Ohio fell to Villanova 5-3 on Sunday afternoon in the opening of Villanova Stadium in Villanova, Pennsylvania.
Ohio (2-6) tied the game in the 47th minute but could not hold on as two late goals by Villanova (1-7) left the Bobcats heading home without a win in a game the Bobcats outshot the Wildcats.
Ohio’s offense disappeared for two stretches against Villanova where it suffered long lulls between offensive productivity. After the first shot of the game by freshman Brittany Keen at the 2:46 mark, there was no other shot until another one by Keen at the 20:16 mark.
During that time, Villanova scored two goals and took control of the game, forcing Ohio to try to stop the deficit from increasing.
After Kendall Ballard scored a penalty stroke in 47th minute, the Bobcats were held without a shot until the 61st minute during which the Wildcats’ Francesca Bello scored the game-winning goal.
Focus of the offense
Ballard was a part of all three goals scored by the Bobcats on the day. She scored two goals and had one assist against Villanova and leads the team with seven goals for the season in addition to being second on the team in assists, with three.
Ballard tallied Ohio’s first goal in the 24th minute to cut Villanova’s deficit to one goal. In the 45th minute Ballard assisted a Kristen Buchanan goal that cut the deficit to one again after Villanova had extended the score to 3-1.
Keen, a true freshman, is tied for second on the team with three goals and has been a big part of the Bobcats offense.
Keen only attempted two shots against Villanova with neither one on target but will get more chances as defenses pay more attention to the stellar season Ballard has had.
“She’s got great awareness of where to run, the angles that she runs on are very, very smart, she’s got a very good game sense,” coach Neil MacMillan said at practice Tuesday.
Ohio only used one substitute last Sunday against Towson, MacMillan said Tuesday that he needs to improve the team depth as it prepares for the future.
Six substitutes were used against Villanova, including two who played more time than the starting players.
Three of the substitutes are freshmen and two are sophomores who are gaining experience of playing college-level field hockey.
Up until this game Ohio was being out-shot by five shots a game but they were finally able to out-shoot their opponent. It didn’t help the Bobcats get the win but getting fifteen shots in the game is an improvement from the average of 9.7 shots a game.
The Ohio defense held Villanova to 12 shots in the game but the Wildcats were able to cache in on their nine shots on-target while the Bobcats only scored three of their 10 shots on-target.
Ohio returns to Pruitt Field on Sept. 25 when it faces Ball State looking for a second home win this season.