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Ohio to Close Regular Season at Akron

Ohio's Kelsey Pichel

Oct. 26, 2011

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ATHENS, Ohio – Ohio Soccer will look to end its regular season on a high note this Thursday, playing an important Mid-American Conference match at Akron. The Bobcats will look to secure a spot in the 2011 MAC Tournament against the Zips, with a win or draw guaranteeing them a spot in the competition. Thursday’s match will kick off at 3 p.m.

The Bobcats (7-9-2, 4-4-2 MAC) were knocked from their long-held perch atop the MAC East standings last weekend, drawing Buffalo on Friday and losing to a last-second goal at Kent State on Sunday. Ohio currently sits second in the Eastern Division and fifth overall throughout the conference. The top eight teams qualify for the 2011 MAC Tournament, with the top four teams—regardless of division—hosting the quarterfinal matches.

Bobcat Postseason Scenarios
With all teams in action on Thursday, there are many possible MAC Tournament scenarios for the Bobcats. Should Ohio win at Akron, the Bobcats will be looking at a fifth or sixth-place finish in the conference, setting them up to play at either the fourth or third-place team in the league on Sunday, Oct. 30.

If Ohio draws Akron on Thursday, the Bobcats will still advance. The situation becomes a bit less clear in this instance, however, as a draw would have Ohio finish anywhere from 5th-8th in the league depending on other results.

Even if Ohio loses on Thursday, it is still likely that the Bobcats will advance to the tournament. The only circumstance that would prevent Ohio taking part in postseason play would be an Ohio loss paired with a Miami win (over Bowling Green) and a Ball State win or draw (at Toledo).

Scouting the Zips
Akron (6-8-2, 3-5-2 MAC) is relatively similar to Ohio in that each team boasts a very stingy defense. The Zips have the fourth-best goals-against-average in the conference, having allowed only 1.09 goals per match. Offensively, goals have been a bit difficult to come by for Akron, as the team has scored 15 times in 2011, or 0.94 times per match. That said, the Zips have picked up some impressive results this season, winning at Michigan on August 19, holding Central Michigan to a scoreless draw on Sept. 23 and handily defeating Eastern Michigan (3-0) on Sept. 25.

The Zips are led by the scoring efforts of Ashley Hughes (3 goals, 1 assist) and Rachel Phillip (3 goals). These two have come through in the clutch for Akron, scoring three game-winning goals between them.

Bobcat Bits
Toye Famodu (Bloomington, Minn.) was named Mid-American Conference Scholar Athlete of the Week on Friday, Oct. 21. The senior was honored for her five-point weekend on October 14 and 16, during which she scored two goals and provided the assist on the other. Famodu has achieved a very impressive 3.84 GPA while majoring in Global Studies (Latin America) and minoring in Anthropology and Spanish. The award was the second time she was recognized by the conference this season, as she garnered co-Offensive Player of the Week honors on Oct. 3.

Ohio and Akron have met ten times in series history. The Bobcats hold a 7-3 advantage in the series, winning the last match (1-0) on Oct. 28, 2010.

Thursday’s match will be the 292nd in the history of Ohio Soccer. The Bobcats have posted an all-time mark of 135-132-24, which includes an 86-58-19 record in conference play.

Ohio Head Coach Stacy Strauss picked up her 100th career victory when the Bobcats beat Bowling Green on Sunday, Oct. 16.

The Bobcats have posted the fifth-best goals-against-average in the MAC this season, allowing a mere 1.11 goals per contest. Ohio is second in the conference in total saves, with 118.

Ohio’s Kelsey Pichel (Rochester, Mich.) ranks tied for fourth in the MAC in shots attempted, with 54. She is only seven off the top mark, currently held by Western Michigan’s Stephanie Skowneski and Bowling Green’s Alyssa Zuccaro.

Should Ohio advance to the quarterfinal round of the MAC Tournament, the Bobcats will be in action on Sunday, Oct. 30. Time and location TBD.