ATHENS, Ohio—The Ohio women's soccer team enters week two of Mid-American Conference play this weekend when the team travels to Ball State (3-5-2, 1-0-1 MAC) and Miami of Ohio (0-9-0, 0-2-0 MAC). The Bobcats travel to Munci, Ind. on Friday, Sept. 29 for a 5 p.m. Friday match against the Cardinals before heading to Oxford, Ohio on Sunday, Oct. 1 for a 1 p.m. contest against the RedHawks.
The Bobcats are coming off a dominating weekend sweep where the team defeated Eastern Michigan 2-1 in overtime on Friday and blanked Central Michigan 3-0 on Sunday. The sweep marked the first time Ohio has won the first two MAC games of the season since 2007 along with the first time Ohio has beat EMU since 2011 and CMU since 2008. Speaking with head coach Aaron Rodgers, he shared his pride in how well the Bobcats played while also remembering that there's a long season ahead.
"We are obviously very pleased with last weekend's performances. The team should be confident but also know that we are only two games into a very challenging conference schedule. We must be at our very best every week to accomplish our goals of making the MAC tournament and make a run at the championship," Rodgers said.
The weekend also played host to the 20th anniversary of the Ohio women's soccer program and a plethora of alumni came out to cheer on Ohio.
"I told the players after the game, they did such an honor with the way they played today for all the alums that were here. For the old coaches that were here, for the old players that were here from the very first team," Rodgers said. "They can sit over there and just have pride welling up in their chest knowing that 'What I represented is now being represented so well out on the field' and they can be proud to be a part of the legacy of Ohio soccer."
Looking ahead to Friday and Saturday's competition, Rodgers understands that Ohio can't let themselves get too comfortable with what they've accomplished.
"Ball State is a very good team and I know they'll remember our victory versus them last year. We will definitely need to be at our best to get a win, which is exactly what we are looking to do.
"Miami has had a rough season of results so far but we know they are a quality team. They are well coached and will be ready to get their season going this weekend at home I am sure. Again, we will have to be at our best," Rodgers said.
SCOUTING BALL STATE
The Cardinals are coming off two hard-fought weekend matches that put them up against the Bowling Green Falcons and Toledo Rockets. Ball State topped the Falcons 2-1 on Friday, Sept. 22 with goals coming from Alessandra Fistrovich (one goal, two assists, three shots) and Julia Elvbo (one goal, one assist, nine shots). Fistrovich opened scoring in the 60th minute after she found space following a service from Elvbo. The Falcons tied things up six minutes later but Elvbo was able to retake the lead for Ball State in the eventual game-winning-goal in the 79th after Peighton Cook slotted her the ball. Alyssa Heintschel stood in goal for BSU, recording four saves and one goal allowed through 90 minutes. On Sunday the Cardinals walked away with a 1-1 double overtime draw. The Cardinal's lone goal against Toledo came from Lauren Roll in the 82nd minute, 32 minutes after the Rockets opened scoring. Tristin Stuteville stood in goal for the entire match, making one save and allowing one goal.
Sam Kambol (three goals, 15 shots, two GWG) and Amanda Shaw (two goals, one assist, 21 shots) lead scoring for BSU. Heintschel (3-2-0, three goals allowed, 20 saves, 0.61 GAA, .870 save percentage) and Stuteville (0-3-2, nine goals allowed, 17 saves, 1.65 GAA, .654 save percentage) have shared the majority of playing time in net for the Cardinals with Heintschel logging 442 minutes and Stuteville recording 490.
LAST TIME AGAINST BALL STATE
Ohio saw Ball State in 2016 when the Bobcats topped the Cardinals in a 3-1 victory. Gabby Veldman opened scoring in the seventh minute for BSU after chipping Erin Beurket (Milford, Ohio). In the 21st minute Alivia Milesky (Plain City, Ohio) tied up the match, chipping Heintschel for her second goal of the season. 22 minutes later Bryce Hueber (Cincinnati, Ohio) registered her fourth goal of the season when she fired a shot from the top of the 18-yard box. Milesky then solidified the Bobcats' victory in the 56th minute when she found space in the middle of the box and slotted in her second on the day. Ohio walked away with eight shots and five shots on goal to BSU's 13 shots and six shots on goal. Beurket recorded five saves on the night.
The RedHawks are coming off losses against Toledo on Friday and Bowling Green on Sunday. Friday saw Miami drop 3-1 with Olivia Winnett scoring the RedHawks' lone goal. Winnett's unassisted goal came in the 75th minute following Toledo's scores in the fifth and 65th minutes. The loss was solidified in the 82nd when the Rockets notched their third of the day. Sunday didn't prove any better for Miami, with the team losing 4-1. BGSU opened scoring in the second minute off a shot from Skylar Fleak. Miami responded in the 17th when Katie Alexander put one on the board but the Falcons retook the lead two minutes later when Fleak earned her second of the day. BGSU increased their lead in the 44th minute when Marissa Swindell scored and solidified their victory 22 seconds into the second half when Sophia Barnes found the back of the net.
Winnett leads scoring this season for the RedHawks with two goals, one assist and 18 shots. Patricia Koutoulas has played all 810 minutes in goal for Miami, logging 49 saves and 19 goals allowed while recording a 2.11 GAA and .721 save percentage.
LAST TIME AGAINST MIAMI
The Bobcats last saw Miami in 2016 when the squad shutout the RedHawks 2-0 on senior day. Lexi Milesky and Celeste Fushimi-Karns scored in the 55th and 74th minutes respectively, earning their third and first goals of the season. Ohio put up 19 shots with eight on goal to Miami's nine shots and four on goal. Beurket stood in goal, registering four saves for the shutout.
IN THE MAC
The Bobcats (5-5-0, 2-0-0 MAC) are second in the MAC-East behind Kent State (6-3-1, 2-0-0 MAC). Ohio is sixth in shots per game with 13.60, tied for eighth with three and has the fourth best goal against average with 1.08.
Hannah Jaggers (Taylorsville, Ky.) and Allie Curry (Fairfield, Ohio) have dominated the front line for Ohio this season. Curry has four goals and one assist on 22 shots while Jaggers has recorded three goals in 29 shots. Both ladies scored in each of the Bobcats' two opening MAC games over the weekend.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
This week Ohio swept the MAC Player of the Week awards. Hannah Jaggers was named the offensive player of the week while Sydney Malham took the defensive spot. Jaggers notched two game-winning goals over the weekend while recording five shots and four points in 112 minutes. Malham quickly found her spot on the Ohio squad and has been a brick wall in net. The freshman played all 180 minutes against Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan, logging 14 saves, a .933 save percentage and a .50 GAA while earning one shutout and allowing one goal. Malham's play helped the Bobcats come out over EMU for the first time since 2011 and CMU for the first time since 2008.
Rodgers commented that "it was a great honor for the team" that both his players were awarded following their performances, noting that the team has been putting the necessary work in and the whole group should feel honored.
The Bobcats return to Chessa Field on Thursday, Oct. 5 for a 4 p.m. match against Buffalo for the annual breast cancer awareness match where the team will don pink uniforms and ribbons.