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Sarina Dirrig defends the ball during Ohio's game against Central Michigan on Sept. 24. (FILE)

Soccer: Bobcats sit on the bubble heading into final two home games

Approaching the end of the regular season, Ohio will host Bowling Green on Thursday afternoon and Toledo on Sunday.

The Bobcats are coming off a pair of matches that each went down to the wire in a 2-1 overtime win at Western Michigan and a 1-0 defeat at Northern Illinois 

With three games remaining on the schedule, the Bobcats are well aware of what’s at stake. 

“So far, this is the best we’ve done,” senior Allie Curry said. “It’s kind of scary. These next couple of games are crucial.”

The Bobcats will have to go through three of the top teams in the MAC standings in order to secure a postseason bid. 

The high-powered offense of the Bobcats will be key in this upcoming slate. They have the second-most goals in the conference this season with 14, averaging 1.75 per game. 

Playing at Chessa Field will also be a factor in these next two games. The Bobcats are an impressive 5-2 at home heading into their final two regular season games.

“I think it’s definitely a comfort level,” Curry said. “Winning at home has given us a lot of confidence as a team.”

Senior defender Celeste Fushimi-Karns also had some thoughts on playing on her home pitch.

“We absolutely love playing at home,” Fushimi-Karns said with an excited expression. “That will definitely be a factor in these next two games.”

Before the Bobcats (7-8-1, 4-3-1 MAC) host Toledo for Senior Day, Bowling Green will come to Athens.

The Falcons are red hot right now, sitting at second in the MAC East, just in front of the Bobcats. They are on a three game winning streak led by Skylar Fleak, the team’s leader in goals. Fleak’s performance against Buffalo last weekend earned her the Mid-American Conference Player of the Week award. 

Stopping Fleak will be a major task in order for the Bobcats to have success on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball.

Thursday’s game will kick off at 3 p.m. at Chessa Field. 

After this weekend, Ohio’s schedule will only get tougher as the Bobcats travel to Kent State. The Golden Flashes have been steady atop the MAC standings all season long. 

A historic start to the season and four wins in conference play, however, has put the Bobcats in a favorable position down the stretch. Assistant coach Debs Brereton complimented the team on the adversity they have faced so far.

“The players have done very well to get themselves in this wonderful situation where our destiny is definitely in our own hands,” Brereton said. “One more win should get us in. The girls will be ready.” 

The Bobcats will honor six players as apart of Sunday’s Senior Day festivities. Players being recognized are Curry, Fushimi-Karns, Hannah Jaggers, Bryce Hueber, Megan Niebuhr, and Katie McCurley.

Kickoff on Sunday against Toledo is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Chessa Field.


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