COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women's soccer team has set its 2017 schedule, head coach Lori Walker announced Monday. The Buckeyes, who concluded 2016 with an 11-7-3 record after advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, will take on eight NCAA Tournament teams from a season ago.
“We knew in advance that we were going to be a younger team with a large freshman class and we were going to have to replace a lot of our scoring,” Walker said. “One of the decisions was to have two scrimmages to give our younger players the opportunity to gain experience in the college game and be able to move people around to see what fits the best. The games will be fast and physical against two ACC opponents and will help set the tone for what is to come.”
After home scrimmages against Louisville Aug. 9 and Pittsburgh Aug. 12, Ohio State opens the regular season with a trip west to Arizona State Aug. 18 and defending West Coast Conference champion BYU Aug. 21 before opening its home slate against Buffalo Aug. 26. The match against the Bulls is the first of seven in a row at home, as the Buckeyes take on Western Michigan Sept. 1 and South Florida Sept. 3 before hosting reigning ACC regular-season champion Notre Dame Sept. 8 and defending Atlantic 10 regular-season champion Saint Joseph’s Sept. 1 to close non-conference play.
“We’re always trying to balance our home and road schedule because the probability of being on the road at the end of the season is very high,” Walker added. “We have a lot of variety in our schedule by playing different conferences in different locations with a range of environmental challenges from going in the desert to playing in high altitude against a plethora of different styles. It’s great to then get back home for a stretch so our young team can get acclimated to classes, get their feet underneath them and perform in front of their home fans.”
The Buckeyes begin Big Ten play against Illinois Sept. 14 and Northwestern Sept. 17 before traveling to Nebraska and Iowa Sept. 22 and 24, respectively. Ohio State then clashes with Penn State Sept. 30 in Columbus before hosting Michigan State Oct. 6 and rival Michigan Oct. 8.
“It’s unfortunate the way schedules fall at times in the conference,” Walker said. “We all understand it and we’ve done well on the road but to have Penn State and Michigan at home for the first time in a while will be a great opportunity. These games will be great for our team, specifically our seniors, and they’ll be great for our fans.”
A trip east follows, as the Buckeyes hit the road to Maryland Oct. 12 and Rutgers Oct. 15 before concluding their road slate at 2016 Big Ten Tournament champion Minnesota Oct. 21. The Buckeyes regular-season finale is set for Oct. 25 against Indiana at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
Big Ten quarterfinal matchups are set for Oct. 29 with the semifinals Nov. 3 and finals Nov. 5 at a site to be determined.
A few notes on the Buckeyes' 2017 opponents:
BYU: 18-3-1, WCC Champions, lost to South Carolina, 1-0, in NCAA Sweet 16, topped Ohio State, 3-0, last season in Columbus
Notre Dame: 13-3-5, ACC regular season champions
Saint Joseph’s: Atlantic 10 regular season champions
Northwestern: 16-3-4, tied for Big Ten regular season championship, lost to Duke, 1-0, in NCAA Sweet 16
Nebraska: 11-6-5, advanced to NCAA second round before 2-0 loss to UCLA
Penn State: 12-5-4, tied for Big Ten regular season championship, suffered 3-0 loss to Virginia in NCAA second round
Michigan: 10-5-5, advanced to NCAA tournament before first round penalty kick loss to Illinois
Rutgers: 12-5-6, lost in Big Ten Tournament championship to Minnesota, fell, 2-0, to Georgetown in second round of NCAA Tournament
Minnesota: 16-3-4, tied for Big Ten regular season championship before topping Rutgers, 2-1, to win Big Ten Tournament, fell on penalty kicks to N.C. State in NCAA first round