Women's Soccer: MAC Preview

By
Matthew Doyle

Dateline
Updated Fri, Sep 21, 2012 8:49 am
See all articles

It has been a decade since the Ohio girls soccer team entered its Mid-American Conference schedule with a record above .500, but Coach Stacy Strauss has stressed this season that past events are no longer relevant to her squad.

While enjoying the ride, the Bobcats are not taking their five-game winning streak for granted, as they travel to Bowling Green this Friday to take on the 1-7 Falcons.

“(The streak) has been positive, and we've gained confidence,” Strauss said. “I hope it wouldn't bring any additional pressure. It certainly shouldn't. You don't want mistakes from the past to haunt you, and you also don't want successes in the past to haunt you.”

So far, the Bobcats’ past mistakes have not haunted them.

After a 0-3 start, Strauss and her coaching staff formulated the perfect lineup to put the Bobcats in a position to win.

The Bobcats won five straight games, with four of them at home. They are a perfect 4-0 at home, matching their win total from a season ago. Strauss and the team take pride in their success on Chessa Field.

“If you go undefeated at home, you have a good shot at winning championships, regardless of the year,” Strauss said. “We're fortunate. We have a great playing surface.

“The motto is 'Protect Chessa,' and hopefully we can continue to do so.”

Ohio’s upcoming weekend matchups offer two different rims of the MAC.

Bowling Green has struggled to get their feet under them with only one victory thus far. Strauss is not looking past a Bowling Green team that’s looking to bounce back in the MAC.

“I would say Bowling Green is a very dangerous team to play and if nothing else, they're going to be desperate for a win,” Strauss said. “Those hungry teams are sometimes very formidable opponents.”

Central Michigan, on the other hand, entered this season considered one of the strongest teams in the MAC. With the return of First Team All-MAC honorees Bailey Brandon and Ashley Mejila, the Chippewas packed their pre-MAC schedule with several ranked opponents.

They went a combined 0-2-1 against ranked opponents, but the Chips are set to make noise in the MAC after competing against some of the nation’s best.

“We’re just going into (the game) looking for a win and expecting to give them a great game,” Strauss said about the Chippewas. “They've had some losses, but they've also played a ridiculously difficult schedule. I think that they have benefitted from that quite a bit, and it might make their road easier as they enter conference play.”

Looking beyond the weekend, the Bobcats are expecting a competitive conference this season. Both Strauss and senior Paige Howard stressed the “parity” of the league and the countless number of great players.

“It's always a battle between a few teams and us,” Howard said. “(We’re) definitely not overlooking anyone. It can go either way; any game. We have to go one game at a time and come out hard.”

The Bobcats will begin their MAC schedule with two away games, but come back to Chessa Field to begin a four-game home stand against Miami (OH). Strauss understands the importance of that home game, as the Redhawks pose as a “fun rivalry,” and will threaten to end Ohio’s perfect home record.

The Bobcats are targeting their first MAC Tournament Title in the program’s history. The MAC is wide open this season with several teams fighting for the top position.

Ohio plays six of its 11 MAC games at home. Wins in each of those games can put the Bobcats into a great position heading into the MAC Tournament. In the end, they must remember the one phrase Strauss has been drilling into their heads since the beginning.

“Protect Chessa.”

           

           

At a Glance: The Mid-American Conference

 

East Division

 

Akron Zips (4-3-0)

Head Coach: Vernon Croft (Interim Head Coach)

2011 Record: 7-9-2 (4-5-2 MAC)

Last MAC Tournament Title: 2009

Key Players Returning: Amber Kern (Second-Team All-MAC), Ashley Hughes (three goals, one assist)

Top Newcomer: Megan Waskowski (three goals this season)

 

Bowling Green Falcons (1-7-0)

Head Coach: Kellie Evans (Interim Head Coach)

2011 Record: 6-13-1 (3-7-1 MAC)

Last MAC Tournament Title: 2005

Key Players Returning: Madeline Wideman (three assists), Becca Ison (100 saves, three shutouts)

Top Newcomer: Demy Whitaker (starter, two assists this season)

