RELATED INFO: Follow the Buckeyes on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram | Weekly Release | 2017 Schedule | 2017 Season Preview | Coach Walker-Hock Preview | Walts Preview | Wolcott Preview
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Ohio State women’s soccer team opens its 2017 season when it travels Arizona State and No. 8 BYU this weekend. The match against the Sun Devils is set for 7:30 p.m. ET Friday with the matchup against the Cougars slated for 7:30 p.m. ET Monday.
A LOOK AT 2017
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. In addition, the Buckeyes welcome a talented group of 13 newcomers to the program for the 2017 season.
BUCKEYE TRIO NAMED PLAYERS TO WATCH
Seniors Nikki Walts and Morgan Wolcott, along with freshman Maddy Lowe, have been named the Buckeyes’ players to watch, the conference office announced Monday. Ohio State was selected eighth in the Big Ten preseason coaches’ poll.
SOME MORE NOTES
- The Buckeyes are set to square off with eight NCAA Tournament teams from a season ago. Among the Buckeyes’ 2017 opponents, six appear in the United Soccer Coaches’ preseason poll including No. 8 BYU, No. 18 Notre Dame, No. 19 Minnesota, No. 21 Rutgers, No. 22 Nebraska and No. 23 Northwestern.
- Sammy Edwards is the only Buckeye on the roster with a hat trick, notching the 13th in program history in a 4-2 win against Dayton in 2014.
- Ohio State suffered just its first loss when scoring at least two goals in a game dating back to late 2013 in a 3-2 loss to Indiana Oct. 13, 2016. The defeat was the first for the Buckeyes when scoring at least two goals in a game since a 4-2 loss at No. 17 Penn State Oct. 17, 2013. Ohio State is 26-1-2 when scoring twice since that match, including 10-1-1 in 2016. The Buckeyes went 5-0-1 when scoring at least twice in 2014 before going a perfect 11-0-0 last season.
- Ohio State was 10-0-1 when scoring first a season ago.
- The Buckeyes suffered their first loss in their last 15 overtime matches in a 1-0 double-overtime defeat at No. 1 West Virginia last Nov. 18. Ohio State is now 5-1-6 in overtime matches over the last two seasons.
WALTS, WOLCOTT NAMED 2017 CAPTAINS
Seniors Nikki Walts and Morgan Wolcott have been named captains of the 2017 Ohio State women’s soccer team, head coach Lori Walker-Hock announced Aug. 15. In addition, Walker-Hock announced sophomore Meghan Kammerdeiner will serve as assistant captain of the Buckeyes.
SCOUTING ARIZONA STATE
Arizona State is under the direction of first-year head coach Graham Winkworth. The Sun Devils went 6-11-2 a year ago and return eight starters. Goalkeeper Megan Delaney posted a pair of clean sheets in 2016 while senior Jazmarie Mader scored eight goals in 12 matches.
The Buckeyes fell in their only other meeting with the Sun Devils, a 1-0 defeat in Tempe in 2010.
BYU, led by 23rd-year head coach Jennifer Rookwood, enters the season ranked No. 8 nationally in the United Soccer Coaches’ poll. The five-team defending West Coast Conference champions went 18-3-1 a year ago, losing to South Carolina in the Sweet 16. Defender Taylor Isom was named to the MAC Hermann Trophy watch list earlier this month and forward Nadia Gomes, the 2015 WCC Player of the Year, joins her on the All-WCC preseason team.
The Buckeyes lost to BYU, 3-0, in Columbus last September in the only previous meeting between the two schools.
11 AT HOME AND ADMISSION IS FREE
The Buckeyes’ schedule includes 11 matches at Bert L. & Iris S. Wolstein Field at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium this season with the home opener against Buffalo set for 6 p.m. Aug. 26. Admission is free to all Ohio State women’s soccer home games.
THE COACHING STAFF
Ohio State is under the direction of 21st-year head coach Lori Walker-Hock. She has guided the team to 11 NCAA Tournament berths (2002-03-04-07-09-10-11-12-13-15-16), a Big Ten regular season championship (2010) and three Big Ten Tournament championships (2002, 2004, 2012). Her record at Ohio State is 226-155-40 and her career record, including two seasons at Kansas, is 239-178-41.
JESSE OWENS MEMORIAL STADIUM
Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, the home to the Buckeyes, has provided quite the home-field advantage for the women’s soccer team. Some stats about the facility:
- The home team is 122-49-19 all-time.
- Ohio State is 103-32-17 since 2003 and 57-20-9 since 2009.
Ohio State opens its home schedule against Buffalo at 6 p.m. Aug. 26 at Bert. L. & Iris S. Wolstein Field at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.