The Ohio State Buckeyes kick off the 2009 campaign Friday night at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium with a 7:30 p.m. game against in-state foe Bowling Green State University. The team will then travel to West Virginia Saturday for a 6:30 p.m. game Sunday against the Mountaineers.
The Buckeyes, 9-4-3 all-time in season openers, return nine starters from 2008, not including junior co-captain Cassie Dickerson who missed all but three matches last season due to injury. The other two captains are senior midfielder Ashley Bowyer and senior goalkeeper Lauren Robertson. Also returning is the Buckeyes' 2008 leading scorer, sophomore Paige Maxwell and five additional season-long starters from 2008: D Lauren Beachy, M Courtney Jenkins, M Lauren Steuer, D Colleen Brady and D Liz Sullivan.
In all, 19 Buckeyes are back from the 2008 team and nine talented freshmen have joined them in Columbus.
THE COACHING STAFF
Ohio State is under the direction of 13th-year head coach Lori Walker. Walker has guided the team to four NCAA Tournament berths (2002-03-04-07) as well as two Big Ten tournament championships (2002 and 2004). Greg Miller is in his second season as associate head coach and ninth overall with the Buckeyes. The 2009 season will also mark the second season for assistant coach Glen Tourville.
ABOUT THE FALCONS
BGSU returns nine starters off of the 2008 team that finished 2008 with a 12-6-4 record. Ohio State holds a 4-1-1 advantage over the Falcons after playing to a 1-1 draw last season. BGSU's lone win was a 2-1 decision in 2001. The Falcons return a pair of their top scorers in sophomores Megan Amann and Alyssa Zuccaro. The two combined for seven goals and nine assists last season. The team is coached by 10th-year coach Andy Richards.
ABOUT THE MOUNTAINEERS
West Virginia advanced to the NCAA round of 32 in 2008, finishing with a 14-3-6 record. WVU holds a narrow 3-2-0 edge in the all-time series against the Buckeyes, with the last match being a 3-0 Mountaineer victory in the second round of the 2003 NCAA Tournament. The Mountaineers return senior midfielder Carolyn Blank, a 2008 All-American, and sophomore forward Blake Miller, who led the team with ten goals. Coaching the Mountaineers is Nikki Izzo-Brown.
WHAT DO THE COACHES THINK?
Ohio State was picked to finish fifth in the preseason Big Ten Conference Coaches' Poll. Penn State garnered the top spot in voting by the 11 head coaches for the seventh-consecutive season and was followed by Michigan State, Illinois and Purdue.
11TH YEAR AT JESSE OWENS MEMORIAL STADIUM
Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium has proved to be a more than advantageous home for the Buckeyes in its ten years of existence. Consider:The Buckeyes' schedule includes 11 matches at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium with Big Ten action kicking off against rival Michigan on September 27. New for 2009: admission to all Ohio State home soccer matches is free to all.
- The home team is 65-29-9 all-time.
- Ohio State is 46-12-7 over the last six years and 21-7-3 the last three seasons
- The Buckeyes went 6-3-2 at home in 2008.
11 AT HOME...AND ADMISSION IS FREE
The Buckeyes' schedule includes 11 matches at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium with Big Ten action kicking off against rival Michigan on September 27. New for 2009: admission to all Ohio State home soccer matches is free to all.
Upon returning from Morgantown, the Buckeyes will host a pair of matches next weekend against the Ohio Bobcats and Pitt Panthers, August 28 and 30, respectively.