Filling in the Pieces


Soccer: Ohio must overcome the hole in its offense in order to see success this season

Joey Flannery / For The Post

Ohio must find a way to have success this season without its prolific scoring duo of Allie Curry and Hannah Jaggers this upcoming season.

In addition to Curry and Jaggers, the Bobcats lost Celeste Fushimi-Karns, Bryce Hueber, Katie McCurley and Megan Niebuhr to graduation.

Recovering from the losses on the offensive end of the field will be a difficult challenge for the Bobcats. That senior class accounted for 13 of the team’s 23 total goals last year. Curry and Jaggers combined for 12 of those goals.

The Bobcats have a fairly balanced roster in 2018 that features eight incoming freshmen along with seven sophomores, seven juniors and five seniors.

Replacing the consistency and talent of Curry and Jaggers will not be an easy task for coach Aaron Rodgers, who returns for his sixth season on the pitch with Ohio. The question everyone’s asking is “Who’s going to be scoring the goals now for Ohio?” With their experience, the juniors are expected to be the keys to filling in that offensive gap.

Abigail Dean | FOR THE POST

Sydney Leckie takes a shot during the game against Toledo on October 22, 2017. The Bobcats lost 2-1.

Juniors Alivia Milesky, Remi Eades and Sydney Leckie will carry the weight after funding some success during tenure as underclassmen. Mandy Arnzen will also be someone to watch as she steps into the senior leadership role.

Milesky, Eades and Arnzen are the top returning goal scorers for the Bobcats. Each scored two goals in 2017. Leckie led the team in assists last season with seven, which was twice as many as any of her teammates.

The Bobcats hope to see more out of Sara Kattainen this season, too. As a freshman, Kattainen had a perfect shots on goal percentage. She tallied one goal and three assists in her first season in a Bobcat uniform.

Despite the holes on offense, Ohio’s core defensive unit will be back in the net this season. Goalkeepers Erin Beurket and Sydney Malham are once again expected to rotate in and out of goal.

Beurket, now a senior, played in 15 games last year while recording 53 saves on the year. She had a 1-7-3 record in goal and allowed 1.36 goals per game. Malham saw action in 12 games as a freshman. She boasted a 6-3-0 record in the net and allowed a smaller average of 0.84 goal per game. She recorded 39 saves on the year.

Ohio went 4-5-2 in the Mid-American Conference last season and 7-10-3 overall. Its season came to an end after a heartbreaking loss in penalty kicks to top-seeded Kent State in the MAC quarterfinals.

The MAC Tournament berth was the Bobcats’ first since 2013.

One area where the Bobcats can make a difference this season is their first-half performance. The Bobcats were outshot by their opponents 144-106 in the first half of play last year. They were outscored 9-4. In comparison, the Bobcats outshot their opponents 135-129 and outscored them 17-14 in the second half.

Yes, the Bobcats tend to be a second half team, but the difference in margin from the first half was too big to overcome most of the time. That’s a noticeable area where the team can improve, and it’s an easy fix to stay in games.

If Ohio can find forms of offensive production this season, it can be successful considering the depth it has in goal. With that and a couple small adjustments, there’s no doubt Ohio can compete with the best of the MAC and possibly even vie for a championship.

Development by: Megan Knapp / Digital Production Editor

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