No. 20 Buckeyes Defeat No. 13 Indiana, 3-2

Go Buckeyes! Ally Tunitis
Go Buckeyes!
Ally Tunitis
Go Buckeyes!

Sept. 30, 2011

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - The No. 20 Ohio State field hockey team defeated No. 13 Indiana, 3-2, Friday afternoon at Buckeye Varsity Field to improve to 2-0 in conference play. The Buckeyes (7-5, 2-0 Big Ten) held a 2-0 lead at halftime and were able to withstand a late offensive charge by the Hoosiers (7-3, 1-1 Big Ten) to claim the victory.

"I thought we played a strong first half that really set the tempo of the game," head coach Anne Wilkinson said. "Indiana is a great team that is very structured. They put the pressure on us at the end and I thought Ally Tunitis made some key saves for us. This is a great win for the Buckeyes."

Autumn officially arrived on the banks of the Olentangy River with temperatures in the low 50s and a mixture of rain and wind throughout the entire Big Ten contest.

Leading the Buckeyes offensively were Danica Deckard, Paula Pastor-Pitarque and Jenn Sciulli, who each scored goals for the Scarlet and Gray. Pastor-Pitarque claimed a team-high three points with a goal and an assist in the first half.

Deckard, a native of Selinsgrove, Pa., continued her great offensive week with two points on an early goal. The OSU forward has collected 13 points in the last three games (6g, 1a). Sciulli, a senior tri-captain, knocked in a key goal midway through the second half to increase her points total to nine this season.

For the third-consecutive game, Deckard got the Buckeye offense started early with a goal at 9:54 in front of cage with the assist by Pastor-Pitarque. The native of Barcelona, Spain, Pastor-Pitarque found her teammate one-on-one with space inside the circle. Deckard made a quick move left and finished off the play with a solid drive pass freshman goalkeeper Maggie Olson to make it 1-0.

Ohio State continued to put on the offensive pressure when Pastor-Pitarque worked her way inside the IU circle with some nice crossover moves to set up a slap shot at 13:01 to extend the lead, 2-0. The unassisted goal was the sophomore's third score of the season.

The Buckeyes controlled possession for the majority of the first 35 minutes, outshooting the Hoosiers, 12-1, and claiming a 4-0 advantage on penalty corners. The OSU backfield limited the Hoosier offense to just one shot in the first half, which came 22 minutes into the competition.

In the second half, Indiana cut the OSU lead in half, 2-1, when Morgan Fleetwood tallied the IU goal at 50:04 off a deflection from the right side of the cage.

However, just seconds later, Sciulli ended the IU momentum with a rocket from the right side of the circle into the back of the net at 50:46 to make it again a two-score game, 3-1. Indiana continued to battle in the final 10 minutes, claiming four-consecutive corners against the Buckeyes.

On their fourth corner, the Hoosiers made it count after Audra Heilman deflected in a pass by Katie Griswold from the left side of the cage to make it, 3-2, with under three minutes remaining in regulation.

But the Buckeye defense held strong in the final two minutes to give the team its fifth-consecutive win of 2011.

Senior goalkeeper Ally Tunitis improved to 7-5 overall, posting three saves - all in the second half - while Olson falls to 6-1 on the season.

Overall, Ohio State had a 17-11 advantage in shots, while both teams each claimed five penalty corners.

Ohio State is back at home next week, hosting Louisville at 3 p.m. Tuesday at Buckeye Varsity Field.