$restriction.code /sports/wsoc/2019-20/releases/20190821f6noo4

Ohio Soccer Opens 2019 Season at Home on Thursday 

Ohio Soccer Opens 2019 Season at Home on Thursday 

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ATHENS, Ohio– The Ohio soccer team opens the 2019 regular season with two games this weekend. The Bobcats open the season at home on Thursday, Aug. 22 against Eastern Kentucky. First touch is set for 4 p.m. at Chessa Field. Ohio will continue play on Sunday, Aug. 25 when the Bobcats head to Highland Heights, Ky. to take on Northern Kentucky. First touch is set for 7 p.m. at the NKU Soccer Stadium. 

HOW TO FOLLOW ALONG
Bobcat fans will be able to follow with the Bobcats this weekend. Ohio's game against EKU will be streamed on OhioBobcats.com, while Ohio and NKU can be seen on ESPN+

SCOUTING EASTERN KENTUCKY
Eastern Kentucky enters the matchup with Ohio after an 8-8-4 (4-3-3 OVC) campaign last season. The Colonels finished tied for second in the OVC and advanced past SIUE via penalty kicks in the quarterfinals of the OVC Tournament, before dropping a hard-fought match to No. 1 seed UT Martin, 3-2, in the semifinals. 

EKU was picked to finish third in the OVC in the 2019 OVC Preseason Poll. 

EKU is headed by first-year head coach Matt Cosinuke, who took over the program in January. EKU will have several key players back from last year's team, including senior midfielders Monica Rios (2018 second team All-OVC and OVC All-Tournament Team) and Marian Wolski (started all 20 games a year ago), sophomore forward Sarah Owusu (2018 OVC All-Newcomer Team) and sophomore goalkeeper Zoe Aguirre (2018 OVC All-Newcomer Team and OVC All-Tournament Team).

The Colonels begin the regular season after playing two exhibition games last weekend. EKU tied Dayton, 3-3 on Aug. 17, before falling to Miami, 4-0, on Aug. 18. 

SCOUTING NORTHERN KENTUCKY
The Norse finished their 2018 campaign with a 10-6-1 overall and 6-2-1 record in the Horizon League.

Shawna Zaken led the Norse last season with six goals and five assists.

This season, NKU returns 16 players from last year's team while welcoming nine newcomers. The Norse were also picked to finish second in the 2019 Horizon League Preseason Poll. 

NKU played two exhibitions games this past week, falling to Middle Tennessee, 2-1, before tying Morehead State, 1-1. 

NKU will play Lipscomb on Thursday (Aug. 22) before they face the Bobcats on Sunday (Aug. 25). 

LAST TIME OUT FOR OHIO
The Bobcats are coming off of a 6-1 victory over Youngstown State in an exhibition game last Friday. 

Four Bobcats scored for Ohio, including three goals from freshman Maddie Young (Cincinnati, Ohio). The Bobcats were led by Young who scored three goals on four attempts. Alivia Milesky (Plain City, Ohio) also recorded four shots with one assist, while Olivia Page also registered four shots as well as one assist. Sarina Dirrig (Powell, Ohio) recorded a goal on two shots, while Abby Townsend (Powell, Ohio) registered a goal and an assist on two attempts. Overall, the Bobcats saw 13 players record shots. 

In goal, junior Sydney Malham (Nashville, Tenn.) got the start, playing 45 minutes while did not allowing a goal or recording a save. Sophomore Sam Wexell (Irwin, Pa.) played 37 minutes, allowing one goal and making one save, while freshman Reese Dorsey (Howard, Ohio) played seven minutes and did not allow a goal or record a save.   

REWINDING LAST SEASON
The Bobcats are coming off of a successful 9-8-3 season with a 6-3-2 conference mark. The Bobcats were the fourth-seed in last season's MAC Tournament, advancing to the MAC Semifinals for the first time since 2004.

Last season, Ohio scored 24 goals and registered 27 assists for 75 total points. The Bobcats also recorded a .086 shot percentage and a .504 shots on goal percentage. 

