Women's Soccer Plays Host to Michigan, MSU

Go Buckeyes!
Go Buckeyes!

Go Buckeyes!

Oct. 3, 2001

COLUMBUS, Ohio- The Ohio State women's soccer team (4-5-0 overall, 1-2-0 in the Big Ten) returns home after a weekend split with Indiana and Purdue to battle Big Ten leader Michigan (5-4-0, 3-1-0 Big Ten) and Michigan State (4-3-2, 1-2-1 Big Ten). OSU and UM will tangle at 6 p.m. Friday and the Buckeyes and Spartans meet on the pitch of Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium at 2 p.m. Sunday.

"It is nice to return home and get back on a normal schedule again," Lori Walker, OSU head coach, said. "Michigan and Michigan State are two teams with two different styles of play. We can't look ahead and need to stay focused and play one match at a time."

Lisa Grubb found her scoring touch again and netted both Buckeye goals in a weekend split with Indiana and Purdue. Grubb has five goals and an assist in her first OSU campaign for a total of 11 points. Grubb is among the conference leaders in game-winning goals (tied for first with three), goals (tied for fourth with five) and points (tied for sixth with 11). Her 28 shots also rank her tied for sixth in the Big Ten.

Though Lisa Grubb netted both OSU goals during the weekend, she would not have had the opportunity if Sarah Lanham was not on the field. Lanham entered the weekend with no points and came out with two big assists. The first allowed the Buckeyes to end their scoreless streak and the second helped secure the squad's first win in its last five attempts.

"Sarah is one of the most athletic players on our team," Walker said. "When she is at 100 percent, she is magic. The only way she knows how to play is at 100 percent. She stepped up at Purdue to serve the corner kicks to give Jen Miller a chance to put a head on the ball in the box so we are proud of her leadership." HOME SWEET HOME
Ohio State has nine matches reamaining with seven being contested at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.

"We set up a home-strong schedule for a few reasons," Walker said. "We wanted to show off our new stadium and we have been on the road a lot in the past few years so I wanted to stay home a little more this year. Though we are at home, we still have some very tough matches left with Penn State, Evansville and North Carolina."

The Buckeyes have reached the halfway point in the season having played nine matches to this point. Though OSU's record is just below the .500 mark, Lori Walker feels the team is still in a good position for the remainder of the year.

"You always envision an undefeated season and winning a national championship. I think there were a couple of games this year we could have and should have won and didn't. You can't change what has happened already so now all we can do is play hard and get ourselves in better position for the postseason. Our goal is to play our best soccer at the end of the season. With our schedule and talent, we could make the Big Ten tournament and maybe make the NCAA field."

Confidence is important to a young team and OSU's confidence surely is growing after going on the road to collect its first Big Ten win of the year with 1-0 defeat of Purdue Monday.

"The team is very happy (with the win)," Walker said. "The irony is we didn't play very well. I think a conference win on the road really builds our confidence and our general feeling about how the season is going. We have been pleased with the way we have been playing but very frustrated with the way we are finishing. For us to be able to put some of the pieces together without all of our personel is really good. "

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.

The Wolverines, under the guidance of eight-year coach Debbie Rademacher, lead the Big Ten Conference with a 3-1-0 record (nine points) and are two points ahead of perrenial power Penn State (2-0-1). Overall, UM is 5-4-0. After falling to Illinois, 2-1, in overtime to open their Big Ten slate, the Wolverines have posted three-consecutive shutout wins to climb atop the conference standings.

Amy Sullivant leads the UM attack with 14 points (5G, 4A) with two of her goals coming on penalty kicks. On defense, Suzie Grech has started all but one of UM's matches and has recorded 41 saves and posted 4.5 shutouts.

Ohio State and Michigan will meet for the tenth time in the history of the series. The Wolverines hold a 6-3-0 advantage in the series, have won six-consecutive matches and have outscored OSU, 16-4, in that span. UM won the last meeting, 3-1, in Ann Arbor last year. The series stands 2-2-0 when played in Columbus.

"Michigan is always a difficult team to read. They always start out slow but then turn it on in conference play. We have tremendous respect for the ability of their players. It hard to figure out where each play will play because they change positions often and it makes tough on us to prepare for them. I think it will be a very good match. The Michigan-Ohio State battle is always good soccer."

