The Bobcats have relied on returning players to carry the offensive load this season. Players like Alivia Milesky, Abby Townsend and Sydney Leckie have helped guide Ohio during the early part of the season.
Against Southern Illinois, five newcomers to the team accounted for six of Ohio’s seven goals.
The Bobcats (5-0) stayed undefeated Sunday thanks to their offensive explosion at the start of the second half, taking down the Salukis (3-3-1) 7-0, the most goals the Bobcats have scored since 2000.
“It was a wonderful performance because we know the quality of the players who have been doing the scoring,” Rodgers said. “Now, we’re so confident as a group that we have so many players who can contribute and play at a high level.”
One of the contributors for Ohio was freshman Heather McGuire, who scored her first collegiate goal in the 51st minute thanks to a perfect assist from Olivia Page. The freshman forward sent the ball from midfield to McGuire, who cut at just the right time to confuse the Saluki goalie and shoot it past her.
McGuire felt the weight come off her shoulder to finally reach the milestone.
“I shot it as hard as I could, and as soon as it went in, I breathed a sigh of relief,” McGuire said.
McGuire scored two goals just five minutes apart against Southern Illinois, but she wasn’t the only freshman to score her first goal Sunday. Tristan Whalen scored the first goal for Ohio in the 38th minute, and then followed it up in the second half with an assist of the first goal in Page’s collegiate career.
Freshmen weren’t the only newcomers who found the net for Ohio, either. Konstantina Giannou, a junior who transferred from Ohio Valley, found the back of the net in the 79th minute to give the Bobcats a 6-0 lead.
As the Bobcats continue their best start in program history, Rodgers wants to ensure players stay focused on keeping the level of intensity as the Mid-American Conference schedule approaches.
“We’re working towards our ultimate goal of winning a MAC championship,” Rodgers said. “We can’t ever fall back. We gotta stay moving forward, focusing on the moment, focusing on the process of being better and keeping our standards high.”
Ohio returns to action Friday to take on Robert Morris (1-3-1). First touch at Chessa Field is scheduled for 4 p.m.