Field Hockey: Ohio prepared for challenges Central Michigan, Rutgers bring

Some teams would think having a .500 record to be a burden, as it’s a constant win one, lose one pattern.

Though Ohio (4-4, 1-0 Mid-American Conference) has not had an above .500 record this season since winning its first game against Saint Francis, the Bobcats look to head into Mid-American Conference play with a comfortable, yet focused, attitude.

“We want to play really well against every MAC opponent we have this year,” coach Neil Macmillan said. “We want to give everything we have.”

That determination to succeed in the MAC got off to a good start last weekend against Ball State. Against the Cardinals, Macmillan said the Bobcats “did a lot of good things”. Ohio beat Ball State, 4-2, behind sophomore Maria Russell’s three goals.

As Ohio tries to grab its second-straight win against Central Michigan, as the Bobcats beat the Chippewas last season in the MAC tournament, it is not downplaying the experience Central Michigan brings. The Chippewas (0-9) were the MAC’s number one seed in the tournament last season.

“They’re going to be competitive,” Macmillan said. “They’ve always played competitive.”

Although Ohio is looking for its first conference win against Central Michigan, it will also play Rutgers (5-4) on Sunday.  This will be the second Big Ten team Ohio plays this season, with the first being Ohio State. The Bobcats lost to the Buckeyes, 3-2.

With the Big Ten pedigree the Scarlet Knights bring, the Bobcats are aware of the challenge that is present.

“Rutgers is a different type of team, and they are used to playing these high level schools,” Macmillan said. “They have sound hockey skills, as New Jersey is one of the better states for field hockey.”

The Scarlet Knights hail from a field hockey hotbed in New Jersey, but Macmillan believes there are differences in style, as the Bobcats will be able to compete.

“I think we matchup with them well,” Macmillan said.  “We look at players, and recruit all over, so it gives us more of a varied style.”

A .500 record being a burden? Maybe not for Ohio. As the Bobcats head into their next weekend of play, they are focused on becoming a “fringe team” that has potential to be good.

“Our record is 4-4, and we’re very comfortable with where we are right now,” Macmillan said.  “We’re not that far from being a good team, and we just have to take it one game at a time.”


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