Defensive pressure led Ohio to its first winning streak of the season and second straight shutout. The Bobcats beat UC Davis 1-0 at Pruitt Field on Thursday.
Applying pressure from the start, the Bobcats (3-4, 1-0 MAC) capitalized on an early mistake. The Aggies (4-6) tried to dribble the ball out of their defense when Jillian Shive stole it away and easily beat the goalie for her fourth goal of the year. It was just 73 seconds in.
"That was perfect scenario,” Shive said. “Get that breakaway behind them and get the shot on goal with basically no pressure on us is ideal."
Shive, a Louisville transfer, leads the team with four goals. Ohio is 3-0 in games she has scored in.
That high pressure has been a tactic brought in by coach Ali Johnstone. The Bobcats are averaging more than 10 shots a game. It has also not worked against the ranked teams Ohio has faced, but it's still working on getting comfortable applying pressure.
Ohio found itself in the unusual position of having to keep an early lead.
"Scoring really early and trying to keep the lead is a tough, tall task," Johnstone said. "But we really stepped and kept our composure for probably about ninety percent of the game."
Ashley Wilbur has been in the center of the Ohio defense and was crucial for Ohio. She was intercepting passes and stealing the ball when it looked like UC Davis had a chance to score.
“I have demanded a lot from her and she just stepped up, like so insanely huge today, and she kept her composure,” Johnstone said.
The Aggies had eight shots in the half and just ten for the game. They had four penalty corners in the second half.
“The second half we had to really buckle down on our defense and we were just kind of giving everything that we had in the last five minutes to keep it out of our defensive circle," senior Emma Eggleston said.
Bobcat defenders were doing anything to stop the UC Davis, including multiple times diving with an outstretched stick to knock the ball away.
It was the second straight shutout for Ohio goalie Alex Pennington. It was also the fourth of her career. She made seven saves and kept the defense together as it faced constant pressure for the final 35 minutes.
"It's really hard to get a shutout in this game and the fact that she is standing tall, she's making saves, she's organizing the backfield,” Johnstone said. “That's what a keeper is asked to do and its tough and she's stepped up to the plate."
Ohio plays its final home game in the next four weeks on Sunday, as it faces Central Michigan at 12 p.m.
Correction: A previous version of this report incorrectly stated the day the game was played. The article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information.