The Spartans stand 4-3-2 overall and are eighth in the Big Ten with a 1-2-1 record after a weekend in which they defeated Northwestern, 1-0, and tied Wisconsin, 0-0, in double overtime. Eleventh-year coach Tom Saxon has a young a squad that is led by Tiffany Laskowski and Stacy Heller.

Laskowski leads MSU and is sixth in the conference in points with 11 (5G, 1A). She also is tied for the Big Ten lead with three game-winning goals. Heller leads the defense with 44 saves, second in the conference, and has posted three wins by shutout. Heller averages 4.89 saves a match.

Ohio State and Michigan State have met seven times with the Buckeyes holding the slim 4-3-0 advantage. Five of the matches have been played in Columbus where OSU is 4-1-0 and has outscored the Spartans, 9-8. MSU won the last meeting a year ago in East Lansing, 2-0, to snap an OSU streak of four-consecutive wins.

"They have a very young team and I think they are battling for some consistancy as much as we are. MSU is a very athletic and well coached team. Their back line is one of the most difficult to get behind for scoring chances."

After ending its scoring slump over the weekend, OSU moved up in several statistical categories among Big Ten teams. The Buckeyes are tied for third in goals (15), fourth in points (42) and tied for fourth in assits (12) and shots (141).

The newest additions to the OSU squad have proven to be an intricate part of the early success the Buckeyes have enjoyed.

"I am very, very pleased with their contributions," Walker said. "They are learning a lot about the game at this level. Their creativity and courage at this point is very commendable."

Lisa Grubb leads the team in scoring with 11 points on a team-high five goals while fellow classmate Liz Mumley ranks tied for fourth in scoring on the strength of four assists, another team high.

In all, eight freshmen have played with half of them recording at least one point. Joining Grubb and Mumley in scoring are Emily Gilbert and Heather Miller. Both have one point on one assist.

The Buckeyes still have a few tough matches remaining on their non-conference slate, including No. 1 North Carolina and Evansville.

"UConn, Kentucky and UNC are all Top 10 programs I decided to add to our schedule," Walker said. "Obviously, the North Carolina game will be a treat." In conference play, the Buckeyes also face No. 8 Penn State and two teams just outside of the Top 25, Illinois, and Wisconsin.

OSU scored a split with the Indiana teams over the weekend including a 2-1 loss at Indiana Friday (Sept. 28) and a 1-0 win over Purdue Monday (Oct. 1). The victory Monday was the first Big Ten win of the year for the Buckeyes.

In the IU match, Lisa Grubb scored the lone OSU goal on an assist from Sarah Lanham. It was Lanham's first point of the year.

The Buckeys rebounded for their fifth-consecutive loss to battle with PU and score the 1-0 victory. The combination of Grubb from Lanham connected again for the goal. Grubb scored on a header off a corner kick from Lanham.

The Buckeyes have upset a Top 25 team in three of the five seasons Walker has been at the helm. In 1997, OSU knocked off No. 13 Penn State, 2-1, in Columbus. The Buckeyes then downed No. 18 Florida State and No. 12 Missouri, 2-1 and 3-2, respectively, last year.

Lindsay Eckles moved into a tie for fourth on the all-time goals scored ledger with her tally in the BC match. She ties Becky Borchers (1995-98) with 22 goals scored.

Eckles also moved into fifth all-time in career points with 50 on 22 goals and six assists. Emily Thorpe has advanced up the records ledger for career assists. She stands in a tie for No. 2 with Katy Traeger (1996-99) with 13 helpers.

Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium opened its doors in Fall 1999. Since then it has been home to the Ohio State men's and women's soccer teams in the fall and the men's and women's lacrosse and track teams in the spring. The stadium is one of the finest collegiate soccer facilities in the nation. The playing surface (Kentucky bluegrass) is a regulation 65 x 110. Since last season, construction was completed on an elevated grandstand-with seating available for an additional 8,000 spectators-concourse level and a working press box.

Surrounded by a wrought iron fence with brick piers, the stadium also houses locker rooms and offices for the men's and women's soccer, men's tennis, men's and women's lacrosse, field hockey and softball programs.

OSU travels west to take on Illinois and Iowa in their final two regular season road contests. The Buckeyes and Illini kick-off at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12, at the Illini Soccer Stadium in Champaign, Ill. OSU and Iowa meet in Iowa City, Iowa, at 2 p.m. Sudnay, Oct. 14.

The Buckeyes return home for the first of seven-consecutive home matches when the Northwestern Wildcats visit Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium at 7 p.m., Oct. 19.