No. 11/14 Ohio State Women's Soccer Visits No. 23 Illinois and Northwestern

Go Buckeyes!
Go Buckeyes!

Go Buckeyes!

Oct. 7, 2003

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - The No. 11/14 Ohio State women's soccer team (8-1-2, 2-1-2) embarks on road trip No. 2 in Big Ten play this season as the Buckeyes matchup with No. 23/25 Illinois Friday night at 7 p.m. (CST) and complete the weekend swing with a 12:30 p.m.(CST) match against the Northwestern Wildcats.

The weekend should call for solid defensive contests as the Buckeyes and Illini are tied for first in the league in goals against average, allowing just 0.55 goals per contests, while the Wildcats give up just over one score (1.36 GAA) per match.

The Buckeyes suffered just their third blemish in 10 matches when the battled Michigan to a 1-1 double-overtime draw Friday night at Jesse Owens Stadium. OSU forward Kathy Fulk scored her third goal of the season in the second half.

The Buckeyes responded to the tie against the Wolverines with a dramatic and hard-fought 1-0 win over Michigan State Sunday. Juniors Erica Nollen and Emily Gilbert converted a corner kick in the 83rd minute to assure Ohio State's 8th win of the season.

Ohio State has celebrated its 10th anniversary season in grand fashion as the Buckeyes have posted their best record through 11 matches in program history at 8-1-2, an .818 winning percentage. The start this season matches the 1996 squad that began the year with nine wins opposed to two losses, which also serves as an .818 win percentage.

Ohio State has tied their highest rank in program history this week, claiming the No. 11 spot in the NSCAA/addidas Top 25 poll. The Buckeyes previously reached the No. 11 spot in the Sept. 15 NSCAA rankings.

After tying Michigan and defeating Michigan State this past weekend the Buckeyes have climbed six spots to the No. 14 slot in the rankings.

The Buckeyes remained in the 16th position in the poll.

The Buckeyes have held their position for the third straight week in the Great Lakes regional poll, claiming the No. 2 slot, just below No. 1 Notre Dame.

The Buckeyes remain No. 2 in the NSCAA Great Lakes Regional poll also behind UND.

Ohio State freshman goalkeeper Staci Sinkway earned Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week honors following her first career shutout in her initial game in the Buckeye starting lineup. The Mission Viejo, Calif. native helped Ohio State to a 1-0 win over Michigan State Sunday. Sinkway, who also blanked Michigan for more than 73 minutes in Friday's 1-1 tie with the Wolverines, collected four saves over the weekend series.

Sinkway, who has seen action in eight of the 11 matches this year, leads the Ohio State squad with more than 432 minutes in net and 22 saves, while also posting a sparkling 0.21 goals against average. Sinkway, who shared the weekly conference award with Indiana goalkeeper Shaunna Daugherty, has closed out six wins this season en route to posting a 2-1 overall record.

Friday's contests with the 23rd-ranked Illini marks Ohio State's third this season vs. a ranked foe. The Buckeyes have had success in matches with ranked opponents so far in 2003. The Buckeyes downed then-No. 6 Virginia Sept. 5 by a 1-0 score and conquered Purdue for the fifth straight meeting by a 2-1 count last Sunday in West Lafayette, Ind.

The Buckeyes boast a 4-1 record in their last five meetings with ranked teams, including a win last season vs. then-No. 24 Michigan in the semifinals of the 2002 Big Ten Tournament.

Ohio State boasts a 8-3 mark in its last 11 games played outside the friendly confines of Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, dating back to a 1-0 win at Wisconsin on Oct. 18 of 2002. The streak includes four neutral matches, including the three wins at the Big Ten tournament and the first-round loss in the NCAA tournament.

The Fighting Illini welcome Ohio State to Champaign sporting an 8-2-1 overall record and a Big Ten best 4-0-1 conference mark. Illinois enters Friday's contest gaining wins over Wisconsin and Minnesota this past weekend.

The Illini are led by junior forward Tara Hurless. Hurless is the Illini's top scorer on the season with five goals and 12 points. Last season, Hurless was named second team All-Big Ten, scoring 12 goals in 2002.

Net-minding duties belong to a former 2003 Big Ten player of the week, junior Leisha Alcia. Alcia sports a 7-2-1 record and has 1,001 minutes, 32 saves and a goals against average of 0.54. In 2002 Alcia set the Illinois saves record with 97. In 2001 Alcia was named to the freshmen All-American team and a spot on the Canadian National Team.

The head coach for Illinois is Janet Rayfond. Rayfond is now in her second season with the Illini, she owns a 17-13-2 record at Illinois and a 62-77-9 career mark.

Last season Ohio State defeated Illinois 2-1 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.

Leading the way for Ohio State were Lisa Grubb and Danielle Dietrich. Dietrich's score would even the match at 1-1 when she fired a 30-yard shot past goalkeeper Leisha Alcia. Less than four minutes later Lisa Grubb knocked in the game-winner by re-directing a shot from Danielle Dietrich with the back of her heel past Alcia.

Emily Haynam would preserve the Buckeyes victory by making five saves in the second half.

The series between the Buckeyes and the Illini is tied at three wins apiece. Ohio State owns a 2-1 record at Illinois and Illinois holds a 2-1 record at Ohio State.

The Wildcats enter the weekend with a 6-5 record along with a 2-3 conference mark. The Wildcats are hoping to break a two-game loosing streak from this past weekend when they were defeated by Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The Wildcats are led by junior forward Kristen Pierce. Pierce is the leading scorer for the Wildcats with three goals and eight points. Joining Pierce up front is fellow senior forward Aileen Guiney. Guiney, who has six points on the season, set school records in assists (five) and points (11) in 2002.

