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Ohio's Gabby Lorenzo fights for the ball during the Bobcats' game against Ohio State on Sept. 17. (FILE)

Field Hockey: Bobcats keep MAC Tournament hopes alive with 3-0 win over Ball State

Correction appended.

From the second the clock started Thursday, Ohio was in control, thanks to the team's seniors' influence. 

In the third minute, senior Rachel Kho received the ball on the right side, ran down the line and passed toward goal. Maria Russell knocked the ball to the waiting Kennedy Farr, who fired in her first career goal.

That goal was all the Bobcats needed, as they came away with a 3-0 triumph over Ball State in a must-win Mid-American Conference game.    

“Today was definitely one where we just gave it our all,” Farr said. “We pretty much said, 'We have nothing to lose today; let's just make this last home game a great game.'”

Less than five minutes after its first goal, Ohio capitalized on a Ball State mistake as Kendall Ballard picked up the ball near midfield and sprinted to the right side of the striking circle. She fired a pass across goal, where Karynne Baker fired in her fourth goal of the season without hesitation.  

“I told (the team) ... 'Just pretend it's the second half, and we're down 1-0,' because that seems to motivate us,” coach Neil Macmillan said. 

Ohio played its best in the first half — the Bobcats scored twice and did not allow the Cardinals to attempt a shot — but had control all game, outshooting Ball State 8-3 and maintaining a 4-2 advantage in penalty corners. In goal, Alex Pennington made three saves to preserve the team’s second shutout of the season and conference play. 

With the Bobcats already ahead by two, Russell scored — for the fourth straight game and sixth time this season — and finished off the game when she tapped in a rebound in the 39th minute.

The Bobcats have not gone winless at home since 1983 and came into Thursday's final home game 0-5 at Pruitt Field this year. Thursday's win preserved that 34-year-long streak.

"We told (the players) beforehand that teams want to play games that mean something at the end of the season, and this was a game that meant something if we wanted to continue to play," Macmillan said. 

Usually, coaches tell the team to focus on the playing and not to worry about results — but Ohio’s coaches told the team it needed the win to keep a chance of getting to the MAC Tournament. 

Ohio (4-10, 2-3 MAC) has a 16-day break before traveling to Kent State (5-9, 2-1 MAC) on Oct. 28 for the final MAC game of the season.


Correction: A previous version of this report misspelled Neil Macmillan's name. The article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information.

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