Aug. 27, 1999
COLUMBUS, Ohio -
Ohio State wrapped up its exhibition season Aug. 19 when they disposed of Oakland University 2-0. The Buckeyes now shift their sights toward the regular season, which begins Sunday with a game against 1998 NCAA participant Wright State.
Scouting Wright State
Although Wright State was only 7-11-2 in 1998, they finished the season strong, winning the Mid-Continent Conference and qualifying for the NCAA Tournament, where it lost in the first round to Indiana. The Raiders wrapped up their exhibition season Friday with a game against Bowling Green.
Senior midfielder Taryn Jones, who led Wright State last year in scoring, returns to help the Raiders offensively. A native of Xenia, Ohio, Jones had four goals and three assists for 11 points in 1998. Also returning are sophomore Randi Freeman and senior Andrea Packer, who combined to give the Raiders a strong one-two punch in goal last year. Freeman played in 14 games in 1998, posting a goals against average of 1.37 while Packer made an appearance in 11 games and also had a 1.37 goals against average.
Wright State is coached by Scott Rodgers. He has compiled a 16-23-2 record and is in his third year at the helm.
Ohio State leads the all-time series between the two school 4-2-0. The Buckeyes and Raiders last met Oct. 27, 1998, a game won by host Wright State 2-1. OSU and WSU have played every year since 1993, when Ohio State adopted a women's soccer program. The Buckeyes dropped the first game of the series before winning four straight from 1994-97. They have outscored Wright State by a combined score of 19-5 in the series' six games.
Ohio State is led by four seniors who will fill the gap left by first-team all-Big Ten pick Becky Borchers, who graduated last year. Midfielders Katie Martorella and Katy Traeger, defender Maria Jimenez and forward Melissa Fox bring valuable leadership and experience to this Buckeye squad. The foursome combines to give OSU strength in every area of the field.
Two players that should help pick up the offensive hole left by Borchers departure are Martorella and Traeger. Martorella, one of the most competitive players on the team, posted two goals and three assists for seven points a year ago while Traeger finished third on the team in scoring with 10 points. Traeger will serve as the go-to player when the team needs a surge of momentum, a distinction she earned when she led Ohio State to victories over Minnesota and Indiana in the Big Ten Tournament.
Also key to OSU this year is Melissa Fox and Maria Jimenez. Fox, described by Walker as "a player that can frustrate opponents with her persistent, scrappy play," gives the front line fire while Jimenez makes the back line one of the better defenses in the conference.
A Keeper in Goal
One of the major contributors in the 1998 season was goalkeeper Amber Barnes, who put together one of the most phenomenal seasons in Buckeye history last year. She broke numerous school records, including goals against average (1.07) and shutouts (9.0). In one remarkable five game stretch from Oct. 11 through Oct. 25, Barnes did not allow a goal, a streak that lasted nearly 495 minutes. And she proved to be tough down the stretch - her goals against average in the final 10 games of the season dropped to a paltry 0.70.
Barnes, a junior, has proven herself to be one of the best goalkeepers in OSU history. Her impressive numbers rank her first in career goals against average (1.37) and second in career saves (206) and career shutouts (12.5).
Ohio State embarks on its first road trip of the season Tue., Aug. 31, the destination being the state of New York. The first game on the trip is Wed., Sept. 1, at Syracuse. The Orangemen are coming off a 14-7-1 year and have recently been ranked No. 25 in Soccer Buzz Magazine's preseason poll. The second and final game of the trip is Fri., Sept. 3, at Colgate. The Buckeyes return home after that game and will practice over the weekend in preparation for their next home game Tue., Sept. 7, against Ohio University.
Today's game is the first women's soccer game ever in Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The coaching staff and players have praised the field specialists for the work they have done on the playing surface, made up of Kentucky bluegrass. Of the facility, Ohio State head coach Lori Walker says, "The field itself is tremendous. It's a great playing surface. It gives us a tremendous sense of pride. We see it and say, this is our home. This is something we are very proud of and when we step out on the field, we want to present our best game and play our best soccer."
When completed, the facility will be one of the nicest college soccer complexes in the nation, with an elevated concourse and seating available for 8,000 spectators. The stadium will be surrounded by a wrought iron fence with brick piers and green and white ash trees. It also will be home to the Jesse Owens memorial wall and plaque.
Last year was a record-breaking season for Ohio State in many areas. Following is a list of the milestone accomplishments of the 1998 Buckeyes:
* A first-ever appearance in the Big Ten Tournament championship game.
* A program first-ever victory over Wisconsin.
* Thirteen wins - the second-most in school history.
* A program-record five consecutive shutouts from Oct. 11 through Oct. 25.
* All-Big Ten honors for Becky Borchers, becoming only the fourth Buckeye in program history to reach that status.
* Records set for most games played (22) and fewest goals allowed (24).
Match results and information are posted immediately following every Ohio State soccer game. For up-to-date information on all of Ohio State's 35 sports, go to www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com.