 

Buffalo Bulls (2-5-1)

Head Coach: Michael Thomas (Fifth Season)

2011 Record: 12-5-4 (4-3-4 MAC)

Last MAC Tournament Title: N/A

Key Players Returning: Katie Roberts (All-MAC Freshman Team, seven goals), Ainsley Wheldon (139 saves – second in the nation)

Top Newcomer: Kristen Markiewicz (one goal this season)

 

Kent State Golden Flashes (5-1-1)

Head Coach: Rob Marinaro (12th Seasin)

2011 Record: 12-8-0 (6-5-0 MAC)

Last MAC Tournament Title: N/A

Key Players Returning: Stephanie Haugh (All-MAC Freshman Team), Jaclyn Dutton (six goals last season, eight goals this year)

Top Newcomer: Stephanie Senn (23 saves, one shutout this season)

 

Miami (Ohio) Redhawks (6-2-0)

Head Coach: Bobby Kramig (16th Season)

2011 Record: 10-8-1 (4-6-1 MAC)

Last MAC Tournament Title: 2002

Key Players Returning: Jess Kodiak (nine goals, First-Team All-MAC) Katy Dolesh (seven goals, First-Team All-MAC)

Top Newcomer: Haley Walter (four goals, four assists this season)

 

Ohio Bobcats (5-3-0)

Head Coach: Stacy Strauss (13th Season)

2011 Record: 7-11-2 (4-5-2 MAC)

Last MAC Tournament Title: N/A

Key Players Returning: Cat Rogers (five goals this season), Mattie Liston (184 career saves)

Top Newcomer: Grace Campbell (only freshman to start all eight games)

 

West Division

 

Ball State Cardinals (3-3-2)

Head Coach: Craig Roberts (Third Season)

2011 Record: 9-9-3 (4-5-2 MAC)

Last MAC Tournament Title: N/A

Key Players Returning: Jasmine Moses (All-MAC Freshman Team, seven goals), Brigit Reder (led all MAC defenders with seven goals)

Top Newcomer: Aubrey Hauenstein (one goal, has started four games this season)

 

Central Michigan Chippewas (4-3-1)

Head Coach: Neil Stafford (Second Season)

2011 Record: 15-3-3 (8-1-2 MAC)

Last MAC Tournament Title: 2010

Key Players Returning: Bailey Brandon (First Team All-MAC, one goal), Ashley Mejila (First Team All-MAC, five goals)

Top Newcomer: Danielle Rotheram (one goal, one assist in two starts this season)

 

Eastern Michigan Eagles (3-3-1)

Head Coach: Scott Hall (14th Season)

2011 Record: 7-9-2 (4-5-2 MAC)

Last MAC Tournament Title: 1999

Key Players Returning: Angela Vultaggo (All-MAC Freshman Team, six goals), Stephanie Clarke (one goal, three assists)

Top Newcomer: Sarah Deakin (two goals this season)

 

Northern Illinois Huskies (4-3-0)

Head Coach: John Ross (First Season)

2011 Record: 2-15-2 (1-10-0 MAC)

Last MAC Tournament Title: 1998

Key Players Returning: Frances Boukidis (two goals, three assists), Amy Carr (72 saves, two shutouts)

Top Newcomer: Emily Nulty (only freshman to start all seven games this season)

 

Toledo Rockets (2-6-0)

Head Coach: Brad Evans (12th Season)

2011 Record: 14-7-2 (9-1-1 MAC)

Last MAC Tournament Title: 2011

Key Players Returning: Rachel MacLeod (11 goals, nine assists), Natalia Gaitàn (six assists)

Top Newcomer: Angelica Hernandez (starter on defense in all eight games)

 

Western Michigan Broncos (4-4-0)

Head Coach: Nate Norman (First Season)

2011 Record: 14-8-0 (8-3-0 MAC)

Last MAC Tournament Title: 2003

Key Players Returning: Anina Cicerone (First Team All-MAC, nine goals), Kelsey Baskins (Second Team All-MAC)

Top Newcomer: Lindsey Lee (started all eight games on defense)

 

Tags: