ATHENS, Ohio — Ohio women's soccer looks to continue a strong opening to the season when the team travels to High Point, N.C. on Friday, Aug. 25 to play a 7 p.m. match against the High Point Panthers. The Bobcats then come home on Sunday, Aug. 27 to host Cleveland State at 2 p.m. at Chessa Field. Sunday's home match will feature vuvuzela giveaway to all fans.
Ohio is coming off dual wins in the first two contests of the season, opening the season 2-0 for the first time in program history and giving them back-to-back shut outs for the first time since 2012.
The Bobcats downed Robert Morris on Friday, Aug. 18 with a 2-0 score thanks to Bryce Hueber (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Allie Curry (Fairfield, Ohio), then took down Butler for the first time in program history on Sunday thanks to a header from Hannah Jaggers (Taylorsville, Ky.).
Head coach Aaron Rodgers, attributes the weekend's achievements and team preparation to leadership among his players, pointing out that his players serve at the will of each other.
"This senior class and this junior class has been immense in their ability to welcome the younger players in and I've talked about it before and I continue to talk about it year after year after year, but the best type of leadership, especially in a competitive intensive environment, is servant leadership. It puts down your guard or the guard of the young people and they are open to be who they are," Rodgers said. "We have 25 people and when you come into this 25 people it doesn't matter if you're a senior or a freshman, we're all fighting for the same thing and so this upperclassmen group, they realize that they've learned it from when they were a freshman all the way to now and they're doing a phenomenal job at leading from a servant aspect and from the top," Rodgers said.
"Well I think obviously we had a great weekend this past weekend, it kinda gave us a good foundation to start from, I think it gave us some confidence but we also know that it's a long season ahead, Rodgers said. "Obviously 17 more season games and going into High Point who had a really good weekend, a win at [Appalachian State] and then a close loss at Georgia, so this will be their opening game of the season at home and it's going to be a double header with their men's team so they'll be really excited and motivated and it'll give us a great environment to play. They're a really great team, they were the regular season champions of their conference last year, obviously we played them here and loss a very close game in overtime, so we know what we can expect from them and it's going to be a very competitive, very hard-fought match. And then on Sunday, back home to Cleveland State. Cleveland State's having a very good season, they beat Kent State on Sunday at Kent so they're going to come in with a lot of confidence and provide a good test for us again."
LAST TIME AGAINST HIGH POINT
The Bobcats last saw the Panthers on Aug. 28, 2016 at Chessa Field. Ohio fell 2-1 in overtime with the lone Bobcat goal coming from Hueber. Callyn Loughrey and Kelsey Perrell scored for High Point. Ohio registered 14 shots with seven on goal to High Points' 12 shots and eight shots on goal.
SCOUTING THE PANTHERS
The Panthers opened the season at Appalachian State with a 1-0 victory. Maggie Gruber (Hampstead, Md.) scored for the Panthers off an assist from Mackenzie Mullins (Mackenzie Flemington, N.J.) in the 17th minute. Alex Hank (Naples, Fla.) stood in goal, registering three saves through 90 minutes.
Two of the three top scorers from last season return for the Panthers. Bri Jean-Charles (New City, N.Y.) and Bailey Beattle (Summerfield, N.C.) each recorded four goals last season and each lady had a SOG percentage above .450. Hank also returns after finishing 2016 with a 12-6-2 record, 71 saves (.780 save percentage) and 0.99 GAA.
LAST TIME AGAINST CLEVELAND STATE
Ohio's last match against the Vikings was a 5-0 blowout at Cleveland State on Sept. 2, 2016 that saw four Bobcats score and all five goals come in the second half.
Alexis Milesky (Plain City, Ohio) scored twice while Madelyn Kah (Hamilton, Ohio), Megan Niebuhr (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Hueber also put points up for Ohio. Erin Beurket (Milford, Ohio) played in goal for the Bobcats, earning seven saves on seven shots on goal. The team's five goals were the most scored since 2013.
SCOUTING THE VIKINGS
Cleveland State is coming off tight matches on Friday and Sunday. On Friday the team played at Xavier and fell 3-2. Jenna Prathapa (Loveland, Ohio) and Aliani Lorenzo (Ewa Beach, Hawaii) scored for the Vikings. The team recorded 10 shots with six SOG. Jamie Daniels (Fairfield, Ohio) stood in goal, getting five saves on eight SOG. On Sunday the team played Kent State, winning 2-1. Prathapa and Grace Grant (Copley, Ohio) scored with Daniels earning four saves on five SOG.
The Vikings return two of their top threats from last year in Lorenzo (three goals, one assist) and Ashley Thiss (three goals) (Cincinnati, Ohio) along with their top keeper Daniels (5-12-0, 81 saves, .723 save percentage, 1.85 GAA).
Curry, Hueber, Milesky, Jaggers and Leckie all registered two points during the opening series. Jaggers, Hueber and Curry lead the team with one goal each, while Leckie and Milesky have both registered two assists.
In goal, Beurket and Malham have both split time in net, each playing 90 total minutes. Neither keeper has allowed a goal and have made a combined seven saves.
In the MAC
The Bobcats were the only team in the MAC to open the season with a 2-0 record.
Ohio is second in the MAC with 5.00 points per game and third with an average of 16.00 shots per game. The Bobcats rank first in assists with four and are tied for first in goals allowed with zero.
The Ohio women's soccer team has been selected to finish fourth in the Mid-American Conference's East Division in a vote of the league's head coaches, the MAC announced Monday, Aug. 14. Kent State was predicted to finish top of the MAC East followed by Buffalo and Miami. In the West, Ball State is expected to take first, followed by Central Michigan and Western Michigan. Ball State is also expected to win the MAC Championship this season, with Central Michigan and Kent State coming in second and third respectively.
The Bobcats go on the road for their next two matches, playing Xavier on Sunday, Sept. 3 and Marshall on Friday, Sept. 8.