Twelve Games Into Season, Ohio Readies For Home Opener

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With all of its games being played at different locations throughout the season, the Ohio field hockey team will finally be able to take to the turf in its own domain of Athens this Saturday, Oct. 19.

The original home opener for the ‘Cats was scheduled for Sept. 21 against the Indiana Hoosiers, but was postponed due to the installation of a new turf field at Pruitt Field.

“We haven’t had a practice all year, so just getting on here for practice today (Wednesday) is exciting in itself, so a game is going to be even more so,” said head coach Neil Macmillan.

Until now, the team had been practicing on tennis courts next to Ohio University’s Ping Recreation Center, where tennis nets were removed and hard courts were covered with an AstroTurf layer. Having the new field allowed the players to go back to practices, where they were able to use the full field and perfect bigger patterns and tactical elements of the game.

“Its ten times better than anything else on campus, not that the other facilities haven’t been good,” said Macmillan.  “Its back to normal rather than having to patch things together like we have been doing.”

The players have been looking forward to the new field since the summer and elaborated on how they can’t wait to have some of their own friends and family cheering them on.

The Bobcats are coming off of a recent road trip to Missouri where they earned two more wins for their record, beating Missouri State and St. Louis. Now Ohio (5-7) must direct its attention to a tough game against Central Michigan (4-8).

“They do some different things, so you can watch them all season on film and they’ll do something different when you play them,” said Macmillan. “We have to adapt to what they’re doing, we’ve got to be aware of what we’re gonna see from them as much as we can, and then hopefully that’ll allow to put a good game plan together.”

The past two times Ohio has played CMU in Mount Pleasant, Mich., it has resulted in a loss for the Green and White. A win against CMU at home could put the ‘Cats in a really strong position

“We’ve been fortunate when we’ve been down here playing against [Central Michigan]," said Macmillan, "but it can go either way.”

Preparation for such a big game has also been easier with Pruitt Field now usable. The Bobcats have practiced with a full field for a longer amount of time and focused on tactical skills as if it were in a real game.

The ‘Cats will take to the new turf on Saturday, Oct. 19, against the Central Michigan Chippewas at 1 p.m.