Ohio pulled off a comeback in a 5-4 overtime win against Bellarmine. Ohio was down 4-1 at halftime, but thanks to a composed second half and a hat-trick from midfielder Katelyn Whittle, it accomplished a 4-0 run and won in extra time.
Ohio got off to a strong start when Whittle scored her first goal of the day in the second minute of the match off assists from Kaelyn Long and Leah Warren. Unfortunately for the Bobcats, their lead was dissolved by a goal from the Knights by Anna Crump about four minutes later.
Ohio maintained possession well throughout the duration of the first period, but it failed to capitalize on any more of these offensive attacks. At the end of the first period, the score remained 1-1.
The Bellarmine offense found its stride in the second period as Ohio struggled to make any crucial stops. Halfway through the second period, Bellarmine recorded two back-to-back goals from Crump and Julia Doornebos.
Ohio attempted to answer the offensive pressure applied by Bellarmine. It put up six shots in the second period alone but failed to score on any of them. To make things more bleak for Ohio, Doornebos added another score for the Knights 30 seconds before halftime.
“After halftime, we knew as a team we needed to unite and find something deep down,” Whittle said.
Down by three with just two periods left in regulation, Ohio knew it had to step up its defense and start converting on open shot opportunities. It did just that and caused a shift with a goal by forward Noa Desmaretz assisted by midfielder Bodhi Littlefield on a fast break less than three minutes into the third period.
The Bobcats continued scoring with another goal from Whittle assisted by forward Tasmin Williams at the beginning of the fourth period. The goal left Ohio down just one score with nearly an entire period left to play.
As the fourth period came down to the final minutes, Ohio continued to fight to tie the match. Midfielder Jillian Shive kept hopes alive, scoring with just three minutes remaining in regulation and tying the match at 4-4. Ohio and Bellarmine were going to overtime.
With just seven members on each side due to overtime rules, Bellarmine fought to not blow its initial lead as Ohio looked to achieve its biggest comeback of the season. The drama was quickly put to an end, as Whittle scored in the 62nd minute of the match, securing a win for the Bobcats with her third goal of the day.
In addition to its massive offensive success, Ohio’s defense excelled in the second half of the comeback victory. After the first half, the Bobcats did not allow a single shot from the Knights. Conversely, the Bobcats recorded 13 shots in the second half.
The Bobcats knew the comeback couldn’t be accomplished all at once. They needed to stay positive, build each other up and let smaller victories lead the way to the final outcome.
“We were just trying to get one goal at a time, try to build that momentum and do it as a team, not as an individual,” Whittle said.
This is Ohio’s second consecutive overtime win after its double overtime victory over Davidson the previous Sunday. Ohio coach Ali Johnstone acknowledged how much grit the team has and their ability to finish when it matters most.
“Overtime is tough, it’s brutal,” Johnstone said. “It just means that they can dig deep. They obviously did.”