Sunday was an all-too-familiar story for the Bobcats as they dropped their season finale 1-0 against Buffalo. Once again, Ohio created great chances to take the lead and win. Once again, Ohio still lost.
That has been the story of Ohio’s (3-7, 3-7 Mid-American Conference) season. Five of its seven losses came by only one goal, and two of them were in overtime. Ohio has come up short in its most important moments this season.
“We’ve shown our quality, but we’ve missed in critical moments,” coach Aaron Rodgers said.
The Bobcats have been struggling to successfully close out games this season. They had five shots on goal and nine shots overall against the Bulls but were unable to find the net.
Adding to Ohio’s finishing struggles was the fact that Buffalo goalkeeper, Emily Kelly, had a phenomenal match. She made a number of important saves and commanded her box well, but her most important moment was an incredible save against Abby Townsend with 20 minutes left in the match.
That shot by Townsend was one of a number of chances created by the junior, who has consistently proved herself to be Ohio’s most dangerous player. Her speed on the wings has been a major weapon for the Bobcats all year, but the team was unable to finish the chances she created.
Over the final stretch of the season, Townsend has taken more shots as the team struggled for goals. That was evident Sunday as she had five shots, with two of them on goal. As hard as she tried, Townsend could not win the match by herself.
It was also senior day for the Bobcats, and they said goodbye to Sydney Malham, Paige Pappanastos and Jenni Santacaterina. Ohio also honored Sarina Dirrig, Konstantina Giannou and Paige Knorr, but those three will be using their extra year of eligibility to return next season.
Senior day is always an emotional time for a college team, and players love to honor their seniors.
“You want to honor their legacy by giving the best that you can,” Rodgers said.
Even though the Bobcats were unable to send their seniors off with a victory, there was a special moment at the beginning of the match that allowed Ohio to honor Malham, who is currently out with a broken finger. She has been the team’s starting keeper for the past three seasons, and was in the starting lineup for the final time on Sunday afternoon. Even though she was immediately subbed out, the sentiment of the gesture was palpable.
Ohio faces a short offseason as it will resume a normal season in the fall. With such a short window of downtime, the Bobcats will have an opportunity to continue to build on the positives from this season sooner rather than later.