After eight nonconference games, the Ohio Bobcats will begin MAC play this weekend. Ohio will host Akron on Friday at 4 p.m. and Buffalo on Sunday at 1 p.m.
“Akron is a team a lot like us,” Ohio coach Aaron Rodgers said. “They like to possess the ball, take a methodical approach and have a great forward. Buffalo has gotten off to a good start and has a lot of energy about them. Both of these teams didn’t make the MAC Tournament last season, so they’ll be looking to get off to a good start like us.”
Last time out, Ohio suffered a 4-0 defeat at Dayton. Ohio created a couple of chances early in the game, but it had no answer for Dayton’s attack.
“We weren’t able to convert the chances we had,” Ohio senior Liz Finley said. “They pressured us a lot, and after the first goal, we let down our energy. We have to keep getting at teams no matter what.”
For Rodgers, he didn’t learn anything new about his team following the heavy defeat. He said that he knows what the team is capable of doing during the course of games. He also thinks this defeat will not carry over into MAC play.
“It’s a clean slate for us,” he said. “To accomplish our goals for the season, we have to play well in our conference.”
After missing some of last season and the first eight games of this season, Ohio midfielder Erin Feeney will be available for selection. Feeney, a senior, is coming off an ACL injury. Rodgers is pleased to have her back.
“She’s a good player,” Rodgers said. “She was able to contribute a lot last season before her injury. We definitely missed her presence in the midfield.”
Last season, Ohio tied Akron, 2-2, and defeated Buffalo, 1-0. Rodgers knows that this weekend presents a huge opportunity for Ohio (3-5-0) to get off to a strong start in MAC play.
“It’s a huge weekend for us,” he said. “These are two games we should win. If we can get six points from these two games, it’ll be a phenomenal start.”
Akron (4-3-1) is unbeaten in its last four games. The Zips have won two away games so far this season. Sarah Sivic, Karina Atkinson and Amy Dean have each scored two goals this season.
Buffalo (4-2-1) has lost its last two games. The Bulls have won one away game this season. Sophomore forward Celina Carrero has two goals and two assists so far this season.
If Ohio is to make a positive start to MAC play, it needs to capitalize on goal-scoring opportunities.
“If we can score goals, we’ll win our games,” Rodgers said. “Of course I want to keep clean sheets, but we need to score to win.”