Published Fri, Sep 21, 2012 8:56 am Dateline
Ohio is entering the upcoming MAC schedule as the team to beat. One year removed from a MAC regular season title and MAC Tournament Championship, the Bobcats return seven starters from a 2011 team that made the NCAA Tournament with a 19-5 record and only one conference loss.
“We are really excited,” said Assistant Coach Pam Speuhler, “These are the games that count. We’re going to have targets on our backs because we won the MAC last year, but we are ready.”
In the past, Ohio has typically played each MAC opponent twice. However, this year is different. For the first time since 1990, the MAC will follow the standard NCAA schedule, as teams will only play each conference opponent once.
“Each game is worth more than it used to be,” remarked Speuhler.
Ohio expects a fight from all the MAC teams it plays this year, but the toughest test could come against Kent State.
“They always play us tough and force us to play our best,” said Speuhler. Last year the ‘Cats took two out of the three games against the Golden Flashes. All three of those games were close, with Ohio winning 2-0 and 2-1 (in overtime) and Kent State taking a game 2-1 (also in overtime). That game was Ohio’s only loss in conference play.
The ‘Cats go into MAC play led by Taylor Brown, Luli Gomez Teruel and Cathryn Altdoerffer. Brown, who was First Team All-MAC in 2011, recently became one of Ohio’s top 5 all-time goal scorers on August 24 in a game against Colgate. The senior has 4 goals and 5 assists this season. Gomez Teruel, a first year transfer-student from Argentina, has 6 goals and 1 assist. Brown and Gomez Teruel lead the scoring attack while Altdoerffer, who was also First Team All-MAC last season, orchestrates everything from the center midfield position. Another standout is sophomore goalkeeper Brittany Walker, who has won MAC player of the week once this season along with Brown and Gomez Teruel. Walker has a league-leading goals against average of 1.53 and a save percentage of .745, which is second in the MAC.
Expect Ohio to contend in every MAC game it plays in, as it was picked as the preseason favorite of the conference. The Bobcats hope to win the MAC regular season title and the MAC tournament for a second consecutive season, and they also hope to make another run into the NCAA Playoffs. Last year the Bobcats won their play-in game but were defeated by the North Carolina Tarheels in the first round.
Ohio opens its MAC season at Kent State this Friday at 3:00 P.M.
At a Glance: The Mid-American Conference
Ball State Cardinals (2-5)
Head Coach: Beth Maddox (Third Season)
Last season: 4-16 (4-6 MAC)
Key Returning Players: Tori Widrick, Sophomore, Midfield/Forward; Tarel Teach, Sophomore, Forward
Top Newcomer: Allie White, Freshman, Forward
Regular Season MAC Championships: 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999
MAC Tournament Championships: 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1989, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997
Central Michigan Chippewas (3-4)
Head Coach: Cristy Freese (28th Season)
Last Season: 9-11 (5-5 MAC)
Key Returning Players: Simone Lazar, Junior, Midfield; Cayleigh Immelmann, Sophomore, Forward
Top Newcomer: Kaysie Gregory, Freshman, Midfield
Regular Season MAC Championships: 2002
MAC Tournament Championships: 1990, 2005
Kent State Golden Flashes (4-6)
Head Coach: Kathleen Wiler (Seventh Season)
Last Season: 8-13 (5-5 MAC)
Key Returning Players: Rebecca Lee, Junior, Midfield; Julia Hofmann, Sophomore, Midfield/Forward
Top Newcomer: Karleigh Carlin, Freshman, Forward
Regular Season MAC Championships: 1988, 1991, 1992, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2010
MAC Tournament Championships: 1988, 1991, 1992, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2008, 2010
Miami (Ohio) Redhawks (2-6)
Head Coach: Iñako Puzo (Second Season)
Last Season: 7-15 (4-6 MAC)
Key Returning Players: Emily Gruesser, Junior, Forward; Sarah Mueller, Junior, Goalkeeper
Top Newcomer: Bea Dechant, Freshman, Midfield
Regular Season MAC Championships: 1981, 1982, 2010
MAC Tournament Championships: None
Missouri State Bears (2-5)
Head Coach: Gabby Gomez Sosa (Second Season)
Last Season: 7-12 (3-7 MAC)
Key Returning Players: Hillary Lawless, Junior, Forward; Reiann Stoute, Senior, Defender
Top Newcomer: Leah Reitmayer, Freshman, Defender
Regular Season MAC Championships: None
MAC Tournament Championships: None
Ohio Bobcats (4-3)
Head Coach: Neil Macmillan (Eighth Season)
Last Season: 19-5 (9-1 MAC)
Key Returning Players: Taylor Brown, Senior, Forward; Jessica Jue, Junior, Midfield
Top Newcomer: Luli Gomez Tereul, Junior (Transfer), Forward
Regular Season MAC Championships: 1981, 2001, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011
MAC Tournament Championships: 1987, 2001, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011