Ohio will continue its run in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) tournament on Sunday with the MAC championship title on the line. No. 6-seed Ohio Bobcats will challenge the No. 4-seed Kent State to determine the tournament’s victor. Ohio faced Kent State earlier on September 21st.
However, the Bobcats fell to the Golden Flashes 1-0 at home. Ohio is entering the championship riding a four-match winning streak and has gained plenty of momentum on both offense and defense. The Bobcats are hoping to complete their “Cinderella” run by winning the program’s first MAC tournament title ever. Here is what you need to know about Ohio’s biggest match in recent memory.
This season, Ohio made the conference tournament on the last possible day and has taken complete advantage of the opportunity. The last time Ohio had a shot at the MAC championship was in the 2002 season. But now, off of two upset victories, Ohio can end the season as champions. In the previous two tournament games, the Ohio defense has continued its rigid play by only allowing one goal in two matches.
The offense has also shown improvement from the regular season and has been able to give Ohio leads while the defense works to slow down hot offenses like against Bowling Green in the semifinals. Sophomore goalkeeper Celeste Sloma has been vital for Ohio’s success this season and has commanded the Ohio defense into a formidable force. The offense has seen its best production come at the end of the season, with four different goal scorers for each playoff goal and three of the four goals being assisted by a Bobcat. The momentum of Ohio going into the MAC championship match cannot be understated.
Kent State advanced to the championship after upsetting #1-seeded Western Michigan, the tournament’s host school, in the semifinals. During the regular season, Kent State defeated Ohio 1-0 by limiting the production of Ohio’s offense and keeping consistent pressure on the defense. Kent State, like Ohio, is entering the championship round on a four-match winning streak. Kent State has maintained a 1.55 goals-per-game average throughout the season and scored two or more goals in its previous four matches.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Going into the MAC championship game, the key players for Ohio are forward Scout Murray and midfielder Izzi Boyd. Murray secured the clutch go-ahead goal in Ohio’s semifinal match against Bowling Green and has been an impact player for Ohio throughout this season. Her speed is a game-changing factor she can exploit when Ohio needs offensive production.
Boyd is another huge offensive factor for Ohio. She has been very productive near the end of the season, with three goals over the previous three matches. Boyd has typically come off the bench to give the Ohio offense a boost, and she has been producing when the team needs offense the most. If Murray and Boyd can impact the match in their unique but effective ways, Ohio should feel confident about its chances to win the first MAC tournament title in program history.