Ohio went into its home-opener looking to utilize its speed against the No. 17 ranked team in the nation.
The Flames (5-0) physicality, however, were too much for the Bobcats, as Ohio gave up five goals in the first period. Ohio (2-3) went on to lose its home opener, 7-1.
The Flames showed early why they are the No. 17 team in the country, as they scored their first three goals within the game’s first 23 minutes.
Coach Neil Macmillan said the Bobcats had a loose approach to the Flames on the defensive end.
“I think as a team we didn’t do a good job of stepping up, and beating them to the ball,” Macmillan said. “In the first half we allowed too many balls in there for them to receive.”
As Ohio’s defense crumbled in its circle, it also had limited production on offense. The team shot only three shots in the first period, and all three came from sophomore Elena Curley. The Flames shot 16 shots in the first period.
Macmillan said the Bobcats took a good amount of shots, but did not have as many opportunities as the Flames. The Flames would finish the game with 26 shots. compared to the Bobcats’ nine
In the second period, the Flames’ offense continued to be fueled by a mix of speed, power and skill — particularly at midfield. The Flames continued to get up the field with good spacing, as they scored their seventh goal in the 46th minute.
Ohio continued to try and thwart Liberty’s offense, finishing the game with 16 total saves.
“They’re a good side, and they are physical in the back, and we just didn’t match that physicality,” Macmillan said.
Late in the second period, freshman Kendall Ballard scored the Bobcats’ lone goal of the game. Ballard said the game would be a learning experience for the team.
“I think this game is a game where we’re going to take it, learn from it, and we’re going to come back stronger,” Ballard said. “I think this will be a good learning curve for us.”
Ohio will play Appalachian State on Sunday at 1 p.m., as it looks to bounce back from the loss to the Flames. Senior Adele Sammons said the team will look to have a higher tempo from the start against Appalachian State.
“I think we just need to make sure to get early short corners and early shots on goal, and take the momentum with us,” Sammons said.