Head Coach Neil MacMillian's Post Game Interview
Stories Courtesy of Ohio Media Relations
MUNCIE, Ind. - Ohio Field Hockey defeated rival Miami in the Mid-American Conference Tournament championship game on Saturday, winning a hard-fought contest by a final score of 2-1. Katherine Ballard scored an unassisted goal for Ohio in the 44th minute and Brooke Edwards scored the game-winner late as the Bobcats held off a furious Miami rally at the end of the match. Courtney Seiders came up huge for the Green and White, making 14 saves on the day.
Miami came out of the gate quickly in the first half, firing three shots on goal in the first ten minutes. Mary Hull hit two shots and Katie Brightwell launched another, but Seiders (Mt. Joy, Pa.) was equal to them all, making three important saves.
In the 18th minute Patty Donahue (Powell, Oh.) put some pressure on the RedHawks, firing a shot that sailed just wide of goal. Katelyn Shelley (Ephrata, Pa.) followed suit just a moment later, hitting a shot that also went wide.
Miami kept up the pressure near the end of the first half, but the Bobcats held firm. Single shots were allowed but rebounds were quickly cleared from harm's way by the solid Ohio defense. At the end of the first half, Seiders had made eight saves for the Green and White to keep the scores deadlocked at zero.
"Courtney played exceptionally well in goal," said head coach Neil Macmillan. "She really did a good job and kept us in the game."
The second half began much more defensively than the first, with both teams carefully working their way down the field in the hopes of creating a scoring opportunity. The Bobcats found that opportunity in the 44th minute when Ballard (Charlottesville, Va.) fired the ball in past Kelsey Dean of Miami. 1-0 Bobcats and the opportunistic Ohio offense had made the most of its chances yet again.
"To do such a good job of taking our chances like that really gave us the recipe for success today," said Macmillan.
Marcy Dull (Ephrata, Pa.) was not content with just a one-goal lead and fired a hard shot on net in the 48th minute. Dean was in good position to make the save though, keeping the Ohio lead at one.
Miami turned on the pressure after Ballard's goal, spending a lot of time in the Ohio defensive zone. The Bobcats did a great job of bending without breaking, as Miami was allowed the initial shot but again, just like in the first half, once Seiders made the save the ball was cleared out of danger.
"Our corner defense was excellent," said Macmillan. "We really had a good read on what they were trying to do. The defense was just outstanding today."
Brooke Edwards (Millford, Pa.) scored in the 62nd minute to put the Bobcats up by two. On a scramble in front of Miami's net during the frantic final ten minutes of the match, Edwards was able to find some space to slam home a goal which gave the 'Cats some additional breathing room.
Turns out that this second Ohio goal was essential, as Miami found the back of the net with only three minutes remaining in the match. Rachel Walz fired a shot on goal that was initially saved with the rebound squirting to Mary Hull. Hull's shot was also saved by Seiders, but another rebound came loose and found the stick of Maggie Marcum, who scored to pull the RedHawks within one goal. Ohio was able to stave off the aggressive RedHawks in the final three minutes and hold on for the victory, earning its third Mid-American Conference title in the last four years. Marcy Dull was named tournament MVP and was joined by teammates Nina Bruno (Chevy Chase, Md.), Paige Herr (Lancaster, Pa.) and Courtney Seiders on the All-Tournament Team.
"This senior class is absolutely the most incredible group of girls that I've ever coached," said Macmillan. "The five of them (Anderson, Bruno, Donahue, Dull and Shelley) were one of my first recruiting classes and have just been incredible. They have contributed to what field hockey is all about and it's just remarkable the run that they have put together."
The team felt at home in Muncie this weekend, as many Bobcat faithful made the trip to cheer on their 'Cats.
"Our total success is driven by the support that we have," said Macmillan. "The parents of our players are fantastic. We had parents down here today of players that aren't even on the team anymore (due to graduation). The support we've received from alumni, former coaches and everyone associated with the program...we go out every game and perform as hard as we can because we know that we're representing all of those groups. I just hope they know that the hard work that they have done in the past has led up to what we're doing right now."
Because of their stellar play, "right now" continues for the Bobcats. The team will host the Richmond Spiders (Atlantic 10 Conference champions) in an NCAA Play-In game on Tuesday, November 10 at Pruitt Field. Game time is set for one p.m.