Toledo Spoils Ohio’s Senior Day, 3-1< < Back to
The end of the season was supposed to be easy for the Bobcats. Going into the final three weeks of the season they had to play Bowling Green, Central Michigan and Toledo—all of which were bottom dwellers in their respective Mid-American Conference divisions.
But Ohio has lost each of those games by a combined six goals, with the most recent loss coming in a 3-1 demolition by Toledo on Sunday.
The loss, which is the fifth straight loss for Ohio, means that the Bobcats will miss out on the MAC Tournament for the first time in almost six years.
“I mean I’m gutted,” Ohio coach Aaron Rodgers said about missing the postseason. “Because this team had the potential and momentum to get into the tournament. And they for some reason couldn’t figure out how to get it done.”
Despite the disappointing result, the day was a special one as the seniors were honored at Chessa Field. Nicole Amari, Annie Beard, Erin Feeney, Liz Finley, Tonya Frasik, Rachel Fryan, Gabby Hausfeld and Nicolle Varney were all celebrated during a pregame ceremony dedicated to the four years of hard work the eight seniors had put in over the years.
“It felt really nice,” Finley said. “We had a good support system, a good crowd and they did it really nicely, so it was very nice to feel the love from everyone.”
But after the ceremony was over and kickoff arrived, it became a very somber event for the Bobcats (6-12, 3-7 in MAC) as an early goal once again pegged the ‘Cats back early and saw them chase the remainder of the game.
Fryan got the start in goal for senior day, and she was challenged right away by the active Rockets’ (7-10-1, 4-6) midfield. She was also not helped by a few defensive errors made by her team tracking back, including two free kicks given on the edge of the area.
The second of those free kicks, a set piece from 20 yards out at the top of the box, led to the first goal in the 19th minute. Toledo freshman Isabella Echeverri, who had a brace on the day, drove the past the wall to put the Rockets ahead early.
There was nothing Fryan could do on the strikem but she was replaced nonetheless by the Bobcats’ typical starter, Nicole Amari. But the senior shot-stopper did no better than her compatriot, allowing two more goals in the 59th and 65th minute to put Toledo up by three.
That six-minute period saw spectacular goals that both left Amari helpless against a gritty Rockets attack.
The Toledo midfielders were very active in the Bobcats’ defensive third, spraying through balls and over-the-tops for the forwards to run on to and test the resolve of the Ohio defense. Ultimately, the Rockets got off 14 shots—only one less than the Bobcats—but Toledo used its shots to great effect.
“You gotta know how to play with pressure,” Rodgers said. “You’ve got to be able to execute, you’ve got to be able to transfer the training and the practice sessions and do it when there’s pressure. And we haven’t been able to do that.”
However, sophomore Alexis Milesky pulled one back for Ohio late, as a foul in the box earned the Bobcats a penalty. After senior Erin Feeney missed a spot kick in the previous game, coach Aaron Rodgers opted to use Milesky for the penalty and the sophomore tucked a calm, collected effort into the corner of the net for a consolation goal in the 86th minute.
The Ohio seniors have one last chance to end the losing streak as they take on Kent State for the last game of the season on Thursday at 3 p.m. The Golden Flashes just dropped a game to Central Michigan and while they only have one more win than the ‘Cats, their record is 4-4-2 and they currently sit in third place in the MAC East.
“At the end of the day, if we win that game we will have won more MAC game than we did last year,” Rodgers said when asked of the team’s motivation to beat Kent State. “We only won three MAC games last year and if we win this last game on Thursday then we will have bettered that total.
“And for the seniors, you know, you never want to go out on a loss. To have five losses in a row and we don’t want to make it six.”