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Ohio forward Brittany Keen drives the ball toward the goal during the Bobcats' game against Saint Louis on Friday.

Field Hockey: Forwards lead Ohio to first win of the season

Ohio played its best game of the season Friday as it beat Saint Louis 4-1 behind two goals each from Karynne Baker and Jillian Shive. The win was the first of Ohio coach Ali Johnstone’s career.

After only scoring two goals in the first two games — despite having 25 shots on goal — the Bobcats scored the most goals they've scored in a game since their 2017 opener, a 6-1 win over the same Saint Louis team they beat.

The Bobcats spent the week fixing the problems they had in the first two games of the season — Ohio dominated one game with 15 shots on goal and gave up a two-goal lead in the other. 

The coaches did not expect this good of a performance against Saint Louis; many details needed to be worked on.

"They deserved every second of that win, and I just couldn't be happier for the team," Johnstone said. 

The Saint Louis defense could not stop the Ohio forwards — they scored four goals and constantly created chances for each other. 

The forwards were also the first line of defense for the Bobcats, who pressured the Billikens on the entire field. They were able to intercept passes and quickly create chances for Ohio while making it difficult for Saint Louis to pass into the attacking half.

The Bobcats opened the scoring in the sixth minute when Karynne Baker was in front of the goal. She received the ball from Annmarie Hoppel and put a shot past the goalie. 

Four minutes later, Jillian Shive scored her first collegiate goal as the Bobcats continued to attack and control the game.

"We're definitely getting used to each other on the field, and it worked today. We got good stringing of passes, and finally we're finishing," Shive said. 

After taking a two-goal lead into halftime of their previous game but losing 3-2 in overtime, the Bobcats attacked from the start of the second half.

A minute and a half into the second half, Baker received the pass from Shive and dribbled to the right side. She then fired a shot that deflected off the goalie into opposite corner. For the first time in her college career, Baker netted twice in the same game.

Saint Louis cut the lead by one with a goal in the 58th minute, but Shive responded for Ohio two minutes later. The Bobcats were passing the ball on the left side, and Baker found Shive on the left side near goal where she tapped home her second of the game.

After showing signs of potential, finally winning gives the Bobcats confidence.

“It's just like everything is connecting and like all the puzzle pieces are falling into place," Baker said. 

The second game of the homestand will be at 1 p.m. Sunday when Ohio will take on No. 23 Liberty (2-1).

@TREricWalker

ew399115@ohio.edu

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