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Ohio's Ella Bianco (#14) kicks the ball during the Ohio versus Northern Kentucy match at Chessa Field on Thursday, Sep. 9, 2021. Ohio lost 1-0.

Soccer: Ohio drops final nonconference match to Western Carolina 3-0

Ohio traveled to Cullowhee, North Carolina, on Sunday to face Western Carolina for its final nonconference match of the season. Despite a solid effort in the first half, Ohio fizzled out and lost 3-0.

The Bobcats (4-3) controlled the tempo early despite a scoreless first half. It recorded 10 shots before halftime, including two from senior Abby Townsend. They recorded just four more shots than the Catamounts, but the Bobcats seemed to have the upper hand.

The second half was a different story. The Catamounts (5-3-1) went on a tear, scoring three goals against a struggling Bobcats defense. Two goals in the 60th and 75th minutes from Naya Marcil kept the Bobcats on the backfoot. 

Ohio had no answers for Western Carolina’s surge after halftime, and the few shots it did take didn’t find the net. Townsend attempted to cut Western Carolina’s lead to a goal with a shot in the 79th minute, but it was saved by goalkeeper Melody Mezzina. 

Townsend’s shot was one of just three made by Ohio in the second half. By the end of the match, Western Carolina outshot Ohio 24-13. Sunday’s loss was the first time Ohio was outshot in a match this season. It was also the seventh consecutive match that Ohio had been bested in saves. Ohio goalkeeper Sam Wexell recorded just three saves compared to Mezzina’s five.

Western Carolina midfielder Regan Ward capped off the match with a goal in the 86th minute. Ohio was in a three-goal deficit with less than four minutes left to play, and the little hope for a comeback evaporated.

Ohio’s loss Sunday was a bitter end to its nonconference schedule. It has lost three of its last four matches, and now, it must prepare for Mid-American Conference play. Ohio begins its conference schedule with a match against Buffalo at Chessa Field on Sept. 23.

@nicholaswhiite

nw163519@ohio.edu

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