Bobcats lose heartbreaker in conference opener

Melanie Kahn’s 80th-minute goal gave the Kent State Golden Flashes an ideal start to conference play, as they defeated the Ohio Bobcats by a score of 2-1 in overtime.

Kahn beat sophomore goalkeeper Brittany Walker on a breakaway, and the Bobcats now face an uphill battle to qualify for the Mid-American Conference Tournament in November.

Taylor Brown goes for a loose ball Friday vs. Kent State. (Photo by Ohio Athletics)

Despite falling back to the .500 mark and being out-shot by Kent State 12-10, Ohio had a 9-5 advantage in penalty corners in the match. Taylor Brown led the Bobcats with six shots, five of which were on target. Cathryn Altdoerffer had two shots on target, and Laura Mastro also had one shot on target.

The goalkeepers played well for both sides, as Walker had five saves for Ohio and Jahna Jordan had six saves for the home side.

Just as they did against Robert Morris last Saturday, Ohio (4-4, 0-1 MAC) started the better of the two teams, as a Brown goal assisted by Altdoerffer gave the Bobcats a quick 1-0 lead over their MAC rivals.

In the 17th minute, Ohio almost doubled their lead as Brown, who was searching for her and her team’s second goal, unleashed a shot that was saved by Jordan.

Ohio was playing well the majority of the half, but Kent State (5-6, 1-0 MAC) answered back on their first penalty corner of the game. In the 24th minute, Sabrina Binder found Alexis Madiera, and Madiera found Julia Hofmann, whose shot went past Walker into the back of the net to level the score at one.

Right before the halftime interval, Hofmann was looking to get onto the score sheet for the second time in the game, but Walker made a fine save to keep the score 1-1 going into the break.

Kent State came out the better of the two sides in the second half, as they created three straight penalty corner situations, but Ohio’s stout defense stood up to the challenge to keep the score tied at one.

In the 45th minute, Jessica Jue found Brown via a penalty corner, but Jordan made another key save for Kent State.

Jue and Brown tried their luck on another penalty corner in the 47th minute, but Jordan stood tall once again.

In the 59th minute, Kahn tried to give the Golden Flashes a lead, but Walker’s save kept the score the same.

After 70 minutes, the score was tied 1-1, and Ohio was going into overtime for the third time in the last four games.

Laura Mastro tried to be the hero for the ‘Cats in the 73rd minute, but Jordan’s save ensured the game would still continue.

Then, in the 80th minute, Melanie Kahn sent the Kent State fans into a frenzy, as her goal gave Kent State the start they wanted in conference play, while Ohio will look to get their first conference win in a couple weeks’ time.

The Bobcats will look to get back on track at Pruitt Field, as they welcome the #10 Northwestern Wildcats to town on Sunday. Start time is set for 12 p.m.

Player of the Game: Melanie Kahn. She will take the plaudits from her team and fans, as her goal sealed the deal tonight. She almost ended the game earlier in the 59th minute, but nonetheless, she was spectacular. If she keeps up this pace, the Golden Flashes will have a good chance to go to Oxford and win the MAC tournament.

Kent State Verdict: A great start for them in conference play. They showed great character in the way they fought back from a goal down. They have put themselves in a good position to qualify for Oxford. In the post-game press conference on Saturday against Robert Morris, Bobcat head coach Neil Macmillan spoke very highly of the Golden Flashes. It’s easy to see why.

Ohio Verdict: Eight games in, and they have yet to win back-to-back games. They started fast, but could not close the deal like they did against Colgate in the season opener. They have put themselves in a hole in conference play, and the Ball State encounter on Oct. 6 is a must-win if they have any hope of reaching Oxford. Taylor Brown looked her normal self, and Brittany Walker is still playing well. The Bobcats need to be ruthless in front of the goal if they want to reach the same heights they did last season.

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