When Remi Eades scored her first goal of the season on a header off a pass from Paige Knorr in the 60th minute Friday, all looked well for the Bobcats to capture yet another Mid-American Conference win. Then with 4:55 remaining, everything changed.
In the 84th minute, Gianna Yurchak drilled in the equalizer for the Bulls (5-5-2, 3-1-1 MAC), leaving the Bobcats (5-7-1, 2-2-1 MAC) stunned.
Only 1:02 would pass before Bulls' midfielder Julia Benati shot in the game-winner after a magnificent display of footwork in the 85th minute.
“[Buffalo] was dangerous the whole game,” coach Aaron Rodgers said following the defeat. “We did a good job of dealing with them and then they just had their moment.”
The Bobcats fended off the Bulls offensive attack extremely well in the first half. Hannah Jaggers took the first shot of the game in the second minute, but her shot went wide. Ohio's goalkeeper Erin Beurket racked in her first save in the sixth minute off of Buffalo’s first shot from Carissima Cutrona.
The rest of the first half was a back-and-forth affair. Ohio’s physical style of play would keep them in the game against an aggressive Buffalo squad. At the half, the game remained scoreless. The Bulls recorded five first half saves opposed to the Bobcats' one.
The physicality of Ohio was the key factor in a shift of momentum at the start of the second half.
“In our conference, if you don’t have that physicality, if you don’t have that bite, it’s very difficult to get the ball to be able to play,” Rodgers said.
Eades’ goal in the 59th minute gave the Bobcats a 1-0 lead. A confident and composed Ohio team would stay assertive offensively.
In the 78th minute, Bobcat midfielder Sara Kattainen would get a crack at the goal. Her shot was denied. Minutes later, Jaggers would get two attempts at goal, her second coming off a deflection by the Buffalo keeper. However, her second attempt would go wide.
Ohio would keep a steady pace of play after a failed Buffalo equalizer 60 seconds later that made the home crowd hold its breath. A few short moments later, the Bulls would regain possession and dribble down the field to take a shot and tie the game at 1-1.
The Bulls added more panic to the mindset of the Bobcats a little over a minute later in the 85th minute.
Ohio was unable to respond to the quick turn of events and the game would end with the score reading 2-1, in favor of the Bulls. Rodgers believed it was lack of focus that led to the collapse for Ohio in the last couple of minutes of the game.
“This is the first time we lost a game where we scored first. We needed to just be a little sharper,” Rodgers said. “I think maybe we just lost a little focus.”
The Bobcats outshot the Bulls 18-16 in an even statline. Jaggers finished with four shots on goal.
Ohio will look to redeem themselves on the road Saturday in Akron. Rodgers believes his team can learn some valuable lessons from the loss.
“We’ll learn from this,” he said. “I know the girls are very disappointed in themselves and sad and I think they’ll use it as (motivation).”