The Bobcats are looking to get back on the right track as they begin Mid-American Conference play this weekend.
After starting the season 5-0, the best start in program history, Ohio has now dropped three straight games. It lost a tight game against Robert Morris and had a tough loss against a solid Ohio State team two weekends ago.
Last weekend, the Bobcats traveled to Washington D.C. and took on Georgetown, who was ranked 12 in the nation at the time and lost 7-0. It has been a rough couple of weeks for the Bobcats, but they’ll look to shake it off as they begin MAC play against Northern Illinois on Friday and Western Michigan on Sunday.
On Friday, the Bobcats travel to DeKalb, Illinois to take on Northern Illinois. The Huskies have struggled so far this year, sitting at just 2-4-1. They are winless at home with only two losses and a tie this season.
That is a good sign for Ohio, who desperately needs a win. Another good sign for the Bobcats is that Northern Illinois was projected to finish last in the MAC in the preseason coaches’ poll. This game is a great opportunity for the Bobcats, starting conference play against one of the weaker MAC teams. As a team looking to compete for the MAC Championship this season, starting off with a win in conference play is massively important, especially given who they are playing.
The second game of the weekend is a much tougher test for the Bobcats. They will travel to Kalamazoo, Michigan, on Sunday to take on Western Michigan. The Broncos don’t seem that much tougher than Northern Illinois at a glance. They actually have a worse record at 2-5. They have played much tougher opponents, however, with the likes of Iowa, Notre Dame and No. 17 Kansas.
Western Michigan is just 1-3 at home, but those two losses came against Notre Dame and Kansas. The Broncos were ranked just below the Bobcats at sixth in the MAC preseason poll, an indication that Sunday’s game has potential to be competitive.
Despite recent results, Bobcats head coach Aaron Rodgers is not worried about the teams’ overall performance. He is more focused on fine-tuning certain aspects of Ohio’s play.
“In order to have the top results, you got to take care of the little details,“ he said. “Maybe we lost our way a little bit about the little details.”
He talked about how their past two opponents were extremely tough, and even though that has brought a losing streak, it has been a great learning opportunity and the team has used it to prepare for MAC play.
Ohio’s match against the Huskies on Friday is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the NIU Soccer and Track & Field Complex. The Bobcats match on Sunday is scheduled for 1 p.m. at the WMU Soccer Complex.