The Bobcats return last year's leading scorer, Alivia Milesky (Plain City, Ohio), who finished the season with six goals, two assists and 14 points. The Bobcats will also return sophomore Abby Townsend (Powell, Ohio), who registered four goals and four assists, senior Sydney Leckie (Medina, Ohio) who recorded four goals and four assists, and sophomore Sarina Dirrig (Powell, Ohio), who scored four goals for Ohio. 

In net, junior Sydney Malham (Nashville, Tenn.) returns. Malham finished last season with a 0.89 goals against average and a .821 save percentage. 

PRESEASON POLL
The Ohio soccer team was selected to finish fifth in the 2019 Mid-American Conference Preseason Poll, in a vote of the league's coaches, the conference announced today (Aug. 19). 

With 84 points, the Bobcats were selected to finish above Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Central Michigan, Akron, Toledo, Miami and Northern Illinois. Selected to finish ahead of the Bobcats is last year's MAC champions, Bowling Green, followed by Ball State, Kent State and Buffalo. 

Bowling Green was selected to win the MAC regular season crown with 139 points and eight first-place votes. The Falcons were picked to win the 2019 MAC Tournament with six votes.

RETURNERS
Ohio is set to return 18 players from the 2018 squad. 

Seniors, Alivia Milesky (Plain City, Ohio), Victoria Breeden (Hudson, Ohio), Alli Miller (Dayton, Ohio), Sydney Leckie (Medina, Ohio) and Courtney Daugerdas (Libertyville, Ill.), all gear up for their final season in the Green and White. 

Juniors Sarina Dirrig (Powell, Ohio), Paige Knorr (Cincinnati, Ohio), Jenni Santacaterina (Geneva, Ill.), Paige Pappanastos (Orlando Park, Ill.) and Sydney Malham (Nashville, Tenn.) all return after a solid 2018. 

Also returning for the Bobcats are eight sophomores including Abby Townsend (Powell, Ohio), Sam Wexell (Irwin, Pa.), Olivia Sensky Powell, Ohio), Maeve Maloney (Lebanon, Ohio), Haley Miller (Cincinnati, Ohio), Taylor Dickerson (Cincinnati, Ohio), Morgan Collica (Aurora, Ohio) and Lindsey Townsend (New Albany, Ohio). 

NEWCOMERS
The Bobcats welcome 10 newcomers to the roster for 2019. 

Ohio welcome eight freshmen; Tristan Whalen (LaGrange, Ky.), Olivia Page (Springboro, Ohio), Olivia Darrow (Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio), Heather McGuire (Hamilton, Ohio), Jenna Kralik (Liberty Township, Ohio), Ellie Ferguson (County Meath, Ireland), Maddie Young (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Reese Dorsey (Howard, Ohio). 

Ohio also brought in two transfers for this coming season, Kelsey Adams (Farmington Hills, Mich.) and Konstantina Giannou (Riza Greese). 

Adams, a sophomore, comes to Ohio after playing one season at Liberty University. During her freshman year at Liberty, Adams played in 10 games, scoring one goal and recording one assist for three total points. She registered five shots, two shots on goal and had one game-winning goal. Adam's lone goal on the season game against Campbell, where she scored the only goal in the game, helping the Flames to their first win of the season. 

Giannou, a junior, played for two seasons at Ohio Valley University. In those two seasons, Giannou became the all-time career goals leader with 24 and all-time points leader with 60. During the 2018 season, Giannou scored 17 goals and registered six assists for 40 points. She resisted 71 shots and 40 shots on goal and was 3-for-3 in penalty kicks. Giannou's season helped the Fighting Scots to a 17-3-3 season and a trip to the NCAA DII Tournament. Giannou was named to the Great Midwest All-Conference Second Team. In 2017, she was named Second Team All-Midwest Region Team, Great Midwest All-Conference First Team, and Great Midwest Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year.

UP NEXT
The Bobcats will return to Chessa Field on Friday, Aug. 30 to host Cleveland State at 4 p.m. Ohio will then head to Huntington, W. Va. on Sunday, Sept. 1 to take on Marshall at 1 p.m. 

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