The goaltender for the Wildcats is freshman Whitney Jones. Jones, has tallied a 1.34 goal against average along with 39 saves. Jones also has completed four shutouts.

Jenny Haigh is now in her third season as the Wildcats head coach. Haigh owns an 18-25-5 career mark. Before coming to Northwestern, Haigh assisted in building the Arizona State women's program. At ASU she assisted with a program that went from a 4-12 1997 season to a NCAA tournament participant in 2000.

In last season's contest Ohio State was able to slip past Northwestern by a 2-1 count. Lisa Grubb and Kelly Enmark each scored goals for Ohio State in the victory. Grubb's goal came first in the 20th minute when she received a pass from Colleen Hoban and fired a shot past goalkeeper Susie McCreery.

Ohio State's second goal came in the 50th minute of play when Kelly Enmark fielded a spectacular pass from Jen Miller and one-timed it past McCreery from 25 yards out.

Northwestern would tally a goal in the 52nd minute when Kristen Pierce looped a shot over the head of OSU goalkeeper Jen Heaney.

Five separate Buckeyes have netted two goals in a match this season. The latest, Danielle Dietrich, led the Buckeyes to a 2-1 win over Purdue Sunday.

In addition to Dietrich's effort, Freshman Jackie Lafond set a career-high with two goals in the Youngstown State win.

Junior midfielder Emily Gilbert fueled Ohio State's 3-1 win over Coastal Carolina with her first two-goal performance of her career, as the Cincinnati native netted a header in both the first and second halves of last Sunday's contest. Gilbert also set a career-best in assists in one game, as she played a hand on three scores in the 4-1 triumph at Wright State.

Fellow junior Liz Mumley also established a career-high when she netted two goals in the Buckeye win over Wright State on August 31.

In the first match of the season, Ohio State junior Lisa Grubb posted two goals in Ohio State's 4-1 win over Indiana State en route to being named Big Ten offensive player of the week for Sept. 1.

After 11 games this season the Buckeyes continue to find themselves near the top of many statistical categories in the Big Ten. On the defensive side, Ohio State is currently tied for first with Illinois in the goals allowed department with six. The Buckeyes and Illini sport a 0.55 GAA, which also serves as tops in the league.

On the offensive side, the Buckeyes rank third in shots (186), points (84), goals (26) and goals per game (2.36), while placing first in assists with 32 and assists per game at 2.91.

Individually, Ohio State junior defender Paige Harrison leads the conference with seven assists, while fellow junior Emily Gilbert is tied for second in the same category with five scoring passes.

On the season, the Buckeyes hold a 26-6 advantage in goals. The 20-goal margin is OSU's largest through 11 games since the 1996 squad outscored its opponents 28-7 en route to a 9-2 start.

Included in Ohio State's offensive dominance is an 32-8 advantage in assists.

Ohio State owns an astounding 83-35 ledger in corner kicks through 11 games this season, highlighted by two consecutive matches - Iowa and Youngstown State - where the Buckeyes shutout the Hawkeyes and Penguins in the corner kick department. In the two matches, the Buckeyes held a 21-0 advantage.

Most recently, Ohio State held Michigan State to one corner kick, which came in the 88th minutes, in last week's 1-0 decision over the Spartans.

Ohio State's goal box has been occupied by a trio of solid goalies in 2003. Juniors Jen Heaney and Emily Haynam and freshman Staci Sinkway all have shared the net in 10 of the 11 matches this season.

Leading the way is Sinkway who has posted over 432 minutes and has posted a 2-1 record, including a shutout. Sinkway has emerged as a talented and strong competitor in goal. Sinkway has posted a sparkling GAA of 0.21. She also leads her teammates with 22 saves and a save percentage of .957.

Haynam has started eight of the 11 contests played this season and posts a 0.97 GAA with 22 saves and a .833 save percentage.

Heaney, who has started two games this season, has posted three victories and has allowed zero goals and posts a stellar 0.00 GAA. Heaney also has seen action in the Buckeye frontline.

The Buckeyes have recorded five shutouts in their 11 matches in 2003. The Ohio State backline, featuring juniors Erica Nollen and Paige Harrison, sophomore Kristin Sawchak, and freshman Melissa Miller and Emily Francis, has allowed just six goals in 116 opponent shots, including just one shot in the win over Youngstown State.

Ohio State also enjoys a 94-53 advantage in shots on goal.

Overall, the Ohio State defense has allowed just 0.52 goals per game, as each of the 11 opponents has been held to no more than one goal in a single contest.

Ohio State has proven to spread its offensive production over both the first and second halves of games this season, as the Buckeye have posted 12 goals in the first half and 14 in the second period for its season total of 26.

Ohio State has posted near-identical first and second half combined figures in several other categories, as the Buckeyes have totaled 97 of their 186 shots in the second half. In addition, Ohio State has nearly split its corner kick opportunities right down the middle, as the Buckeyes have fired 39 in the first stanza and 43 in the second period.

Ohio State junior forward Lisa Grubb was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 1, as she recorded two goals and one assist in OSU's 4-1 season opening win over Indiana State.

Grubb, the 2002 Big Ten Tournament Offensive MVP, tallied her 18th and 19th career goals and ninth career assist in the victory, as she moved into sixth place in the program's career points list with 45.

Ohio State's noted academic success reaches deep into head coach Lori Walker's tenure, as she has mentored 36 student-athletes to Academic All-Big Ten selections, including a program-best 11 honorees in 2002. The program also boasts 62 OSU Scholar-Athlete selections and the collegiate academic award in 2002.

The Buckeyes return home to Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium for a weekend series against Big Ten rivals Wisconsin on Friday Oct. 17 at 7:30 p.m. and Minnesota Sunday Oct. 19 at 2 p.m.