Ohio dropped its first match in nine days on Sunday after a 4-3 loss to No. 16 Ohio State at Buckeye Varsity Field in Columbus.
Despite allowing a goal in the final two minutes of the first period, Ohio responded when Kaelyn Long recorded her third goal of the season in the 24th minute. Just five minutes later, Leah Warren put Ohio in the lead with a goal scored off a penalty corner.
But the lead didn’t last. Back-to-back goals from Buckeyes senior Emma Goldean followed by one in the 40th minute from forward Jessica Hourihane upended the slim lead Ohio had built. In less than five minutes, the Bobcats had been put in a two-goal deficit.
Jillian Shive secured a goal early in the fourth period, but Ohio couldn’t get over the hump. For the third time this season, it lost to a ranked team.
In the past two matches, Ohio has given up goals in rapid succession. Although it managed to overcome this and defeat Bellarmine on Friday, Ohio still gave up three goals in seven minutes. In the third quarter of its loss Sunday, Ohio conceded three goals in an even shorter time frame.
There are only four matches left in the regular season for the Bobcats. Although they have the offensive firepower to win many of their matches, they need to find a way to maintain stability while on defense. If they can’t, their season may be cut shorter than expected.
The good news for Ohio? Its final four matches aren’t against ranked opponents. The bad news? It only has winning records against two of those opponents: Central Michigan and Indiana.
The clock is ticking on Ohio’s regular season, and it has to fix its issues on defense soon.