When No. 15 Ohio State led the Bobcats (5-4, 2-1) by just one goal at the end of the third quarter, it seemed as if Ohio was going to get the close match coach Ali Johnstone expected against the in-state opponent.
Those hopes came to an end, however, when the Buckeyes scored five unanswered points in the fourth quarter, with the Bobcats only scoring one goal as an answer. Ohio was left with a 6-1 loss and is still winless against ranked opponents in 2019.
The first quarter was heavily defensive on both sides. While Ohio State held possession for most of the time, Ohio’s defense was relentless and prevented the Buckeyes from scoring on three shots. Ohio State’s offense had proven itself to be dangerous in its previous games in 2019, so this was a promising start for the Bobcats.
Possession was split more equally between the two teams in the second quarter, but a common problem for both the Bobcats and the Buckeyes was that the players were having trouble completing passes to teammates. Passes often went out of bounds, and many of the players struggled to maintain possession when the ball was passed their way.
Keeping the team on offense was one of the keys mentioned by Coach Johnstone after the victory against Longwood, Johnstone said. “It’s really tricky to keep possession and find the gaps once you get a collection of a bunch of players around the ball.“
Just before the 23-minute mark, Ohio State (6-4) scored the lone goal of the half off a penalty corner to give them a 1-0 lead heading into halftime. Ohio only had one shot in the entire first half, which was by redshirt sophomore Tayla Hansen.
The defensive dominance by both teams continued in the third quarter, with the Buckeyes maintaining possession dominance to begin the third quarter. Ohio (5-4) managed to find some solid offensive sequences going: it had three penalty corner shots, but did not capitalize off any of them.
Things began fell apart for Ohio in the fourth quarter. Less than 30 seconds in, Sarah Charley scored Ohio State’s second goal of the match, increasing the Buckeyes’ lead to 2-0. The Buckeyes had become stronger in their passing game at this point, but the Bobcats were still struggling to receive passes consistently. In the 50th minute, Ohio State scored another goal off a penalty corner to make it a 3-0 match.
Starting in the 54th minute, Ohio State scored three goals in a span of just over two minutes. The only highlight for Ohio occurred in the fourth quarter when redshirt senior Kendall Ballard scored with eight seconds left in regulation.
Still, it was too little, too late as the Bobcats fell to the Buckeyes, 6-1.
Johnstone, however, was optimistic about the Bobcats. The loss was tough, but Ohio played well against a quality opponent. The score just doesn’t show it.
“This sport is brutal, and the team is doing great,“ she said.
Ohio will look to rebound against No. 24 Michigan State on the road next week, which will be the second straight match against a ranked opponent for the Bobcats. The match is set to begin Friday at 3 p.m. at Ralph Young Field.