Bobcat Elena Curley controls the ball against Longwood’s Ellen Ross at Pruitt Field on Oct. 18. The Bobcats won 5-1.
A recent three-game win streak for the Bobcats isn’t just late season heroics.
No, it’s a result of confidence within themselves, as Ohio (8-6, 3-1 MAC) realizes it has a good chance of winning the Mid-American Conference title if it wins its last two MAC games.
“In terms of the MAC, we know that if we win our last two MAC games, we’ll win the conference title,” coach Neil Macmillan said. “That is something we’re very excited to be in the mix for.”
The Bobcats will play their first MAC matchup on Friday against Kent State (5-8, 3-1 MAC). Kent State defeated Ohio in the MAC championship last season.
But this season is different. With Ohio scoring 37 goals this season — almost double the 20 goals they scored last season — the Bobcats are in a good position to continue their recent surge in the MAC.
“Right now, we’re playing really well. We’re scoring lots of goals,” senior Clarissa Leickly said.
Macmillan said this high quality of play stems from playing Big Ten teams such as Ohio State, Rutgers and Michigan State.
Though the Bobcats are 1-2 against the Big Ten this season, with their lone victory coming against the Spartans, their competitive play against the power conference has transferred to MAC success.
“I think having played Big Ten opposition, and getting ourselves used to that type of level has really helped us when we come into the MAC,” Macmillan said.
Ohio will get its last round of experience against the Big Ten this season against No. 16 Northwestern (10-6, 3-3 Big Ten) on Sunday at home.
As the Bobcats head into the last three games of the season, their differences from last season have shown. The team has scored more goals, and has continued its solid defensive play, as goalkeeper Lina Trucco has made a career-high 52 saves.
But it’s the potential of winning the No. 1 seed in the MAC tournament that is the most enticing goal for Ohio.
“I think it’s (winning the MAC title) super important to us as a team, just to see how far we’ve come and how we’ve grown,” sophomore Rachel Kho said.