ATHENS, Ohio – The Ohio women's soccer team (8-6-3, 6-2-2) continued their strong play against Mid-American Conference foe Western Michigan (12-6-0, 6-4-0) on Sunday afternoon (Oct. 21) at Chessa Field. The Bobcats would come out of the game with the 2-0 victory, securing their second shutout of the weekend. The win officially clinches a top-four seed and a quarterfinal home match on Sunday, Oct. 28 in the 2018 MAC Tournament.
The victory also secured Ohio's first non-losing season and winning conference mark since 2009.
"We played a good half," head coach Aaron Rogers said regarding his halftime speech to the team. "We know that Western is a really good team and they've had some great results this year. One of the things we wanted them to know was that probably wasn't Westerns best half. We wanted them to know they would come out with something really good next half and wanted them to be prepared for that. We have to raise our game and build on what we have. We know the second goal was going to be a very vital goal. If we score, then great. If they score then they know they'll be in for a very big battle. Tactically, we didn't have a whole lot to talk about. It was more of a mental side of things that were important for us."
Sydney Leckie (Medina, Ohio) and the Bobcats' offense started the game strong. The pressure paid off when Leckie recorded her third goal of the season in the seventh minute. The goal was assisted by Madelyn Kah (Hamilton, Ohio) and it gave the Bobcats the early 1-0 lead.
The next attempted shot from Ohio was Abby Townsend (Powell, Ohio) in the 12thminute which was saved by Hannah Sargent of the Broncos. Alivia Milesky (Plain City, Ohio) continued to pressure the Broncos with two shots, one being saved by the goalie in the 25thminute and the other going just high of the net in the 39thminute.
WMU registered their first shot on goal early in the game by Grace Labadie and was saved by Ohio goalie Sydney Malham (Nashville, Tennessee) in the fourth minute. The Broncos continued to put pressure on the Bobcats recording seven shots in the first half, with no success.
At the half, Ohio led by one, with five shots on goal compared to WMU recording only two.
Townsend started the second half quickly, recording a shot in the 46thminute that went high of the net. The Broncos returned the fast pace, recording five shots in the first seven minutes of the half. Two of those shots were saved by Ohio's Malham with the other three going wide of the net.
The Bobcats retaliated quickly with Leckie and Milesky each recording a shot on goal in the 56th and 58thminute, both were saved by the Broncos Hannah Sargent. Kah joined in on the Bobcat action by taking a shot in the 60thminute that was blocked by the Broncos defense.
WMU received two corners and attempted three shots on goal during the 63rdand 64thminute. These shots were saved by Malham and Jenni Santacaterina (Geneva, Illinois), keeping the shutout.
Ohio gained back the momentum with three shots between the 60thand 65thminute. Milesky and Maria Collica (Solon, Ohio), who tied a Ohio recorded with three assists in the Bobcats' game against Northern Illinois on Thursday, had shots that went high of the net and Santacaterina's shot was saved by the goalie.
As the game came to a close, Sarina Dirrig (Powell, Ohio) recorded her fourth goal of the season for the Bobcats in the 81stminute. The play began when Townsend fired the ball at the WMU keeper, which then bounced off the keeper, right the a charging Dirrig, who pushed it past Sargent, giving Ohio the late 2-0 lead.
The Bobcats' defense would hold strong the remaining nine minute of play, securing the 2-0 victory.
Overall, the Bobcats and Broncos both recorded 19 shots, however Ohio was able to transfer two of those into goals.
Up next, the Bobcats will be in Athens on Thursday, October 25thto close out the regular season when Ohio hosts MAC foe Kent State. First touch is set for 3 p.m. at Chessa Field.