The Bobcats needed a difference-maker.
Ohio controlled the pace against Eastern Michigan on Sunday and got multiple clean looks at the net throughout the match, but it couldn’t turn those opportunities into goals.
With under 20 minutes left, Sydney Leckie changed that.
Leckie secured the ball off a bounce, tapped into the air with her head and sent it past the diving Eagles goalie in the 73rd minute to give Ohio a 1-0 lead.
Her goal was all the Bobcats needed to win in their 1-0 victory over Mid-American Conference foe Eastern Michigan.
Playing the ball off a bounce meant that Leckie had to concentrate on keeping possession and putting herself in a position to get a good shot off.
“I was focused on getting a controlled touch and then trying to give myself a chance to get it in the back of the net,” Leckie said. “It happened so fast. I just had to focus in.”
Sunday was also Senior Day and the last regular season home game for the Bobcats. For Leckie, a senior midfielder, her goal is the perfect sendoff for her time at Chessa Field.
“I’ve been struggling this season with scoring,” Leckie said. “But that was amazing. It felt really good, especially here at Chessa.”
Ohio’s lone goal came late in the match, but the attacks on the Eastern Michigan (4-10-2, 3-5 MAC) net began early. After the Bobcats struggled to start matches with the type of energy and aggression that he desired, coach Aaron Rodgers focused on attacking teams early in the past week of practice.
He saw the improvement he wanted in the victory over Central Michigan, and the trend continued into the match against the Eagles. The Bobcats (9-6-1, 4-3-1 MAC) played at their speed and dictated the flow of the match. This is the type of match Rodgers wanted to bring out of the Bobcats.
“We stayed really consistent,” Rodgers said. “Our team is built for this, really proud of our players for gutting it out for the 90 minutes.”
This victory also secured a six-point weekend for Ohio as it tries to improve its standing in the conference before the MAC tournament. Coming into this weekend, the Bobcats stood at seventh in the conference with seven points. Their wins over the Chippewas and now the Eagles moved them into fifth place with 13 points and three matches left in the season.
Rodgers treated the matches Friday and Sunday as must-wins.
“In our league, six-point weekends are massive,” Rodgers said. “We want to host another tournament game. It was amazing (last year), and we want to do that again.”
The Bobcats look to win its third match in a row Thursday when they travel to Oxford to take on Miami (3-11-1, 2-5-1 MAC). The first touch from Bobby Kramig Field is scheduled for 4 p.m.