Halfway through the Mid-American Conference season, Ohio has put itself in a position that was expected. The Bobcats had an easier first half of the schedule than second half.
The difficulty for Ohio (4-7, 2-1 MAC) is it has to face the top three teams in the MAC from last season and only one of those games is at home.
The conference tournament has changed this year. Every team makes it to the tournament instead of only the top four. The teams are seeded based on MAC record. The sixth and seventh seeds will play in play-in games before the quarterfinals. The third seed will face the winner of the play-in game and the fourth and fifth seed will play each other.
Ohio has lost three straight games. The defense has struggled to stop opponents from scoring, allowing 13 goals.
Jillian Shive continues to lead the Ohio attack with six goals. Freshmen Tayla Hansen and Ashley Wilbur have a combined two goals and five assists.
Ohio’s next opponent is Longwood, and it will be a key game for both teams. A win for either team will guarantee at least a 3-win MAC season.
The Lancers have scored one more goal than they have allowed and are ranked 31st in the country for RPI, highest in the MAC.
The lone remaining home game for Ohio is against Kent State, who challenged itself in nonconference play, and halfway through the MAC schedule, looks like the second best team.
Miami (9-5, 4-0 MAC) is the clear favorite to win the conference this season. The RedHawks will play Ohio in their last conference game of the regular season.
The RedHawks have dominated the MAC, scoring 16 goals in the four games with Paula Portugal, one of the best goal scorers in the nation.
Ohio’s chances to get a top-four finish was hampered by its loss to Ball State, as the Cardinals now hold the tiebreaker over the Bobcats and have an easier remaining schedule.
Ball State has not played well throughout the season, giving up 51 goals while only scoring 12, but it has been able to win two overtime games in MAC play.
Appalachian State has unexpectedly struggled. It has no wins in the conference so far. The Mountaineers (4-10, 0-3 MAC) have lost each of their games by one goal. Two of them have gone to overtime.
It is likely that Appalachian State will only win one game and finish as the sixth seed of the tournament as it has to face Central Michigan, Miami and Kent State next.
Central Michigan is on pace to finish winless in the MAC for the third straight year. It has only scored two goals in conference, and it has allowed three or more in all four games.