Updated Sat, Oct 29, 2011 4:40 pm
After a tough finish to the season, Ohio finds itself with the number eight seed in the MAC Tournament. Now, the Bobcats travel to Toledo on Sunday for their quarterfinal matchup.
Toledo (11-6-2, 9-1-1 MAC), ran away with the regular season MAC Championship and now holds the number one seed in the tournament. While the match Sunday will be a tough one for the Bobcats (7-10-2, 4-5-2), the ladies must first put the end of their regular season in their rearview mirror.
Entering last weekend’s matches against Buffalo and Kent State, Ohio was in first place in the MAC East and controlled its own destiny. However, the Bobcats finished in a tie with Buffalo and then suffered a heartbreaking 1-0 defeat against Kent State. Thursday night, the Bobcats lost another tough match 1-0, this time in overtime at Akron. Even with that loss, Ohio secured the eight seed and is still alive with a shot in the tournament.
Coach Stacy Strauss had to get her team to refocus on their chances in the tournament.
“You got to have a short memory,” Strauss said. “Realize that this is a new season and it’s anybody’s opportunity at this point.”
At Friday’s practice, it was obvious the team had bought into exactly what Strauss wanted them to. The mood was light and the energy level was extremely high. An aura of confidence surrounded the team.
“We’re anxious to play this team again,” senior Toye Famodu said. “Why not? Why not Toledo? Out of anybody else, let’s knock them out first round and go from there.”
Ohio fell 2-0 at Toledo earlier in the season, but the Bobcats took some positives out of that match.
“We know they’re going to come out hard,” midfielder Cat Rogers said. ”That’s what happened in the first half last time. The second half we didn’t let them score at all, so we know we can compete with them.”
Strauss and her team have a lot of respect for the Rockets, but that doesn’t mean the Bobcats aren’t bringing it on Sunday. Toledo’s offensive attack has proved difficult to stop all season long, but the Bobcats are looking to fight this attack with their own aggression and quick style of play.
“Well now that we know what they do and they’re pretty quick on the ball, and everything,” Famodu said. “We’re gonna play fire with fire, kinda that deal, and play their game.”
If the idea that it’s hard to beat the same team twice holds true, then Ohio may just be able to stand up to Toledo and send a shockwave through the MAC Tournament.