Photo credit: Logan Riely

Marshall, Kentucky on Ohio Soccer’s Weekend Slate

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It’s safe to say that this is not the way Aaron Rodgers wanted to start his third season at the helm of Ohio soccer.

Through the first three games the season, the Bobcats (0-2-0) have yet to win, score a goal while conceding seven in three losses. Making matters worse, the team has yet to find consistency, as it’s had a different starting 11 in every game.

“I think we need to get better at that when we do concede a goal, to not go into a shell, feel frustrated or get down on ourselves.” Rodgers said after Sunday’s loss to Cleveland State. “[We need] to go back out and answer with a goal.”

But in Sunday’s loss, Ohio might have found reason to celebrate. After continued experimenting, Rodgers might have found his back four. With Kelly Zebrowski, Celeste Fushimi-Karns, Grace Campbell and Rianna Reese in the back, Ohio’s defense looked the best is has all season.

With Campbell and Fushimi-Karns controlling the central defense, the Bobcats look very stable and collected at the back. Zebrowski and Reese added speed on defense and created chances as overlapping wingers on offense.

Ohio has a quite the weekend ahead of them. The Bobcats will try to get their first win, and goal, of the season when they travel to Huntington, W.Va., to take on rival Marshall Friday night. Then on Sunday, Rodgers and his team will take on his former team Kentucky in Lexington, Ky.

Though Rodgers is excited to see his former colleagues at UK, he is not overlooking a good Thundering Heard team who has won three straight games.

“There is a lot of history in athletics between Ohio and Marshall,” Rodgers said. “We haven’t played them in two years and we had a great game against them in the spring, so we have a lot of motivation to go in there and get a result.”

Two goals from Cathryn Rogers led the Bobcats to a 2-0 over Marshall when they last met in 2012.  Ohio has dominated Marshall on the pitch, winning 10 of the 12 games between the teams, stemming back to 1998.

Kickoff against Marshall is scheduled for 7 p.m.

The Bobcats will then have to make the quick turnaround and make the 127-mile journey to Lexington for a 6 p.m. start time.

Before being named head coach of the Bobcats, Rodgers spent four seasons in Lexington as a member of the UK women’s soccer coaching staff.

“I have special memories of UK and Lexington a lot of the girls that are still on the team that I had the privilege to coach or recruit,” he said. “They are a wonderful team and they were in the Sweet 16 last year and they have the potential to do very well this year.”

The Bobcats have lost three straight meetings against the Wildcats, including last season’s 3-0 loss on the road.

Ohio struggled to create any chances last season, with Carly Manso and Leah Sandercock recording the only two shots on goal in the game. Nicole Amari had a great game with 13 saves, despite conceding three goals.

Ohio will have its hands full again with the likes of junior Michaela Dooley and senior Courtney Raetzman, who lead the Wildcats in goals this season.

OHIO’S PROJCTED XI: Cordoba, Zebrowski, Fushimi-Karns, Campbell, Reese, Niebhur, Whitacre, Jaggers, Curry, Milesky, Manso

Correction: a previous version of this story stated Rodgers coached three years at Kentucky.