ATHENS, Ohio—The Ohio women's soccer team (6-7-1, 3-2-1 MAC) continues an extended road portion of the season this weekend when the team travels to Western Michigan (8-4-1, 3-2-1 MAC) on Friday, Oct. 13 and Northern Illinois (7-5-1, 4-2-0 MAC) on Sunday, Oct. 15. Friday's match is set to begin at 4 p.m. with Sunday's match kicking off at 1 p.m.
The Bobcats are "pushing to finish the season at [their] very best" says head coach Aaron Rodgers. Ohio has found ways to fight through the grit of the Mid-American Conference this season with the most recent example being the Bobcats 5-0 victory over Akron on Sunday. The match saw Allie Curry (Fairfield, Ohio) and Hannah Jaggers (Taylorsville, Ky.) continue to blow away opponents with Curry registering her sixth goal of the year and Jaggers earning her fourth and fifth. Olivia Sency (Medina, Ohio) and Paige Pappanastos (Orland Park, Ill) each recorded their first Bobcat goals as well. Rodgers attributes the result to the hard work he's seeing at practice.
"Really happy with where our team is right now," Rodgers said. "The players are all focused on being their very best individually and as a team. The training sessions have been intense and productive with each player pushing her teammates."
Ohio enters the weekend tied for second in the MAC-East behind Kent State. With the season quickly winding down, the Bobcats are fighting for their place in the postseason.
LAST TIME AGAINST WESTERN MICHIGAN
Ohio hosted the Broncos last season, falling 2-0. WMU kept the Bobcat's chances limited, holding the Ohio squad to five shots and four shots on goal. Western Michigan managed to fight their way through the defense, putting up 19 shots with 12 on goal. The Broncos' goals both came in the first half from Tiffany Buckler. First was in the 19th minute where she was able to rebound a ball off an Ohio defender and slot it in. Then, in the 38th minute, Buckler chipped the goalkeeper to give her side the insurance goal.
In net for the Bobcats was Erin Beurket (Millford, Ohio) who ended the match with six saves on eight shots. For WMU was Stephanie Heber who earned four saves in the shutout. Sydney Leckie (Medina, Ohio) was the top Bobcat, finishing with two shots on goal through the contest.
SCOUTING WESTERN MICHIGAN
The Broncos are currently fourth in the MAC-West behind Ball State, Northern Illinois and Toledo. The team is coming off a mixed result week that saw WMU fall 1-0 to Ball State on Thursday, Oct. 5 and win 1-0 against on Sunday, Oct. 8. WMU led in shots 13-12 against the Cardinals on Thursday but ultimately couldn't find an opening. Heber recorded five saves through 90 minutes, allowing Ball State's game-winner in the 46th minute. Sunday was a different story, with Alyssa Burke scoring WMU's winning goal in the 17th minute after running up the left line, finding space in the center and finding the back of the net. The Broncos again led the shots column 15-10. Heber recorded four saves through 90 minutes.
Top threat this season for the Broncos is Grace Labadie who has four goals and 14 shots on goal in 32 shots on the season with one assist. Behind her a Buckler and Emma Kahn who each have two goals. Buckler has five shots on goal through 14 shots and two assists while Kahn has 13 shots on goal in 26 shots. All three ladies have started all 13 matches for WMU.
LAST TIME AGAINST NORTHERN ILLINOIS
Last season Ohio fell 2-1 to the Huskies at home at Chessa. The Bobcats limited NIU's chances to three shots throughout the entire matches but the Huskies capitalized when it mattered. The opening goal came in the 12th minute when the Huskies' Taylor Sarver found space in the right side of the 18-yard box and shot one in past Beurket. Sarver then scored again in the 23rd minute from and overhead lob, again finding the back of the net. Ohio's goal came in the 82nd minute when Remi Eades beat Huskies goalkeeper Amy Annala in a penalty kick. The Bobcats tried to rally in the closing minutes but failed to tie the score, ending with 17 shots, 11 shots on goal. Beurket ended the match with one save on three shots on goal. Annala faced 11 shots on goal, making 10 saves.
SCOUTING NORTHERN ILLINOIS
The Huskies are second in the MAC-West, coming off a winning week where the team beat out Miami 2-1 in overtime on Thursday at home. The team then traveled to Ball State on Sunday, winning 3-2 in overtime. Haley Hoppe opened scoring against Miami in the 39th minute off a corner from Lauren Gierman. Miami tied things up in the 78th minute but Allie Ingham was able to score off a goalkeeper's dropped ball two minutes into overtime to give her side the victory. NIU finished the match with three shots on goal and 15 total shots. Annala's only faced shot throughout the match was Miami's goal. Sunday's closely contested match saw the Huskies' Sammy O'Brien, Gierman and Kyleigh Dominguez score in the 16th, 86th and 93rd minutes respectively. Ball State fought hard, opening the game with a goal in the 7th minute and holding the lead for the majority of the contest after scoring again in the 18th. NIU finished with 11 shots and eight shots on goal. The Huskies had a goal change in the 26th minute, pulling starter Annala in favor of Megan Donnally. Annala allowed two goals with zero saves while Donnally made one stop.
NIU is 1-4-1 when playing at home this season and 6-1-0 when on the road. Top scoring threats are Taylor Sarver with three goals, one assist, eight shots on goal through 11 shots and Hoppe with three goals, one assist, six shots on goal through 17 shots. Primary goalkeeper this season has been Annala who is 6-4-1 with four shutouts through 1,140 minutes and 13 starts. Annala has allowed 16 goals, made 46 saves and has a 1.26 GAA and 0.742 save percentage. Backing her up is Donnally who is 1-0-0 on the year through 67 minutes. She has one save.
IN THE MAC
The Bobcats are tied for second in the MAC-East behind Kent State (9-4-1, 5-1-0 MAC). Ohio is in fifth for shots with 84 (14 per game) and second in points with 35 (5.83 per game). Ohio is also tied for first in goals with 12 and in third for assists with 11 as well las being tied for fourth in goals allowed with six (one per game). The goalkeeping duo of Beurket and Sydney Malham (Nashville, Tenn.) is in fifth for goals against average with 0.96 per game and are in seventh in saves with 27. The two are also tied for second in shutouts with three.
Hannah Jaggers (Taylorsville, Ky.) and Allie Curry (Fairfield, Ohio) have dominated the front line for Ohio this season. Curry has six goals and two assists on 31 shots while Jaggers has recorded five goals in 43 shots.
The Bobcats have been awarded the United Soccer Coaches Team Academic Award for the 2016-17 school year. The Bobcats earned a 3.43 team grade point average. This is the seventh-straight year that the Bobcats have earned the honor, and the fifth time under current head coach, Aaron Rodgers.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Ohio has swept the MAC Player of the Week awards. Jaggers was named the offensive player of the week for Sept. 25 while 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.
The Bobcats return home on Thursday, Oct. 19 to host the Bowling Green Falcons at 3 p.m. at Chessa Field