Ohio (6-9 overall, 4-3 Mid-American Conference) ended their regular season with a tough loss on the road against Davidson (7-11 overall, 1-6 A10) who shut down the Ohio offensive attack with a stingy defense.
The two teams facing off came into Sunday’s game playing their final regular season game of the year, although they have two different futures leaving the game. Ohio has already clinched a MAC tournament spot with a big win over Bellarmine that ended with a final score of 8-1. The Bobcats were looking to build momentum and enter the postseason on a winning streak, while Davidson had a disappointing season, especially in-conference with a record of 1-6 in A10 play. They looked to defend their home field one final time this season and did so successfully.
The first quarter was a strong showing for the home team Wildcats, as midway through the opening quarter sophomore midfielder Hannah Merrit was able to put the first goal of the game on the board and give the Wildcats the advantage. Ohio would fight back, however, drawing three penalty corners in the first 15 minutes of action. None of these opportunities would result in scores, however, and the game entered the 2nd quarter with Davidson up 1-0.
Both teams started fast as they took the field for the second quarter. Davidson was able to break through the Ohio defense again and with just over four minutes gone in the second quarter, junior forward Abby Pompeo tipped in a pass from Sib Naaktgeboren after a penalty corner to grow the Wildcats lead to two goals. It took less than 30 seconds for Ohio to answer with Sasha Dikotla picking up her third goal of the year and getting Ohio back into the game. Just before halftime, Naaktgeboren and Pompeo traded roles as Pompeo provided the assist to Naaktgeboren’s seventh goal of the season.
Coming out of the half with the score favoring Davidson 3-1, Ohio attempted to mount a second-half comeback. The Bobcats’ offense stalled, however, only managing to put up two shots on a Davidson defense that allowed any penalty corners for the Bobcats in the third quarter. Ohio’s defense was just as stifling, allowing only one shot all quarter and didn’t allow Davidson to further stretch their lead. The fourth quarter would be the deciding quarter for the game as Ohio looked to stage a late-game comeback.
The final quarter started exactly to play for Ohio as Pauline Hartlieb and Anouk Plaehn were able to get the ball onto the stick of the MAC’s leading scorer, Katelyn Whittle. Whittle capitalized on the opportunity of a penalty corner and was able to put through her 18th goal of the year and bring the Bobcats back within a goal of tying the game. Ohio would log two more penalty corners in the final quarter but wasn’t able to take advantage. Davidson had four saves in the fourth quarter alone and stopped Ohio from making the comeback.
Davidson walked away with the win and capped their season on a high note. As for Ohio, they were not able to close their regular season with a victory. Luckily for the Bobcats, there are bigger games ahead as they will look to make a run in the MAC tournament.