KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Michaela Dorsey and Allie Englant walked into the postgame press conference teary-eyed.
Their season had just come to an end in Ohio’s 5-1 loss to No. 10 Tennessee on Sunday at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium.
A tear might have even been in the eye of coach Jodi Hermanek, but the normally reserved coach kept most of her emotions back.
Even with all the emotions of a final game in a season — and a career for some — positives can be drawn from the game.
“Tough to be on the end that we are,” Dorsey, a redshirt junior, said. “But no better place. We took our program pretty far, farther than in past years. Just to get here is an amazing feeling.”
Getting to the championship series at the NCAA Tournament's Knoxville Regional after losing the first game capped a great run for Ohio.
The Bobcats finally won the Mid-American Conference Tournament after two seasons of falling short in the championship series. The Bobcats finally won their first games — and their second — in NCAA Tournament play. And moving forward, the Bobcats will look to repeat this process and return next year.
“We’ve got quite a few juniors,” Dorsey said. “We know what it’s like to come to regionals and win a few games.”
In Ohio’s first win Saturday against Monmouth, a 2-run home run by Katie Yun gave the Bobcats their first ever lead in the NCAA Tournament.
Going into the matchup against the host Tennessee, Ohio knew it was going to have to start early.
In the second inning, Yun started an Ohio rally with a single, and Natalie Alvarez followed that with a fielder’s choice. Two batters later, Dorsey hit a single up the middle, her fifth of the regional.
With the Bobcats having their first runner in scoring position, Hermanek pinch ran Deanna Cole for Alvarez.
“I just knew runs were going to be precious,” Hermanek said.
Englant then came to the plate, slapping a single to right field, scoring Cole. Englant had a solid Regional, getting three hits and hitting the ball hard mostly every time at the plate.
“I was trying to watch it as long as I can to see if it actually went through,” Englant said. “It did, and I was so ecstatic.”
That first run took some nerves away from Ohio at the plate, but even with a more relaxed mindset, the Bobcats weren’t able to push any more runs across.
Lady Vol starter Caylan Arnold struck out eight while only allowing four hits. She kept he Bobcats potent offense in check for most of the game.
And even though Danielle Stiene gave up five runs, only one was earned. Stiene, even with eight hits allowed, held Tennessee under wraps.
The Lady Vols lineup is powerful, led by Meghan Gregg with 18 home runs coming into Sunday’s game, with two of those coming in the two Regional games.
Even with that, Stiene kept the ball in the park.
“I thought Dani gave a hell of an effort,” Hermanek said.
And with the effort put forth in the NCAA Tournament, winning the program’s first two games. Positives can be taken away from the Bobcats' tournament run, which is always a good sign for things ahead.