For the second consecutive game, the Ohio Bobcats needed a penalty shoot-out to decide a winner. Unfortunately, they were on the short end of the stick this time around, as Ohio State defeated the Bobcats 1-0 (3-2 SO) at Pruitt Field.
Even though Ohio State out-shot the Bobcats 15-14, and achieved a 10-7 advantage in penalty corners, Ohio kept fighting and was looking to get the game-winning goal in overtime.
Head Coach Neil Macmillan spoke about the fitness levels of the players, as this was their second overtime game in four days.
“The positive side to this is that we had our chances and we were just unlucky,” said Macmillan. “Luli (Gomez Teruel) hit the post with that one try and I think that’s indicative of our fitness. We rely on it to get us to a point but we have to address the finishing.”
While using their fitness to their advantage in the second overtime period, Ohio (3-3) earned two penalty corners. Senior Taylor Brown had a chance go sailing over the goal, while Gomez Teruel had the best chance of the game for either side, as her shot from the right side of the circle hit the post.
In the shoot-out, Brown gave the Bobcats a good start, as her delicate chip shot over goalkeeper Emma Voelker gave the Bobcats a 1-0 lead.
With the score tied 2-2, Ohio’s fifth and last chance went begging, as Laura Mastro had an open net, but she pushed the shot to the right of the goal. Ohio State (3-3) capitalized on their fifth shot to drop Ohio back to the .500 mark.
Sophomore goalkeeper Brittany Walker had two saves in the shoot-out and finished the contest with eight saves. Macmillan was full of praise for the young goalkeeper from Pennsylvania.
“Brittany has developed quickly and stepped in with a lot of confidence that she gained from last weekend,” said Macmillan. “Our defense was strong again tonight but she made saves off corners that were all her.”
The first half between these in-state rivals was scoreless, but both teams had opportunities to strike first. Just before the ten minute mark of the first half, Cathryn Altdoerffer blasted a shot from close range, and before that, Ohio State’s Berta Queralt hit a shot on-target in the ninth minute. Both keepers, Walker and Voelker, stood up to the challenge well to keep their respective teams in the game early on.
The best scoring chance in the first half came in the 21st minute, when Brown while running up the sideline with possession of the ball, looked up, and spotted teammate Nicole van Batenburg making a run towards the far post. Just as she does so often, Brown sent in a low cross, van Batenburg got a stick to it, but her shot trickled past the far post.
In the final six minutes of the second half, the Bobcats peppered the Buckeye goal in search for a winner. The offensive spell came into effect after Ohio State was awarded two penalty corners.
After 70 minutes of play, the Bobcats went into overtime to try and search for a winner under the lights of a packed house at Pruitt Field.
Macmillan also spoke about his delight with the defensive performances.
“Adele (Sammons) played exceptionally well and she has done that so far this season,” said Macmillan. “It has a lot to do with her experience from playing in England. Lauryl (Desch) also had a strong game at the back as well with Marissa and Riley (Higgins) on the opposite side.”
Ohio State started the stronger of the two teams in the overtime period, forcing Walker to make a couple of fine saves. Walker proved to be a very dependable last line of defense for the Bobcats, as she kept another clean sheet.
Macmillan also looked ahead to the fixture with Robert Morris on Saturday.
“They beat us last year, 1-0, so we have to finish,” said Macmillan. “They have some good players, including two Aussie’s, who are comfortable playing on this surface.”
The Bobcats will look to get back on track at home, as they host the aforementioned Colonials of Robert Morris. Start time is set for 1 p.m.
Player of the Game: Brittany Walker. Another superb performance from the sophomore stopper. She kept her team in the game, and it is a shame her offense could not put one in the back of the net. She continues to get better every week, and she is becoming an integral part in the Bobcats success this season. She will look to continue her current run of form, as Robert Morris will provide another challenge for the young goalkeeper.
Ohio State Verdict: After losing two games in a row, they showed grit and toughness to narrowly escape Athens with a win. They out-shot the Bobcats, and Walker was the busier goalkeeper, but this was not an easy win by any stretch of the imagination. This win could be the springboard they need if they want to make the post-season again.
Ohio Verdict: Even though their defense and goalkeeper were outstanding, they were wasteful in front of goal. The killer instinct was missing, and that was ultimately their downfall. Coach Macmillan is not worried about fatigue, even though they have played in two straight penalty shoot-outs. They will look to avenge their loss against Robert Morris last year, as they will not want to fall below .500.