Photo Cred: Sarah Stier | Ohio Athletics

Ohio Field Hockey Picked Third in Coaches’ Poll, Season Starts Friday

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Last year, an eight-win season for the Ohio Bobcat’s field hockey team ended in a brief playoff run. Ohio suffered a 2-1 loss in the first round against Kent St., which marked the Bobcats’ fourth straight loss to end the season. This was a digression from the 2014 season where they lost in the Mid-American Conference Championship.

This season, the conference’s coaches’ vote has Ohio finishing third in the 2016 MAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll released August 16.

The Bobcats received 24 points in the poll, third to Miami (OH) and Kent St., in addition to one first-place vote. They ranked fourth in the MAC last season, which extended their Championship qualifying streak to 26 consecutive seasons.

The Bobcats roll into the 2016 season maintaining their leading scorer, junior Maria Russell, who had a career-high 12 goals. Their next two leading scorers, Adele Sammons (graduation) and Elena Curley (transfer), are not on the team anymore. The Bobcats are looking to improve upon their goal differential of +1, and losing two of their top three scorers creates an area for players to step up.

The Bobcats offense needed a boost in their preseason opener against the Louisville Cardinals where they lost 8-0.The Cardinals finished 12th in the rankings on, and they are the first of three Top 25 opponents the Bobcats will face this season.

Ohio will travel to No. 8 Wake Forest and No. 17 Cornell as well as seven more matchups against teams ranked between 27-51. This creates a tough schedule for the Bobcats to overcome, however, they have been consistently dominant against MAC teams that aren’t Kent St. or Miami (OH). Four out of five conference losses have come against the RedHawks or the Golden Flashes.

Ohio won’t have to take on these rivals until the last three games of the season, which means the Bobcats will have almost a full season’s work to prepare for these matchups.

Their season starts Friday at Pruitt Field against Saint Francis (PA) at 1 p.m. The Bobcats defeated the Red Flash 2-0 last season and will look to continue their winning ways.