After winning their first game of the season Friday at Wright State and falling to Kentucky on Sunday, the Ohio Bobcats will play their first home game of the season this week.
Ohio will play Xavier at Chessa Field on Friday at 4 p.m. Ohio coach Aaron Rodgers was pleased with the way the team battled for 90 minutes against Wright State.
“We came out well against Wright State,” Rodgers said. “We created good chances throughout the game and weathered the storm at the end.”
With the team having one win under its belt, Rodgers thinks the team will face less pressure and play a free-flowing style of soccer the rest of the season.
“We knew that going to Kentucky was always going to be a difficult task for us,” he said. “I want to win and compete at the highest level, and I hope we can reach that level where we can compete against anyone.”
In the early practice sessions leading up to Friday’s game, Rodgers has helped the team work on its defensive shape and has assigned each player a role on the team, which includes integrating new players into new positions on the field. He said that the team is still growing tactically as a group, and he wants each player to push each other because he thinks that will help the team become better.
Including the game against Xavier (1-3-0), Ohio will play five of its next six games at Chessa Field. Rodgers thinks the team can use this as an advantage before the team gets into the routine of playing MAC teams.
“It’s always good to play at home,” Rodgers said. “Players can sleep in their own bed, go to class and get into a normal routine before a home game.”
Xavier has yet to play a home game this season. On Aug. 31, the team lost at MAC opponent Toledo, 1-0. In its most recent game, Xavier defeated IUPUI on Tuesday night, 2-0.
“After losing to Toledo, they’ll be gunning for us,” he said. “They are organized and have a good defense, so we’ll have to work hard to break them down and score goals.”
For Ohio (1-3-0), it will rely on Lexi Milesky to pick up where she left off from last weekend. Milesky’s spectacular goal was the difference against Wright State.
If Ohio is to win its first home game of the season, it will need to stay aggressive and make smart decisions on the field.
“We have to be organized on the defensive end,” Rodgers said. “We have to transition from defense to offense quickly, and we have to compete and take it personally on the field. We have to go for tackles and win the 50-50 balls.”