeting between Ohio and Indiana. The Bobcats last played the Hoosiers on Nov. 4, 2001, losing by a final score of 5-1 in Bloomington.
ROGERS EARNS PRESEASON ACCOLADES Earlier this week, senior midfielder Cathryn Rogers was named to the CollegeSportsMadness.com Mid-American Conference All-League’s Second Team. A poised midfielder with good field vision, Rogers should combine well with some of Ohio’s new attacking options for the 2012 season.
PRESEASON PREDICTIONS Ohio was picked to finish fifth in the MAC East Division according to the release of the 2012 MAC Coaches Poll on Wednesday. The Bobcats collected 33 points and are projected to finish ahead of Bowling Green (17) but behind Kent State (64), Miami (52), Buffalo (51) and Akron (35). Toledo was selected to be the champion of the Western Division and was also picked to win the Mid-American Conference Tournament.
THE LONGEST TRIP Ohio Soccer will play its first three games of the 2012 season away from Chessa Field. Following Sunday’s match at Indiana, the Bobcats will close out this longest trip of the entire season on Aug. 24 at DePaul.