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Ohio’s Claire Buckey hits the ball up the field during the Bobcats’ game against Ohio State on Sept. 17, 2017. (FILE)

Field Hockey: Nonconference game against UC Davis gives Ohio chance to experiment

Ohio will be able to experiment Thursday when it hosts UC Davis in a nonconference game at 4 p.m.

Ohio's nonconference games are about preparing for important Mid-American Conference games by trying out different tactics in a game instead of practice.

“It’s nice having nonconference games because we get to practice certain scenarios, use people in different places and give our team a chance for more experience with playing time,” coach Ali Johnstone said. 

Ohio is coming off a 1-0 win in its first MAC game against Appalachian State on Friday. It was a good performance by the Ohio (2-4, 1-0 MAC) defense. It limited the shots for Appalachian State after allowing 15 goals in the previous two games.

Jillian Shive and Karynne Baker have led the Bobcats' attack with three goals each. When they are playing well as forwards the whole team plays better and Ohio has only won when at least one of them has scored.

The teams played in Athens in 2016 with UC Davis coming out winners 3-0. 

The Aggies (4-5) have struggled defensively all season long, giving up an average of three goals and 15 shots a game. Facing an attack in the Bobcats — who are averaging barely more than one goal a game — despite averaging 10 shots a game, it will be up to the Aggie goalkeeper to limit the Bobcats. 

Exactly 10 different players have scored for the Aggies this year. Eline van den Bosch and Lauren Gengarella are leading the way with three goals apiece. UC Davis, which is averaging just fewer than two goals a game, needs to stop Ohio from scoring for it to win.

Ohio is the third MAC team that UC Davis is playing this year, with two more on its schedule. Miami and Longwood both picked up shutout wins against UC Davis.

@TREricWalker

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