The first two games of Ohio’s season were played over the weekend, and both resulted in losses.
Ohio would have liked to pick up a win, even without the best player from last year. Despite the results, there were still positive signs from the two games.
Here are four takeaways from the pair of games:
In its first two games this year, Ohio attempted 19 and 14 shots; 25 of those were on goal.
Last year, Ohio attempted an average of six shots per game and never had more than 14 in a single game.
The Bobcats were without their top goal scorer and best player from last year, Kendall Ballard, playing a single minute.
The midfielders were the ones leading the attack Friday with 13 shots — ten on goal. Jillian Shive was the top performer. Sunday, the forwards scored both the goals and had seven shots on goal.
Injuries were what forced players to play out of position last year, but this year, the changes have been made before the season.
Emma Eggleston and Amy Edgerton played in the midfield last year and have changed positions to forward and defender, respectively.
Making the decision before the season began helps the team get quality practice time instead of having a player or two adjusting to a position they hadn’t played since high school.
Lack of Depth
Ohio only has 19 players on its roster this year, and three of them are goalies. This means that if everyone is healthy, there will only be six players on the bench to play the field positions.
On its roster, Ohio only lists four players as defender and four players as forwards. That leaves only one backup in both positions for each game, not including midfielders who move position to give the starters a short rest.
Four players came off the bench in Friday’s game, and three did in Sunday’s loss. All of them were freshmen. Not having many substitutes means head coach Ali Johnstone has to balance giving starters breaks while not worsening the team on the field by much.
Despite bringing in eight new players, the starting lineup for both games featured nine returners — eight of them played much of last season.
Throughout practice the freshmen can see how much faster college play is, but until they play in games, they will not fully adjust to it. The experienced players can show the freshmen how the game is played, and with substitute appearances, they can get use to the play without having all the pressure on them.
Ohio fans will be able to see the team in person this weekend when Saint Louis comes to Athens on Friday and Liberty on Sunday.