Sept. 30, 2010
ATHENS, Ohio -
Coming off a five-game road trip that compiled most of September, Ohio soccer returns to the friendly confines of Chessa Field for its Mid-American Conference home opener Friday at 4 p.m. From there, the `Cats will welcome Ball State for a 1 p.m. Sunday matinee.
Ohio opened up MAC play last weekend, battling Eastern Michigan to a scoreless, double-overtime draw Friday. Freshman Natalie Bechtel (Westlake, Ohio) paced the `Cats in the contest, recording a game-high four shots, including one on goal. Mattie Liston (Lakewood, Ohio) recorded seven saves to go with her third shutout of the season. Sunday, a red card issued in the first period cost the Green and White as it played a man down for most of the match in a 3-1 setback to defending conference champions Central Michigan. Rachael Goulding (Toronto, Ontario) scored her team-leading second goal of the season to go with four shots, while Cathryn Rogers (Toronto, Ontario) recorded her third assist of the year.
The `Cats (3-4-2, 0-1-1 MAC) enter this weekend ranking among the top defensive teams in the MAC. Ohio's defense has allowed just 10 goals through nine games, second fewest in the MAC, while also ranking third in goals against average (GAA) at 1.06. Offensively, the Green and White have enjoyed a balanced scoring output. Eight different players have netted goals. Goulding paces the squad with two goals, while Rogers leads the team in both assists with three and points with five.
Friday's showdown with the Rockets will mark the 15th meeting in the all-time series between the two foes. Ohio leads the series 8-6, including a 4-3 advantage in games played in Athens. The two split the two games last year, with each winning on the other's home turf. The `Cats claimed a 1-0 win in Toledo, while the Rockets topped the `Cats in the first round of the MAC Tournament. Sarah Brown (North Royalton, Ohio) netted the first goal of her career in that contest, while Rogers scored Ohio's tally in the first meeting.
Toledo enters the weekend with a 6-2-2 record and a 2-0-0 mark in conference, defeating Northern Illinois and Western Michigan at home last weekend. The Rockets, MAC Champions three of the last four years, boast a strong offense that is averaging 2.30 goals per game, second best in the MAC. Freshman Rachel MacLeod leads the team with five goals on the year, while junior Kristen Lynn has four goals and two assists to tie MacLeod for the most points with 10. Goalkeeper Vicki Traven helps anchor Toledo's defense with three shutouts. Head coach Brad Evans is in his 10th season at the reigns of the program.
Ohio will be meeting Ball State for the 14th time all-time Sunday. The `Cats hold an 8-4-1 advantage in the series, including a 5-2 lead in Athens. Laura Dieter's (Wheaton, Ill.) goal in the 70th minute lifted the Green and White past the Cardinals 1-0 in last year's meeting at Chessa Field.
BSU enters the weekend with a 6-4-0 record overall and 0-2-0 in MAC play, falling to Western Michigan and at Northern Illinois. The Cardinals enter the weekend averaging 1.30 goals per contest on nearly 15 shots per game. Defensively, they are giving up 1.40 goals per game on just under 12 shots. Nine different players have tallied goals for BSU, with redshirt sophomore Sarah Orisich leading the team with three goals and seven points on the year. Abby Milillo and Missy Gordon each have two goals. Aubrey Buehler leads the Cardinals' defense with a GAA of 1.04. Head coach Craig Roberts is in his first year at the helm.
Live stats and a recap of the weekend's action will be available at OhioBobcats.com.