Updated Mon, Oct 1, 2012 11:18 am
Updated Mon, Oct 1, 2012 11:18 am
Ohio Soccer plays by one rule, “protect Chessa.”
It’s a simple demand from Ohio head soccer coach Stacy Strauss, and it is carried out by the team.
After starting the season 4-0 at Chessa Field, the Bobcats know how vital it is to continue their home winning streak into MAC play.
As Miami visits Chessa Field this weekend, the Bobcats have brought back a famous Ohio motto, one that the four seniors haven’t been able to follow since they first stepped onto Chessa Field during their freshmen years.
In their four years at Ohio, seniors Cat Rogers, Paige Howard, Ronnie Rock and Erin Schwenke have never been able to defeat Ohio’s main rival. In their final season, the motivation to defeat the Redhawks couldn’t be any higher.
The four have shown the importance of this upcoming game. From creating YouTube videos, to wearing “Muck Fiami” shirts at practice, they all want the underclassmen to know they aren’t losing to Miami at home again.
After losing three straight overtime matches to the Redhawks, they want to come out and put Miami away early.
“We've lost three years in a row in overtime, so I think that is weighing on the seniors,” Rogers said. “We just want to beat them so bad. I hope that comes in and we see it when we play”
The Redhawks will not be an easy test. Miami has started off the season 8-2 and are 2-0 in the MAC. With the return of First Team All-MAC player Jess Kodiak, who has six goals and four assists this season, their offense has been firing on all cylinders.
“They can score goals. We've seen them,” Rogers said. “I think coming into it, we've just got to play our game, defend them properly and put a few in the goal."
The history of the Ohio-Miami rivalry dates back to 1997, when both programs were created. The Bobcats won the first matchup in double overtime, 1-0. Since then, there have been four more double overtime games, two in the past three years.
In past 18 games, Miami has had the advantage against Ohio. The Redhawks are 10-8 against the Bobcats in that span, but the girls are determined to turn that around.
"I think our only mentality right now is that there is no other option,” Rock said. “With it being our senior year and not having a win against them yet, we're just ready to go all out."
A win Friday would not only give the seniors their first win against Miami, but it would put the Bobcats at the top of the MAC East Division standings. Following a disappointing 1-0 loss on Sunday to Central Michigan, the team wants to return to their winning ways.
"It's a huge bounce back game,” Rogers said. “It'll show the character of our team if we can bounce back here with a win against a good team. Get back in the ‘W’ column."
The Bobcats have an opportunity to be 5-0 at home for the first time in a decade. The defense has been unbreakable in their first four games, only allowing one goal. The offense has scored a combined five goals.
“That's what we've been taking pride in this whole year is staying undefeated at home,” Rogers said. “We have to be able to continue to do that in order to have a good season here."
As the Bobcats take the field tomorrow, they know that this game will have an impact on how their season is defined. The seniors cannot afford to lose four straight games to their archrival.
It’s the reason they created the YouTube videos and wore the shirts in practice this week. They want to win. Badly.
“(Miami’s) one of those teams that it always comes down to either we lost in overtime or we lost in the last couple minutes. It's always one of those,” Schwenke said. “I think definitely for us, senior class, we really want to come out, play hard, play how we're capable of playing and beat Miami.”