COLUMBUS, Ohio – After a day of meetings and moving in to the team preseason hotel Tuesday, the Ohio State women’s soccer team began its 2017 season with team fitness testing and the first team training session Wednesday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center and the upper practice fields across the street from Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
The Buckeyes, led by 21st-year head coach Lori Walker-Hock, return 16 letterwinners and five starts off a 2016 team that finished with an 11-7-3 record and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, marking Ohio State’s seventh NCAA Tournament appearance in the last eight seasons.
Despite the loss of six starters, including 2016 All-Big Ten selections and NWSL Draft picks Lindsay Agnew and Nichelle Prince, the Buckeyes return five starters who accounted for 93 starts a season ago. Second team All-Big Ten picks Nikki Walts and Morgan Wolcott combined for seven goals and five assists while starting all 21 matches a year ago, while Sammy Edwards ranked second on the team with six goals in 11 starts in 2016. Haley Walker-Robinson was a stalwart on the Buckeyes’ back line, starting every game as a freshman last season and Sarah Roberts made 19 starts in the midfield. Ohio State also welcomes a talented group of a dozen freshmen along with Florida transfer Alyssa Baumbick.
Ohio State will play eight regular-season contests against 2016 NCAA Tournament teams. The 18-match schedule kicks off Aug. 18 at Arizona State with the home opener Aug. 26 against Buffalo. The Buckeyes’ 11-game home slate is highlighted by a match against ACC power Notre Dame Sept. 8 and contests against Big Ten foes Northwestern Sept. 17, Penn State Sept. 30 and Michigan Oct. 8.
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