Field Hockey: Youthful Ohio looks to improve upon average season, continue to perform at highest level

 

Ohio’s Adele Sammons gets the ball from Michigan State’s Sophie Macadré during Ohio’s game against Michigan State on Oct. 11, 2015.

Ohio will look to improve from its average season as the new season draws near.

Ohio went on a three-game winning streak near the end of last season, beating Michigan, Ball State and Longwood. A year removed from a Mid-American Conference Tournament championship game appearance, the streak was the high point of an 8-10 season riddled with inconsistency.

Though the Bobcats had an average season and lost to Kent State 2-1 in the MAC Tournament semifinal last year, they are preparing to continue utilizing a flexible playing style as the new season draws near.

“I think we’re going to be very good in changing our style when necessary,” coach Neil Macmillan said.

Macmillan said the team was able to adapt to teams such as Northwestern and Kent State in 2015, two teams who used different styles. The Bobcats were able to compete with both teams, but their inability to play well for an entire game showed.

Despite Ohio’s inconsistencies last season, however, it is optimistic about its outlook for the upcoming season.

“I think our team is very excited for next season,” Macmillan said. “We did a lot of good things this past year toward the end of the season to see we have a bright future in 2016.”

Ohio lost leaders in Adele Sammons and Clarissa Leickly, but with 11 returning upperclassmen and five returning sophomores, the experienced players will look to lead incoming freshmen, such as Karynne Baker, Amy Edgerton, Gabriella Lorenzo and Gabrielle Wink, who signed during the Bobcats’ 2016 early signing period.

Experienced players such as Maria Russell, Rachel Kho, Hannah Kingsbury and Elena Curley know what Macmillan expects out of the team. The Bobcats are a young team, but they still have enough experience to produce at a high level on the field.

Ohio’s MAC schedule will likely be difficult again; it went 3-3 in the conference last season. The Bobcats only have four returning seniors, but Kristen Buchanan has the potential to be the definitive leader the team will need.

“I think Kristen will be a good leader for us,” Macmillan said. “She plays in the center of the backfield and can be influential in the attack and defense.”

Sammons was Ohio’s leader last season, scoring nine goals and picking up 11 assists. She was a master at inbounding the ball on corners, setting the Bobcats up to get clean shots at the cage that would more times than not boost their confidence.

Buchanan can offer the Bobcats the same kind of production Sammons brought, breaking up potential big plays and scoring when necessary.

The Bobcats were average last season, but as they prepare for next season, Macmillan said they still strive to do one thing: perform at the highest level.

Macmillan said though the statement is a cliché, it is true — that three-game win streak didn’t pop up out of nowhere.

“If you perform well, the wins will take care of themselves,” Macmillan said.

@CameronFields_

cf710614@ohio.edu

 

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