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Ohio’s Jillian Shive (No. 18) and Katelyn Whittle (No. 11) fight for the ball in their game against Ball State on Friday. (FILE)

Field Hockey: Ohio can't let mistakes against UC Davis haunt it in the MAC Tournament

Kendall Ballard whacked the ball in the perfect spot to move it pass the talented UC Davis defense, and the goal gave the redshirt senior another great moment to add in her last match at Pruitt Field on senior day. 

Unfortunately, that was the only goal that the Bobcats scored all day, and it wasn’t enough to match their opponent as the Aggies won 2-1 on a rainy Saturday at Pruitt Field to conclude their regular season. 

If there’s one positive that Ohio (8-7, 4-2 Mid-American Conference) can take away from the match, it’s that it has plenty to learn from its loss. The Bobcats are a talented team with one of the top offenses in the MAC, and they have a defense that has continued to show progression with every match. 

Ohio’s offense, however, had one of its ugliest matches of the season against UC Davis (7-7). While the Bobcats did manage to outshoot the Aggies 15-11, there were far too many missed opportunities than what they had expected this late in the season. 

Possession and passing is usually one of the strongest assets with Ohio, but it struggled in those areas Saturday. The Bobcats frequently made poor passes that were intercepted or off target, which prevented them from having as many scoring opportunities as they needed. 

Despite having many close sequences inside Aggies territory, the Bobcats had trouble finishing their drives to move the ball passed defenders. 

There were other factors that affected Ohio in the match, too. The Bobcats were coming off a double overtime loss against MAC-rival Miami on Friday. The Aggies, however, played their last match nearly a week earlier and benefited from six days of rest.

Coach Ali Johnstone, who finished her second regular season with Ohio, knew that many factors were out of her players’ control.  

“I feel terrible for them,“ Johnstone said. “I loved the fight, we started getting more shots and more opportunities in the third and fourth quarter. They’re crazy tired, so I was impressed.” 

The Bobcats are fortunate enough to have over a week before they play their first match of the MAC Tournament on Nov. 7. The Bobcats will also have time to look over the many mistakes that brought them down in the last two losses against the Redhawks and Aggies. 

Ohio’s first opponent of the tournament shouldn’t be nearly as difficult as Miami or UC Davis. It will be either Central Michigan (2-14, 0-5 MAC), who Ohio defeated 6-1 earlier in the season, or one of two possible sixth seed candidates, all of whom Ohio has also defeated in 2019.  


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