Following Sunday’s no-decision at home versus James Madison due to severe weather, Ohio couldn’t have seen better weather for Thursday’s match. Ohio and Navy both entered the match undefeated at 2-0 and 3-0-1, respectfully.
The teams played a back-and-forth defensive match, but a goal snuck in by Daelynn Rosser gave the Bobcats the lone score of the day and propelled them to a 1-0 win over the Midshipmen on Thursday evening at Chessa Field.
Among a handful of goal kicks and corner kicks from both teams early on, Olivia Sensky just missed a shot right in the seventh minute for the Bobcats (3-0). Ohio had multiple opportunities near the goal in the first 25 minutes, but Navy’s disruptiveness prevented any scores. The possession shifted countless times throughout the first period. Ohio’s previous home matches were orchestrated by living near the opposing goal and controlling time of possession, but there were periods where the ball would cross midfield several times in under a minute Thursday.
Ohio held off Navy’s excessive speed and produced fast breaks on their own. Following two missed shots from Ohio, Rosser snuck in a goal to the bottom right corner in the match’s 39th minute. Sam Wexell made a great save in the 42nd minute, soaring up to knock a shot by Katie Herrmann just above the goalpost. Ohio entered halftime up 1-0.
Though the first half was fairly conservative, both teams commanded a barrage of shots and their opponent’s goalkeepers. Wexell snuffed out a shot early in the second, and Navy’s Mattie Gallagher made numerous strong saves to keep the goal clean.
The match went back and forth for the majority of the second half. The Bobcats put on a defensive clinic but struggled to get the ball in opposing territory. The Mids were relentless in attacking the goal, seeking a late tie and had a made goal wiped out by an offsides penalty. Late mistakes from the Mids seemed to be the difference maker. Another offsides and a handball with under five minutes left allowed the Bobcats to play keep away for a brief spell. The Mids put three shots up in the 90th minute, but stellar blocks from the defense and a save from Wexell extinguished their efforts. Ultimately, the Bobcats kept the match 1-0 and survived the late surge.
“Navy’s a great team, and they put us under a lot of pressure in the second half,“ coach Aaron Rodgers said. “We’re always going to have that late surge because it’s just typical of a very good team ... and so for us to withstand that and make some key blocks and big saves at the end was very encouraging.”
The Bobcats are now 3-0, already matching their win total from 2020.
“I think a lot of what we went through last year helped develop what we have now,” Rodgers said. “One of those things we felt like we were lacking last spring was a little bit of grittiness, a little bit of edge to us. I think you saw in the last three, four minutes today, we came through and showed a lot of grit.”
All in all, a defensive masterpiece that resulted in 31 shots between the two teams went the way of the Bobcats. They travel this weekend to Richmond, Kentucky, to battle Eastern Kentucky with the intent of staying unbeaten.