ATHENS, Ohio—The 5th seed Ohio field hockey team (4-11, 2-4) is set to take on the 4th seed Ball State in the first quarterfinal match of the MAC Tournament. The game against the Cardinals will start at 10:30 a.m. at the Miami Field Hockey Complex in Oxford, Ohio.
JOHNSTONE ERA BEGINS
The Ohio field hockey program began a new era this season as Ali Johnstone made her debut as head coach of the Bobcats.
Johnstone, a former Bobcat standout and member of the Kermit Blosser Ohio Athletics Hall of Fame, returns to Athens after spending the last six years on the coaching staff at Northwestern -- including the last four as the associate head coach. Johnstone's coaching staff consists of first-year assistant Louisa Boddy and second-year assistant Andrea Rinehart.
NEW CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT FORMAT
By virtue of winning last season's league tournament title, Miami will host to the 2018 MAC Championship Oct. 31-Nov. 3) in Oxford. All seven teams will qualify for the conference tournament this season, with the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds receiving byes to the semifinals. The No. 6 and No. 7 seeds will face off in a play-in game, with the winner taking on the No. 3 seed in the quarterfinals. The No. 4 and No 5 seeds will matchup in the other quarterfinal contest. The 2018 MAC Championship Final will take place on Nov. 3, with the winner receiving an automatic bid to the 2018 NCAA Championship Field as conference champion. A total of 18 teams will qualify for the 2018 tournament. Ten teams will receive automatic bids by winning their conference tournaments and an additional eight teams will earn at-large bids. The national semifinals (Nov. 16) and championship match (Nov. 18) will be held at Louisville's Trager Stadium.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
This will be the Bobcats second match up with Ball State. The Cardinals are coming off a regular season loss to conference opponent Longwood 3-2. Ball State is led by Michelle Shampton who has scored 5 goals this season followed closely by Rachel Pereira with 4 goals. The Cardinals are averaging 7.2 shots per game, with a .569 shot on goal percentage and average of .88 goals per game. The Ball State defense has made 132 saves so far into this season, 112 of those saves were made by goalkeeper Grace Chavez.