Ohio Field Hockey Season Preview

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Preseason is the best time of the year for college sports teams; everyone is 0-0 and optimism polishes the minds of all.

Ohio field hockey is looking to get back to its winning ways this season and return to the NCAA tournament. Ohio is picked to finish third in the Mid-American Conference preseason coaches’ poll.  Last season Ohio did not fair well against non-conference opponents. The Bobcats closed out last season 6-11 (4-2), but many of Ohio’s struggles can be attributed to its strength of schedule.

The Bobcats played four games against top-25 ranked opponents last season, losing all four. The biggest issue with Ohio against top teams in the country was its lack of scoring abilities. The Green and White failed to score a goal against any of the ranked opponents it played last season. Luckily for the ‘Cats their schedule is less difficult this season.

“We played a lot of tough teams last year and with those tough teams we couldn’t get on the scoreboard and we went through a patch without scoring,” head coach Neil Macmillan said. “Our schedule is a little bit easier this year.”

Ohio will be very thankful for the weaker schedule this season with a much younger roster. The Bobcats will only have five upperclassmen on their roster, andt he remaining 13 women will be underclassmen.

“We are still a little young, that being said we do have a couple of our freshmen and sophomore players who are coming in and showing they have got real ability and real talent, so I think that will help us maybe more towards the middle of the season,” Macmillan said.

With such a young roster it will be crucial for upperclassmen to drive the team forward. Leadership will come at the hands of seniors Adele Sammons and Clarissa Leickly. Macmillan says Leickly has great vision and can strike the ball effectively. Sammons is great in the middle and will be very consistent for the ‘Cats as well as the season moves forward.

The Bobcats have done fairly well against MAC opponents in recent years. They are hoping to take care of business in conference using their biggest strength: quickness.

“We are going to be a fast team, I hope we are going to play a really exciting brand of hockey,” Macmillan said. “We have the ability to score a lot of goals and I would like to see that happen as any coach would but we are looking forward to seeing that type of big improvement this year compared to where we were last year.”

The Bobcats start the season Friday in a matchup with Saint Francis. The two face off at 3 p.m. in Loretto, Penn.