COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio State women’s soccer team continued its successful start to the season by winning it fourth-consecutive game at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, 1-0, over Pepperdine. The win improved Ohio State’s record to 4-0-0 while Pepperdine drops to 0-2-1.
Sophomore Ashley Bowyer scored the game-winner for the Buckeyes in the 71st-minute off an assist from Lara Dickenmann. The play was started by freshman Ali Whitehurst, who moved the ball down the left sideline and sent a pass into a crowded box. Several individuals from both teams were in the vicinity of the ball, but Dickenmann got control, tapped a pass to Bowyer who slammed the ball into the net from about 10-yards out for her third career goal and second this season.
It was a fitting goal and result, considering the Buckeyes out-shot Pepperdine, 21-4, and held an 8-2 advantage in shots on goal.
“We are youthful on the attack but we’re getting a lot of motion from our players,” Lori Walker, Ohio State head coach, said.
The first half was scoreless, but not for lack of trying. Freshman Alex Burzynski walked in on Pepperdine goalie Kayla Stolte in the first two minutes and fired a shot from point-blank range that Stolte was able to save. It was one of 13 shots and three on goal for the Buckeyes in the first half. The Waves had just two shots with one on goal.
Moments later Dickenmann sent a drive wide and fans could sense the start of something positive on this night for Ohio State.
In the second half, the shots continued to be there for Ohio State. The best chance prior to Bowyer’s goal was when junior Lisa Collison got a step on two defenders and, despite being hounded by the two Waves, was able to get a hard shot on goal that Stolte smothered.
With senior co-captain Amanda Ball controlling the middle of the field and expertly managing the Buckeyes’ attack, the team’s defense was never seriously threatened by the Pepperdine offense, which has yet to score a goal this season. Sophomore goalkeeper Lauren Robertson only had to make two saves in recording her Big Ten Conference-leading third shutout of the season and the eighth of her career. Ball’s leadership and overall field administration earned her the team’s player of the game award.
“Amanda Ball is a complete player,” Walker said. “She organizes her passes, she controls the midfield and she picks her spots. She’s been a real key to our start.”
This was just the second meeting between Ohio State and Pepperdine. Last year, Pepperdine won in Malibu, 1-0, in a physical contest that featured one red card, three yellow cards and 62 stitches to the forehead of a Buckeye.
Ohio State returns to action Sunday at 1 p.m. in Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium against San Diego.
Not Necessarily Game Notes, but Good Stuff:
- The Buckeyes are 12-2 the past two seasons when Lara Dickenmann records either a goal or an assist.
- The 4-0 start is the third-best start in the program's 15-year history. The 2003 and 1998 teams each started the season 5-0.
- Robert Ziegler, a reporter from the comprehensive soccer web site Top Drawer Soccer (www.topdrawersoccer.com) made the trek from Indianapolis to cover the game from the pressbox at Jesse Owens Stadium.
- Ashley Bowyer (2-1-5) and Carla Arbulu (1-3-5) lead the team in scoring.
- Freshmen Courtney Jenkins and Genna Brand have tallied four points each.
- Ohio State has a 2-to-1 edge in shots - 80-39 - and a 3-to-1 edge in corner kicks - 24-8.
- Alex Burzynski had five shots and three on goal against Pepperdine.
- Dickenmann also had five shots against Pepperdine and leads the team with 14.
Walker Adds Five for 2016