Fresh off its first shutout of the season in a 1-0 victory against Youngstown State last Friday, the Ohio women’s soccer team will be hoping to continue its superb run of form on Friday.
For the Bobcats, this will be their last test before conference play begins.
The Ohio Bobcats (4-2-1) will look to end the non-conference part of their schedule on a high note when they travel to Northeast Ohio to take on the Cleveland State Vikings (5-4-0) at 7 p.m.
During their four-game winning streak, the ‘Cats have scored 11 goals and conceded three times. Ohio head coach Aaron Rodgers could not be any happier with the way his team is playing at the moment.
“Winning always breeds confidence,” Rodgers said. “We want to continue to stay confident. We’re getting more and more familiar with each other and the players know what is required of them, which also breeds confidence. If the players continue to do what is asked of them, the results will follow.”
The team has been wanting to get a shutout for quite some time, and senior central midfielder Maggie Murnane believes more shutouts will start to come more regularly.
“It felt good to get our first shutout of the season,” Murnane said. “It’s nice to know that your competitors can’t score on you every game. Gabby (Hausfeld) played her heart out last week, Tonya (Frasik) did well, Grace (Campbell) and (Erin) Wrubel played a part in the shutout, too. They played with a drive to not let the other team score. They were sliding for the ball and going for everything. Mattie (Liston) made some big saves, too.”
The team has been working on playing at a quicker pace throughout their practices at Peden Stadium this week. The Bobcats want to be able to change the point of attack and make the game predictable by defending with all 11 players on the pitch.
After winning its first two matches of the season, including a 2-1 home win against Bowling Green, the Vikings dropped four straight before winning their last three games. The Vikings have yet to register a road victory, but they have yet to fall at home so far this season.
Cleveland State has scored 16 goals on 101 shots through nine games. The Vikings have recorded 12 assists and attempted 27 corner kicks, as well.
Sophomore forward Vickie Havas will be the one player Ohio must keep an eye on. The striker has scored four goals and added three assists. Senior defender Frederike Dubeau will be hoping to slow down Ohio’s offense.
Rodgers had a lot of good things to say about the Viking’s roster.
“They’re a team that defends well,” Rodgers said. “They have a few athletic players who will cause problems for us. We need to press our style onto them. Playing an in-state team at their place will be a good challenge for us.”
The Bobcats will start conference play at home next week, but taking a five-game winning streak with them to conference play is something that Rodgers wants his team to do.
“It’s important to end our non-conference schedule on a positive note,” he said. “If we win on Friday, we’ll have a fair amount of wins, and that will set us up for conference play. When we enter conference play, we’ll be starting at 0-0 again. Our goal is to end non-conference play on a strong note.”
For Friday, the Bobcats will need to play solid defensively and take advantage of their scoring opportunities to end their non-conference schedule with a five-game winning streak.
“We have to play well as a team and score goals against Cleveland State,” Murnane said. “If we do both, we could have a big shutout win on Friday.”