Aug. 27, 2001
COLUMBUS, Ohio--The Ohio State women's soccer team opens its 2001 campaign Friday with the first of two all-Ohio battles when it plays host to the Wright State Raiders at 5:30 p.m. OSU will return to action in a 3 p.m. contest Sunday when Kent State visits Columbus.
"It is a good start for us to open the season with two Ohio teams," Lori Walker, OSU head coach, said. "It will be nice to open our new stadium and get a good look at the team we have."
Two For One
Both the OSU women's and men's programs will be in action at home this weekend. Following the OSU-Wright State match, the men open their season with a 7:30 p.m. battle with West Virginia.
On Sunday, the men precede the women with a 1 p.m. Big Ten Conference match with Northwestern.
Walker at the Helm
In four seasons as head coach, Lori Walker has amassed a 40-36-4 record (.525) with the Scarlet and Gray, including two 12-plus win campaigns. She is 12-23-2 (.351) in Big Ten play. Walker stands 53-59-5 overall in six seasons as a collegiate coach following a two year stint at Kansas.
Walker's team grew in number since the 2000 campaign with the addition of 11 freshmen and two transfers to the program.
Both transfers, Becky Broering and Jackie Shirer, hail from the state of Ohio and have returned to the Buckeye State following stints with Purdue and South Alabama, respectively.
Four freshmen come to Columbus from outside of the state with the remaining seven coming from Ohio. Tammy McCarroll (Indiana), Liz Mumley (Virginia), Holly Cram (California) and Lisa Grubb (Michigan) make up the non-Ohioan contingent. McCarroll will be called on to help solidify a strong defense while Mumley will add her name to the talented midfield. Cram and Grub will add depth up front. The Buckeyes' instate additions include two goalkeepers, Jen Heaney and Michelle Muhme, and position players Jen Kaperak, Paige Harrison, Erica Nollen, Emily Gilbert and Heather Miller.
All of the newcomers should contribute right away.
Another Hearty Welcome
Walker also has added Jon Lipsitz and Greg Miller to the coaching staff to fill the vacancies left after the departure of Croft Young and Erin Taylor in the offseason.
Lipsitz comes to the Buckeyes after serving as the director of coaching education and player development for the Ohio Premier soccer club in Dublin, Ohio.
Miller joins the OSU staff after stints with Butler, the Indiana State Olympic Development Program and the Indiana Youth Soccer Association in Indianapolis, Ind.
Walker is preparing to lead an energetic and talented group of student-athletes who have grown as a result of their misfortune.
"I feel we've regenerated after a tough year," Walker said. "We had to take a long, hard look in the mirror and sort out what happened and why. We have no excuses. We are ready to be a national contender but as always, we will have to start with the Big Ten."
Leading the charge into the 2001 season are senior forwards Melaine Vierling, Courtney Nein, Brynn Catino and Brooke Thomas along with midfielder Emily Thorpe.
The juniors also solidify the team with talent at all positions. Lizzy Moore, Broering, Jen Miller, Shelley Besson and Sarah Lanham bring experience to the defense while fellow classmates Lindsay Eckles and Kara Brant provide a spark on offense.
The sophomores, after a year of experience, will add even more depth to the squad. Shirer, who led South Alabama in scoring as a freshman, joins goalkeeper Anna Mitchell, and defenders Jennica Kidd and Liz White.
Defense to Decide
Behind every national contender is a strong defense. With the addition of six new defensive players including two goalkeepers, the Buckeyes are poised to contain some of the high-power offenses they will face this year such as North Carolina and Connecticut.
"We are not a defensive-minded team," Walker said, "but we are a team that is going to win games because of our tireless work rate on defense and our perfect positioning."
In the Opener
The Buckeyes have compiled a 5-1-2 overall mark in season openers (3-0-1 at home) in the eight-year history of the program. OSU suffered its only loss a year ago in a 4-1 decision to Oakland.
In its first home match of the season, OSU stands 6-1-1 all-time, has out-scored its opponent, 20-7, and has posted five shutouts. The Buckeyes have tallied wins over Dayton (1-0, 1993), Louisville (5-2, 1994), Michigan (2-0, 1995), Louisville (3-0, 1996), Purdue (4-0, 1998) and Wright State (3-0, 1999).
The Remaining Matches
After an opening weekend with two Ohio opponents, OSU jumps into one of the tougher schedules the program has seen in recent years including defending national champion North Carolina.
"UConn, Kentucky and UNC are all Top 10 programs I decided to add to our schedule," Walker said. "Connecticut is going to be a fantastic game and right away will give us a read on the rest of the season. Boston College will not be an easy match either. Kentucky is a big game. Quite a few players from Ohio have gone across the border to play in Kentucky so it's a natural rivalry. Obviously, the North Carolina game will be a treat."
Scouting Wright State
Wright State comes to Columbus after claiming the Mid-Continent Conference (now the Horizon League) Championship for three-consecutive years.
Fourth-year head coach Scott Rodgers is 33-17-6 in his three years at the WSU helm due to the play of his senior goalkeeper, Randi Freeman, the conference's most valuable player for three-consecutive years who has helped lead the Raiders to the NCAA tournament each of the last three years.
Buckeyes vs. Raiders
OSU leads the overall series with the Raiders, 5-2-0, and won the last meeting, 3-0, in the first match of the 1999 campaign. In seven matches, OSU has outscored WSU, 22-5, and has two shutout wins.
"Wright State has had great success over the years," Walker said. "It is a team we have great respect for and we always look forward to the competitions we have with them."
Scouting Kent State
Kent State, now in its third year, is under the guidance of first-year head coach Rob Marinaro. The Golden Flashes went 4-1-1 before the injury bug settled in Kent, Ohio. Now they look to remain healthy and improve.
Lauren Caminiti returns for her second year at KSU after leading the team in scoring and points as a freshman. She netted 10 of the team's 29 goals for the year.
Buckeyes vs. Golden Flashes
OSU and KSU will meet on the field for the first time in the series. The Golden Flashes are the 10th Ohio team the Buckeyes will have faced in its eight-year existence. OSU holds an 18-11-1 advantage over intrastate opponents.
"We are not as familiar with Kent State as we are with Wright State because they are a relatively younger program and that leads to bit of a mystery for us. We should play well and be more prepared for the rest of the season."
Last Time Out: Butler Exhibition
OSU fell, 2-1, to the Butler Bulldogs at Varsity Field in Indianapolis, Ind., Aug. 23. It was a scrimmage and the first match of the season for the Buckeyes.
Thorpe netted the lone goal for OSU after absorbing a 1-0 halftime deficit. Grubb assisted on the goal in the 75th minute.
Heaney was given the starting assignment in goal and tallied one save and one goal allowed while teammate Mitchell allowed one goal with one save as well.
Walker on the Butler Exhibition
"We were pleased to have 20 players get some playing time to let us see how they can play and what options we have. I saw that we have more depth than we have had and that is a good thing to see. I think the freshmen are challenging the returning starters for their spots and that competition is great for us.
"We are healthy, knock on wood, and our preseason went well. The players came in fit and they are ready to play. They are very anxious to get after it Friday."
Next Time Out
OSU heads to Storrs, Conn., and the home of the Connecticut Huskies for the UConn Classic held Friday and Sunday at Morrone Stadium.
The Buckeyes will take on No. 15 UConn in the second match Friday at 7 p.m. following the conclusion of Georgia/No. 22 Boston College. OSU will play BC in the first match Sunday at noon.