One final game is all that stands between the Bobcats and conference play.
While Ohio is coming off an overtime loss to Ohio State Sunday, the vibe from practices all week is the self-belief that coach Stacy Strauss has pushed for throughout the season.
“Stacy definitely pushes in our mind to really have belief in each other as a team, and I think after Sunday that really grew, the belief and the confidence in each other,” sophomore goalkeeper Mattie Liston said.
The Bobcats (2-6) will take the field for their last non-conference game of the season when Indiana State visits Chessa Field today. Strauss said she expects the same level of play that the team showed against the Buckeyes.
“The expectation is to match the intensity, the communication, the physical play and overall team defending on Sunday and add to that with a couple goals,” she said.
For Strauss and the team, the majority of the week was spent fixing up a few areas and building on the confidence they have going into today’s game. Indiana State (3-5) lost to Central Michigan 2-0 and Ball State 2-1. Ohio will face both teams in conference play in a few weeks.
“There is just an overall understanding now of what we are capable of. I think there were a lot of the core group of players that knew prior to that,” Strauss said. “I think now everyone has seen it, and it’s tangible and we felt it and we can build on that.”
Ohio will have only one game this weekend and a full week off before conference play starts against Eastern Michigan next Friday.
The Bobcats have taken several things from the non-conference schedule, including a sense of the team’s capability.
“As we enter conference play, I think we need to ensure that we play the way we’re capable of playing,” Strauss said. “Our results have matched up in a sense with some of the better teams in the conference. I think we can fully expect to do well in conference play, we just have to take it one game at a time and keep doing better.”
“If we come out thinking every game is against Ohio State, that would be a really good goal for us, if we can come out and play just as hard, and thinking it’s just as important as other games, I think we’ll do well,” Liston said.