Following a 1-0 defeat against Indiana and a 1-1 double-overtime draw against Wright State, Ohio women’s soccer head coach Aaron Rodgers is hopeful that his squad can add a victory before they hit the road for the first time this season.
Unfortunately for the Bobcats, they will have to beat a team that they have never beaten before.
For the third straight contest, the Ohio women’s soccer team will play in front of their home fans at Chessa Field as they will do battle against the DePaul Blue Demons at 4 p.m. on Friday.
Even though the team has yet to win a match this season, Rodgers believes the team has a bright future.
“Coming into this season, we wanted to improve in every training session and in every game,” Rodgers said. “In our games against Indiana and Wright State, we had the ball more than they did, and we created many chances. We are making great strides, and we were unfortunate not to win against Wright State. We have a good base, and I hope to continue to build on that.”
Sophomore center-back Grace Campbell, who is one of two Bobcats to play every minute of every match so far, is also confident that the team will continue to improve and win matches.
“We’ve been passing the ball well and gotten to our spots defensively,” Campbell said. “We’ve been working on those two aspects of the game since Spring. It’s only a matter of time before we start getting results and showing that we are the better team on the field.”
The Bobcats know that if they want to keep improving, they will have to work on various aspects of their game during Coach Rodgers’ training sessions. Rodgers has worked with the team in many areas to prepare for Friday’s contest.
‘We’ve spent a lot of time on set pieces,” Rodgers said. “We’ve also been working on winning the first and second ball that comes into play. The team has also worked on finishing chances in the attacking third, as well.”
Besides set pieces and finishing their chances, Rodgers has also given the team some words of wisdom.
“Coach Rodgers has told us to stay driven, stay determined and to work hard,” Campbell said. “Coach has also told us to pay close attention to detail. If we can pay close attention to detail, it will all add up for us.”
If Ohio wants to win its first game of the season, they will have to contain DePaul’s attack and athleticism.
“They (DePaul) are similar to Indiana,” Rodgers said. “They will most likely run a 4-3-3 formation, which is something that should not surprise us. They have strong forwards who can cause teams trouble. This will be a good test for us.”
DePaul enters the game with a 1-1 record. After losing to Valparaiso by a score of 1-0, the Blue Demons bounced back with a 4-0 thrashing of St. Louis. Three of the four goals DePaul has scored this season have come in the second half.
With two goals in the team’s first two matches, Elise Wyatt comes in as the leading scorer for DePaul. Goalkeeper Alejandria Godinez has made eight saves so far for the Blue Demons.
For the Bobcats to be successful on Friday evening, Rodgers believes it starts with defense.
“We need to stay solid defensively,” Rodgers said. “We also need to be detailed-oriented on set pieces. The team will also have to connect on the chances we get throughout the match. If we can do those things, we should be in a good position to win the match.”