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Sasha Dikotla (14) Foward on Ohio University's Feild Hockey team looks for the ball at Pruitt Field in Athens, OH on Sept. 29, 2023.

Katelyn Whittle's big day leads Bobcats to MAC Tournament

Katelyn Whittle isn’t hard to miss when she’s on the astroturf at Pruitt Field. The fifth-year forward can often be identified by the captain's band down her right leg; however, her stellar play for the Bobcats and scoring abilities make her impossible to miss when watching a game. 

Whittle entered Friday’s matchup against Bellarmine tied for the Mid-American Conference lead in goals on the year. After the clock showed three zeros, she had a lead of five. Whittle saved the best performance of her five-year career for one of the biggest games she had been a part of. Bellarmine and Ohio were tied with records of 3-2 against conference opponents. The game had massive MAC tournament implications, as the winner would clinch a spot in the MAC tournament. As if the game wasn’t important enough already, the matchup against Bellarmine was Ohio’s Senior Day and the final home game of her illustrious Ohio career. 

The day started strong and fast for Whittle and the Bobcats. Senior Weslee Littlefield was pressured by the Bellarmine defense and was able to pull off an astonishing pass that stretched most of the field and found Whittle’s stick. Whittle turned her back to the defender and spun and shot. The ball found the back of the net and gave Ohio an early 1-0 lead. Less than 5 minutes later, Sasha Dikotla fed Whittle a nice pass and Whittle capitalized, earning Ohio’s second goal of the game, as well as her own. 

Bellarmine wouldn’t roll over, as it answered with a goal of its own coming off of a penalty corner that was scored by senior midfielder Anna Crump. Ohio couldn’t afford to let Bellarmine back into the game, and the Bobcats were determined to stop its momentum. Meela Kopp was up next in scoring for Ohio, and Whittle was involved with this goal as well, providing the assist to Kopp. Whittle wasn’t done distributing; less than a minute into the third quarter, she gave Littlefield the pass that would end up being her first career goal, giving Ohio a 4-1 lead.

Whittle would notch a hat trick with just under 10 minutes to play in the third quarter. The shot ricocheted off an opposing defender's stick and wound up in the net, stretching the Bobcat’s lead to 4 goals. Her next 2 and final goals of the game would come within 2 minutes of each other. Her total grew to 5 on the day, giving Ohio a 7-1 lead and growing her season total to 17. Good enough to give a huge lead in the season total for goals in the MAC. 

“Everything was falling today,“ Whittle said. "We were very efficient. Our team worked really well together and they gave me opportunities to put (the ball) on the cage."

Her teammates played a huge part in her success, and that success has led to team success, earning a spot in the MAC tournament. Whittle and the Bobcats will need to keep churning out top-tier performances to make a run at a MAC conference title.


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