The Bobcats loomed, waiting to attack the unsuspecting Cardinals on Saturday. But when they started their attack, it was swift and merciless.
With the help of sophomore Maria Russell scoring a career-high three goals, Ohio beat Ball State, 4-2.
Ohio (4-4) was aggressive from the outset, tallying two goals on 12 shots in the first half. The Bobcats would finish with 18 shots total.
Coach Neil Macmillan said the team’s aggression on both ends helped Ohio have a strong start.
“We started the game really well,” Macmillan said. “The first half was a pretty one-sided affair, in terms of statistics.”
Ohio’s high-powered offense Saturday was led by Russell, as she led Ohio with six shots and totaled her eighth goal of the season. Macmillan said Russell’s hat trick showed how essential the sophomore has been on the offensive end.
“She’s just finding a way to put the ball into the back of the net right now,” Macmilan said. “She did a great job off of a couple of corners.”
Although the Bobcats started the game well, the game was no longer a one-sided affair by the second half. Ball State (1-8) was more resistant, only allowing Ohio to shoot six shots.
During the regular season, the Bobcats have struggled to consistently start games well and be aggressive on the offensive end. When Ohio shoots more than 10 shots in a game, however, it is 4-2.
As the Cardinals countered the Bobcats’ quick start, the Bobcats’ defense began to slightly crumble.
Goalie Lina Trucco didn’t tally any stats during the first half, but in the second half, the Cardinals forced Trucco to make four saves.
“Second half, we were put under a lot of pressure by Ball State,” Macmillan said. “They fought their way a little back into it, but while doing that, it also left us plenty of space to operate at their end of the field. That led to well-executed fast break.”
As the Bobcats reassembled their attack in the second half, they were able to score two more goals, one coming from Russell and the other from freshman Emma Eggleston.
“Our corners were definitely on today with that right side where I stand,” Russell said. “We had very good passing, and we really connected on the field today.”