Ohio (7-7-5, 4-4-3 Mid-American Conference) will travel to Western Michigan to compete in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) Tournament semifinals on Thursday against Bowling Green (10-5-2, 8-1-2). Ohio reached the semifinals after defeating #3-seed Ball State on the road in an upset victory to earn its first MAC tournament win since the 2019 season. Ohio will challenge #2-seeded Bowling Green in a neutral site match to determine who will compete in the MAC Tournament Championship match. Here is what you need to know.
Opponent: Bowling Green
Venue: Western Michigan University Soccer Complex, Kalamazoo, Michigan
Time: Thursday, Nov. 2 at 11 a.m.
#6-seeded Ohio enters the match after a massive upset road victory over #3 Ball State. Ohio became eligible for the MAC tournament on the final day of the regular season and is now one win away from the title match. Ohio’s offense has come alive at the right time of the year to support a strong defense. The team has scored six goals in the last three matches while allowing zero. Ohio midfielder Izzi Boyd has been excellent, scoring two goals in the regular season finale while adding another in Ohio’s quarterfinal win vs Ball State. The defense has also finished the year well after being a formidable unit all season, recording three shutouts over the previous three matches. Ohio is playing its best soccer on both sides of the ball and hopes to use the momentum it has gained for another upset victory.
#2-seeded Bowling Green enters the semifinal matchup against Ohio, coming off of a first-round bye. During the regular season, Bowling Green defeated Ohio 2-0 in Athens and succeeded by attacking the Ohio defense early and finding more accurate shots throughout the match. Bowling Green has had Ohio’s number in its recent history, as Ohio has not had a victory over Bowling Green since 2015. This season, Bowling Green fought through a demanding non-conference schedule and fared well against MAC competition. Ohio’s defense must establish a physical edge early to keep from playing behind against a quick Bowling Green offense.
Players to Watch
Ohio goalkeeper Celeste Sloma and forward Shae Robertson are players to watch going into Thursday’s match. Sloma has been a massive part of Ohio’s success this season. She’s recorded seven shutouts and has had 16 matches where Ohio allowed one or zero goals. Sloma’s goalkeeping will be vital for Ohio to challenge Bowling Green throughout the match. Offensively, Robertson leads Ohio in goals (8), points (16), shots (41) and shots-on-goal this season. While the Ohio offense hasn’t been efficient overall, Robertson has put up great individual numbers and has been the motor for the team’s offense. If Robertson can put on a good performance, the rest of the offense will have an easier time finding quality scoring opportunities.