ATHENS -- The Ohio field hockey team (4-1) started MAC play by erasing a four-goal deficit in the fourth period, coming from behind to win 6-5.
The Bobcats traveled to Boone, N.C. to start their Mid-American Conference schedule, without knowing they would play one of the most exciting games in Ohio field hockey history.
Ohio started hot when junior Emma Spinetto (Louisville, Ky.) scored the first goal of the game with less than 90 seconds off the clock. However, Appalachian State countered with a goal of their own just over a minute later, scored by Anna Smarrelli. The Bobcats received their second goal of the game from redshirt sophomore Tayla Hansen (Levin, New Zealand), her second of the season.
The Mountaineers started the second period with a game-tying goal, knotting the match at two-a-piece. Then, before halftime, Appalachian State took the lead with a goal from Rachel Fleig. At the half, redshirt senior Sophia Boothby (Spotsylvania, Va.) had six saves on nine shots on goal, and the Bobcats were losing the shot battle 13-9.
The start of the second half was quiet, with senior Karynne Baker (Falls Church, Va.) recording a couple shots on goal, before Appalachian State jumped out to a 5-2 lead. The rally started at the beginning of the fourth period, when junior Leah Warren (Hamilton, New Zealand) tallied her third goal of the season, assisted by senior Brittany Keen (Perth, Western Australia). Ohio made it a 5-4 game with 4:46 to play when redshirt senior Kendall Ballard (Charlottesville, Va.) scored her fourth of the season. Then, with 2:22 remaining in the game, OU tied it all up when junior Jillian Shive (Lebanon, Ohio) scored her second goal of the season, assisted by Ballard.
Finally, with 49 ticks left on the game clock, Ohio drew a penalty corner. With Keen sending it in, the set from Spinetto, and the shot from Warren, the Bobcats completed the comeback, scoring their sixth goal of the match. "Our team was inspirational tonight", said second-year head coach Ali Johnstone. "To be down three goals and one player going into the last quarter, and pulling out a win, is ridiculous. It all came down to belief in each other and relentless effort and energy from all 22 players. There are no words to explain how proud I am of this team."
Ohio continues their North Carolina road trip as they travel to Durham to take on #2 Duke on Sunday. First touch is scheduled for 12 p.m.