Soccer: Xavier Spoils Bobcats’ Home Opener

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Ohio opened its three-game home stand at Chessa Field with a dramatic 3-2 double overtime loss to Xavier (2-3-0) on Friday, Sept. 5.

The game looked settled as senior Nicole Amari prepared to take a free kick deep in their own half within the final 10 minutes of the game with Ohio (1-4-0) leading 2-1.

But Amari’s low kick was picked up by the Xavier offense and sophomore Tori Doss grabbed a brace via a long-range chip that sailed just over Amari’s head and sent the game into overtime.

The first overtime period showed both teams begin to lose a bit of composure on defense as the intense summer heat beat down on Chessa Field. And the fatigue that ensued in the second overtime period proved to be Ohio’s undoing.

The Bobcats failed to clear a ball on their byline, and watched as Catherine Allon drilled it home from close range to hand Ohio its first home loss of the season.

“We scored two really good goals, but didn’t defend very well,” Ohio coach Aaron Rodgers said. “When you give the ball away you’re going to give up goals. And unfortunately, that is what we did.”

The Bobcats were the first on the board, courtesy of an Annie Beard header from a corner in the 20th minute. Carly Manso, who was Ohio’s main attacking option all game, grabbed the assist from a well-floated ball that had enough pace on it to elude the Musketeer defense.

But Xavier came right back, with Doss scoring her first goal of the game and bringing the Musketeers equal a minute after going behind.

And it was Manso who put the Bobcats on top again, as she streamed her inner Jermaine Jones and drifted to the top right-hand side of the box, muscled off a defender and drilled a shot into the opposite corner of the net to give Ohio its lead back.

Ohio bossed much of possession throughout the game and had a flurry of chances that Xavier’s goalkeeper, Katie Markesbery, did well to keep out of the back of the net. In total, the Bobcats had 17 shots and 16 corner kicks but only forced Markesbery to make eight saves during the course of the game.

“Up until now we haven’t been able to create that many opportunities,” Rodgers said. “We just have to convert those chances. It takes time, and being under pressure and being shooting under pressure. So hopefully we’ll learn from this and score more goals on Sunday.”

Apart from their finishing, another thing Rodgers wants the Bobcats to work on is their defensive tenacity.

“They have to have the belief and the passion through the hard times to get it done,” he said.

Now Ohio must focus on its upcoming game against Eastern Kentucky on Sunday and trying to grab its first win at Chessa Field this season.