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Soccer: 'Cats look to capitalize on scoring chances


Coach Stacy Strauss has spent an uncommon amount of time during practice this week on getting the Bobcats to score more often on their chances in front of the goal.

During a typical week of practice, the soccer team focuses on possession-oriented drills and the tactical side of the game, but after the team's inability to score, the week was spent correcting that problem.

“This week has been focused all on finishing, with scoring breakaways, close range goals,” Strauss said. “We’re encouraging the players to want the ball and take chances.”

The Bobcats didn’t shy away from working on the possession of the team and the control of the ball, Strauss said. With passing drills as an emphasis this offseason, the team has become faster in its playing speed.

“We are a possession-based team; we work a lot on keeping the ball and having a tight defense,” Strauss said. “We want the players to become quicker with their passing.”

Ohio will step onto unfamiliar grass against the West Virginia Mountaineers tomorrow, a much tougher opponent than Ohio has faced in the past few spring games.

“West Virginia went really far in the NCAA tournament last year. They're a really strong team that is going to be a good test for us,” Strauss said.

The Mountaineers have sustained a successful program, winning the Big East championship and progressing to the round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament last fall. Ohio's freshman goalkeeper Mattie Liston was cited as a player who will need to have a big game, Strauss said.

“We will have to defend tight and shut things down,” Strauss said. “We really need to have a solid performance and make the most of our chances.”

Strauss said she finds it easier to motivate her players for these games with the Bobcats’ typical competitive attitude. The exhibition games offer the opportunity for players to challenge for starting positions and to try out different formations for the team.

“There is such a large group of rising seniors,” Strauss said. “They really understand what these games mean and the competitiveness you need to have.”

After starting every game of her freshman season, Liston is challenged by Rachel Fryan and Kelsey Warren for the starting role. The competitiveness of the keepers aids the team and raises the level of play, Strauss said.


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