Last second schedule change brings Delaware and Liberty to Bird Arena
Coming off last weekend’s road clash against No. 10 Iowa State that ended in a split, No. 8 Ohio was expecting to ease into its long home stand with a pair of games against winless Ithaca College.
A sudden cancellation by Ithaca, however, opened the door for competition in the forms of Delaware (9-5-2) and Adrian College (7-5), an ACHA Division II and Division III team, respectively. The Bobcats will attempt to remain undefeated at Bird Arena when they square off against Delaware on Friday and then Adrian College on Saturday, as both games start at 7:30 p.m.
Although Ohio is a D-I club team, coach Sean Hogan insists that both Delaware and Liberty are “higher end Division II teams.”
“They’ll be quality opponents,” Hogan said. “We’ve just got to be ready to go regardless of who we play against.”
Although Ohio hasn’t played either team yet this season, the program’s D-II squad split a doubleheader on the road against Liberty back in early October.
According to forward •Nathan De La Torre, the mindset is the same in the locker room. He’s scored six goals and added five assists to pace the Bobcats this season.
“Our expectations are the same every weekend,” said De La Torre. “We just go out and try to play our game.” De La Torre comes into the weekend tied for fourth in scoring on the Bobcats, registering six goals and five assists in 12 games so far this season.
Despite being a large favorite on paper, Ohio (9-2-1) prepares to enter this weekend’s games like any other. Last weekend’s tough test against Iowa State helped the Bobcats build towards future success. Despite losing in overtime Friday, Ohio won Saturday’s game to earn •four of six possible points on the weekend is hoping to bring that success back home in the form of momentum.
Oftentimes, facing a challenging opponent can show a team what it needs to improve upon for the future.
“I think consistency is the biggest thing,” Hogan said about what he’s looking for the most out of Ohio. He said being more consistent would give the team a “really good shot at being good in the long term.”
One cause for concern for the Bobcats is the injury suffered by goalie Aaron Alkema last weekend. Hogan stated that he doesn’t think the injury is very severe and that he’ll be okay.
Alkema has shared time in the net with fellow goalie Ryan Heltion, who has made 87 saves in five games played, earning a team-high .946 save percentage.
“If he had to go this weekend, we could play him,” Hogan said. “But I think he’ll be out this weekend and ready to go the following weekend.”