The Bobcats, fresh off a loss to Toledo, are searching for momentum as the regular season winds down.
With a 2-1 loss to the Rockets (8-7-3, 5-3-2 Mid-American Conference) on Sunday at Chessa Field, Ohio (7-9-2, 4-4-2 MAC) is still jockeying for position in the MAC Tournament with one game left.
Coach Aaron Rodgers wants this loss to be a regrouping moment for the team before the tournament.
“We’re going to have to be stronger,” he said. “This is a low moment (for the team), and we look to respond with a great performance.”
As it stands right now, Rodgers will lead Ohio to the MAC Tournament for the first time since he became head coach in 2013.
The Bobcats were in control of the match early, when Allie Curry knocked in her seventh goal of the season in the 19th minute to give Ohio a 1-0 lead.
After that goal however, the game became more aggressive, a pattern for both the Bobcats’ and the MAC’s style of play.
“The teams tend to be quite physical.” Rodgers said of the playstyle of the MAC. “Very physical and very direct. And if you don’t match that physicality, it can hurt you.”
The aggressiveness from Toledo paid off when the Rockets tied the match in the 32nd minute thanks to a Isa Echeverri goal.
In the second half, the Bobcats, overwhelmed by the Rockets’ attack, were unable to get anything going.
From Rodgers’ perspective, weak play in the midfield is the source of Ohio’s weak play in the second half.
“(The Rockets) were stronger and took advantage.” he said. “We have to be more solid defensively. We were just soft in the middle of the field.”
Toledo took the lead in the 54th minute, and the Bobcats were unable to respond.
Following Sunday's loss, Ohio will travel to Kent State (12-5-1, 8-2-0 MAC) to play the Golden Flashes in the final game of the regular season.
Going into that game, Rodgers stressed the importance of physicality for the team.
“In order to win the ball, we’ve got to be physical,” he said. “We have to go to Kent and be the aggressor. We need to have a little more edge to us.”