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Ohio’s Brittany Keen passes the ball during the Bobcats’ game against Central Michigan on Sunday.

Field Hockey: Four takeaways from Ohio's wins over UC Davis and Central Michigan

In two games over the past four days, Ohio was able to get two wins, beating UC Davis and Central Michigan. 

Ohio has now won three straight games and has started Mid-American Conference play undefeated. 

Here are four takeaways from the four goals Ohio scored this weekend in its two wins:

Stringing passes together

Early this season, Ohio was struggling to connect passes as a result of struggling to retain possession.

In the past two games, however, Ohio has passed the ball around continuously while keeping it in the opponent’s half and creating shots on goals. 

“You have to have possession to be able to score those goals,” sophomore Leah Warren said. “To be able to pass it from the backfield up to the forward in a couple passes, to get that goal is really good to see.”

The ability to transition from defense to attack quickly was how Ohio scored its first two goals against Central Michigan, and it was a key part of Ohio’s ability to break the press.


Sophomore defender Leah Warren passes the ball up the sideline during Ohio's game against Central Michigan on Sunday.

Solid defense

Ohio's defense has improved over the course of the season as the defending trio gels together and the team gets more comfortable with specific tactics being played. 

Ohio has allowed one goal in the past three games, and that one came in the waning minutes of the win over Central Michigan. 

The defense was clearly not good enough when the Bobcats took on two ranked opponents and gave up 15 goals, but it’s allowed only seven goals in the other six games. 

Against UC Davis and Central Michigan, the defense was constantly intercepting and stealing the ball to stop attacks from continuing. 

With the Bobcats struggling to score, the defense is keeping Ohio in the game. 


Ohio and Central Michigan players collide in front of goal during the two teams’ game Saturday.

Struggling to score despite chances

Ohio has only scored 12 goals this season, despite almost matching its shot total from last season. 

The high-pressure defense has created a number of shots and goals for the forward line. Coach Ali Johnstone is pleased with the number of chances the team is getting but wants shots to turn into goals. 

“We have had a lot of opportunities where the ball kind of just gets tossed into the circle and no one's really there,” leading scorer Jillian Shive said. “We need to already be there and be in the spots, so we can get those goals.”

OU Field Hockey vs Central Michigan-8.JPG

The Bobcats celebrate after scoring a late goal to extend their lead against Central Michigan to 3-1 on Sept. 23

Strong goalkeeping

Alex Pennington started every game last season but was benched the first four games this season. Now, she's started the past four games in goal and has allowed four goals while making 16 saves. 

The first game she started was against No. 22 Stanford, allowing three goals. 

She's allowed only one goal over the past three games.

“I am so happy with Alex's performance,” Johnstone said. “It’s really hard to get a shutout in this game, and the fact she is standing tall, she's making saves, she's organizing the backfield, that's what a keeper is asked to do. It’s tough, and she's stepping up to the plate.”

With a strong defense and Pennington making saves when necessary, Ohio has kept two shutouts in the past three games.


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