Ohio kicked off its season versus Miami on Thursday, but the excitement to the start of a new year was soured as the Bobcats dropped their season opener 1-0 to the rival RedHawks.
After all of the changes and cancellations the team has experienced due to COVID-19, Ohio had not been able to dress in uniform or play in a long time. Thursday’s match was the first Ohio’s played since Nov. 8, 2019.
“It was amazing to be able to play again,” Ohio coach Aaron Rodgers said. “It was 488 days or something like that since we had our last official game.”
Ohio’s been through a lot this past year and Rodgers knew how much the players were ready to play, but also felt the Bobcats were feeling anxious.
The match took place at Peden Stadium, which was a change of scenery for the Bobcats as they’re used to playing their matches just down the road at Chessa Field. Rodgers said that Ohio trains in Peden a lot because the Bobcats face a lot of teams that play on artificial surface. So it wasn’t much different for the team to play on turf and on a different field.
“It was definitely a good experience the athletic department offered to us,“ Rodgers said.
The match started with little action from both teams. Despite Ohio outshooting Miami 10-3 in the first half, the Bobcats could not get the ball past Miami goaltender Izzie Vaccari for a score throughout the half. The first half ended in a tie at zero. Ohio could not put the ball in the net, but there was still time for both teams to come back after halftime and prove what they had.
The second half began with both teams going back and forth, making it seem like it was anybody’s match. After 56 minutes, Julia Hoffman from Miami took a shot and kicked the ball over the head of Ohio goalkeeper Sydney Malham for a score. This score was the only one both teams saw all afternoon.
Shae Robertson led the team with five shots on goal for Ohio while Malham finished with five saves in the net. The Bobcats kept the lead with shots on goal in the second half 14-9 but still were not able to have any of their attempts go in, which left them scoreless at the end of regulation.
“We definitely need to spend some time on finishing,'' Rodgers said.
After the chances they had, the Bobcats were the better team based on the numbers, but they weren’t able to find a way into the net to help reflect that.
It was a tough loss to start the season, but the team will look to bounce back as it heads to Bowling Green to face the Falcons on Sunday at 3 p.m.