The Ohio women’s soccer team (6-4-4, 2-2-2 MAC) is where it wants to be. The squad is currently in a position where it can qualify for the Mid-American Conference Tournament and, of their five remaining fixtures, three of them will take place at Chessa Field.
However, the ‘Cats will be challenged by two teams who are ahead of them in the MAC standings.
Fresh off a 1-0 victory away to Buffalo, the Bobcats will be hoping to make it two victories in a row when they host the Eagles of Eastern Michigan (7-6-1, 4-2-0 MAC) at Chessa Field for a 4 p.m. kickoff.
Before their contest against Buffalo, the Green and White was able to secure a 2-2 draw at Akron. A 4-point weekend in conference play was what Ohio head coach Aaron Rodgers was looking for, and he is hopeful more success will be on the way.
“Getting the results last weekend was awesome,” Rodgers said. “On Sunday, we found a way to win.”
In the draw against Akron, Alli Cislo found the back of the net to level the match at two. The freshman was glad she could help the team earn a potentially crucial draw away from Chessa Field.
“We needed that goal,” Cislo said. “It was the perfect opportunity to score a goal, and I just wanted to keep the shot low and on frame.”
The Bobcats are in a position they have wanted to be in since the start of the season, but Rodgers is expecting a lot of changes to occur in the conference standings before the regular season comes to a close.
“There is a lot of parity in the conference,” Rodgers said. “We are in a good place, and we have gotten points every weekend, which is something we must continue to do.”
Before Friday’s contest, Rodgers has made a couple of changes to his formation. In the end, Cislo believes the changes will be better for the team.
“The change in formation will allow us to attack more,” Cislo said. “We will also be able to defend as a team and control the ball better than we have been doing.”
In this week’s practices, the ‘Cats have been focusing on set pieces. The team has also played a couple of games, which they hope will allow them to get off to bright starts during their upcoming games.
Despite dropping two straight 1-0 matches, Rodgers is expecting a tough test from Eastern Michigan.
“They are a hard-working team,” Rodgers said. “They do a good job of keeping possession, and they also have good senior leadership.”
The Eagles have scored 30 goals so far this campaign, but they have also allowed 19 goals. The Eagles have yet to lose a road contest in conference play.
Cara Cutaia will be one player Rodgers and company must contain. The senior midfielder has scored seven goals and assisted on four others. Junior forward Angela Vultaggio has six goals and four assists to her name and junior forward Bianca Rossi has scored five goals for the Eagles.
As for Ohio, Holly Harris, Alexis Milesky, Maggie Murnane, Liz Finley and Cislo have each posted three goals so far this season. Harris and Carly Manso lead the team with nine total points. Mattie Liston has made 60 saves this season and has a 1.05 goals against average.
For the Bobcats to come out on top against the Eagles, the team will have to play a full 90-minute match.
“We must come out fast,” Rodgers said. “We have to take the game to them and keep possession of the ball. We also need to finish our chances and compete more than them.”