Check out the video link above for highlights from the Bobcats' 3-1 win over Central Michigan on Friday, March 26, brought to you by WOUB Sports Director Bryan Kurp.

Ohio Field Hockey: Bobcats Welcomed Back Home with 3-1 Victory over Central Michigan

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — It was October 26, 2019 when the Bobcats last played a game at Pruitt Field.

The COVID-19 pandemic got in between Ohio and the 2020 fall season, so the Bobcats’ season got shifted to the spring.  A spring field hockey season is a first for many.  The Bobcats’ training and preparation required adjustments, which have become quite the norm since the pandemic began.

“Everything we’ve been taught and every schedule we’ve ever been on has just been thrown out the window,” Ohio head coach Ali Johnstone said with a chuckle.  “We’re just trying to adapt.  We’ve shoveled snow quite a few times.  We have such a unique surface that it’s tough in the winter to try and get out on Pruitt.  These kids [have shown] so much adversity and they’re pushing through and I’m just so proud of them.”

After dropping their first three games of this unique season, the Bobcats (2-3) returned to Pruitt Field for the first time in almost 17 months picked up their second-straight victory on Friday with a 3-1 win over Central Michigan (3-3).

Senior Jillian Shive led the charge for Ohio as she tallied two goals for the Bobcats.  The first goal came just six minutes into the game off an assist from Sienna Sakich.  Shive’s second goal came in the fourth quarter, which was unassisted.

“Our forwards have been just hammering the last few games and [the ball’s] just haven’t been crossing the line,” Johnstone said.  “It’s nice to see [Shive] finish a few and get them in.  [The players] have been working hard.  We changed up our system and they’ve adapted so well.”

Jillian Shive (18), Leah Warren (21) and Sienna Sakich (6) celebrate after OHIO’s first goal against Central Michigan. (Evann Figueroa/WOUB)
Jillian Shive (18), Leah Warren (21) and Sienna Sakich (6) celebrate after OHIO’s first goal against Central Michigan. (Evann Figueroa/WOUB)

With Shive scoring the first and third goals of the evening, the second goal came early in the third quarter.  Emma Spinetto’s rebound was deflected by Katelyn Whittle into the net.  The goal was Whittle’s first of the season.

Nele Granier had a relatively easy night in net as she only faced four shots the entire night.  Granier did allow a goal with just five seconds remaining, but still picked up her second win of the season.

“Nele’s a brick wall,” Johnstone said.  “I’m really proud of her.  She’s really come out of her shell this year.  Her game against Miami, our second game against Miami, she was a ninja.  It was unbelievable.  Her saves were out of this world.   It’s great to see her performing really well.”

The Bobcats and Chippewas will meet once again on Saturday night.  Face off is set for 7 p.m. from Pruitt Field.  Ohio looks for its third-straight victory to return to .500 on the season.

“We rarely get to play a team back-to-back,” Johnstone said.  “We’re going to look to see what we can change for [Saturday].  The biggest thing is our turnover ratio and keeping that possession.  We increased that from our Ball State game and we are going to aim to increase that for [Saturday].”