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Field Hockey: Bobcats boast similar footing in Tar Heels bout
For all but 16 Division I field-hockey teams, the 2011 season is now finished.
But the Bobcats are still alive and will play No. 1 North Carolina Saturday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Despite being matched up against the top-ranked Tar Heels, the Bobcats believe they got a decent draw.
“It’s a better matchup than some of the other teams,” said coach Neil Macmillan, who has some familiarity with North Carolina because of his time spent at Wake Forest. “That doesn’t mean it’s an easy task. We certainly will be showing them a lot of respect. They’re a very, very good team.”
The game will take place at 11:30 a.m. in Chapel Hill, N.C., home of the Tar Heels.
Ohio earned its third NCAA Tournament appearance in school history with a win against Lafayette earlier this week. Taylor Brown scored both goals in the 2-1 overtime victory.
The Tar Heels last played during the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament, which they won by beating Wake Forest and Duke, both by a score of 2-1.
North Carolina (20-1) lost its only game of the year to Old Dominion Sept. 16.
Since then, the Tar Heels are riding a 15-game winning streak.
Tar Heel goalie Saskia Ammer, ranks second nationally in goals against average. She has given up only .69 per game, which is slightly worse than what
Ohio’s Jen McGill has accomplished in net this year.
McGill leads the country in the same category. On average, she gives up .68 per game.
For any comfort that might give Bobcats fans, it should be noted that North Carolina is bringing the more prolific offense into the game. The Tar Heels have averaged 3.95 goals per game compared to 2.82 for Ohio.
Kelsey Kolojejchick leads North Carolina with 19 goals. She is one of three Tar Heels with double-digit scores.
“They’ve got two outstanding finishers that we’ll have to make sure we close down,” Macmillan said. “But it’s not just those two. They’re all very well skilled in front of goal, and they’ll be able to score if we give them too much opportunity.”
Ohio also has a trio of women with goal numbers in the double figures. Brown’s 15 scores is tops on the team.
“It might be a low-scoring battle, but we’ll see what happens,” Macmillan said.
The winner of the Ohio-North Carolina matchup will play the winner of the New Hampshire-Michigan matchup on Nov. 13.
To win the national championship, a team will have to win its next four games. The title match will be Nov. 20 at the University of Louisville.