Oct. 9, 2001
COLUMBUS, Ohio- The Ohio State women's soccer team (4-7-0 overall, 1-4-0 in the Big Ten) travels west to face Illinois and Iowa in its final road trip of the regular season this weekend. The Buckeyes and Illini open the weekend at 8 p.m. (EDT) Friday in Champaign, Ill.
The match with the Hawkeyes is slated for 2 p.m. (EDT) Sunday in Iowa City, Iowa. The Buckeyes will look to get their offense back on track this weekend in the midst of a scoring slump. After starting the year with 12 goals and three wins, OSU has been limited to three goals and a 1-7 record.
"We are outshooting our opponents," Lori Walker, OSU head coach, said. "We just need to take better shots and finish the chances we have."
The Buckeyes have had five of their 11 matches decided by one goal and have posted a 2-3 record. OSU defeated No. 9 Connecticut, 2-1, and Purdue, 1-0. Its defeats came against Minnesota, 1-0, Indiana, 2-1 and Michigan State, 1-0.
Even with its close matches, OSU has yet to participate in an overtime match this year. If that trend holds up, it would be the first time in the program's eight-year history the Buckeyes would not play a match with extra time. The 1996 team played in one overtime match with the other seven squads playing either two or three matches beyond regulation.
Statistically, Ohio State is outshooting its opponents, 167-107, but has been unable to score. After missing five-consecutive matches, the Buckeyes' leading scorer over the past two seasons, Lindsay Eckles, returns to the lineup this weekend.
"We anticipate that she (Eckles) will get some minutes this weekend and we are excited about that because she adds some variety to our attack," Walker said. "The hope is that Holly Cram, Lisa Grubb, Emily Thorpe and Courtney Nein learn to get open and that Lindsay has been able to learn a few things while being sidelined. I think she has seen how things can open up and that getting an assist can be just as good as scoring a goal."
HOME SWEET HOME
Ohio State has seven matches remaining with five 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."
Though the offense has not been hitting on all cylinders, the defense has been able to keep the team in the match.
"Our defending has been very solid," Walker said. "We haven't put a ball in the net early in the match to take some of the wind out the sails of our opponents. I think that has really frustrated and hindered us. I am very confident in our defense and their ability but we have to make sure we are taking care of business on the front end. We have to continue to really get after teams, both offensively and defensively."
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.
The Fighting Illini enter the weekend in second place in the Big Ten with a 4-1-0 record and an overall mark of 6-4-0. Currently unbeaten in two -consecutive matches, third-year head coach Tricia Taliaferro's team has been led by the play of Colleen Joyce and Leisha Alcia. Joyce, a player of the week recipient Sept. 3, is third among conference players in points (15) and goals (7) and has taken 30 shots.
Alcia, also a Big Ten player of the week (Sept. 24), has recorded 32 saves and holds a 1.29 goals-against average.
As a team, UI leads the conference in shots (214) taking 21.4 per match. The Illini also are tied for third in the Big Ten with 19 goals.
BUCKEYES VS. ILLINI
Ohio State and Illinois have met on the pitch four times with the Illini claiming victory in three matches. The Buckeyes' win in the series came at UI in 1997 when OSU won the match, 3-1. The Illini won the last match, 4-0, in Columbus a year ago marking the first shutout in the series. The Buckeyes have been outscored in the series, 15-6, and in matches at UI, 6-5.
WALKER ON ILLINOIS
"Our rivalry with Illinois has always been difficult, especially in the past two years. We have to go in with the mentality to not allow them to shoot."
Second-year coach Wendy Logan and her Hawkeyes are 5-6-0 overall this year and stand fifth in the Big Ten with a 3-2-0 record. UI is led on the field by the play of Sarah Lynch and goalkeeper Britta Vogele.
Lynch is tied for fourth among conference players with five goals and leads the team with 10 points.
Vogele leads the conference in goals-against average allowing 0.8 per game (six goals in eight matches) and is second in the Big Ten with four wins via shutout. Her 53 saves rank third.
BUCKEYES VS. HAWKEYES
Ohio State and Iowa will meet for the fifth time with the series knotted at two. The series has been dominated by the play of the home team as each team is 2-0 at home. OSU won the last match, 2-1, in Columbus, marking the first time a team did not win in a shutout. The Hawkeyes have outscored the Buckeyes, 6-5, in the series but also have not allowed a goal in the two matches in Iowa City, Iowa, outscoring OSU, 5-0.
WALKER ON IOWA
"Iowa is usually a pretty difficult place to play. They have a good team and their stadium is tough to play in. It is usually windy and that adds to the tough nature of the match. "
The OSU offense ranks in the upper tier of the Big Ten statistics including the fourth-most shots taken, 167. The Buckeyes also rank fifth with 15 goals, sixth with 42 points and fifth in assists with 12.
Defensively, OSU, along with Minnesota, has allowed the most goals in the conference with 18 but rank seventh in saves with 38.
Individually, Grubb is among the conference leaders in shots (third with 38), goals (fourth with five) and points (eighth with 11). Liz Mumley ranks third in the Big Ten with four assists.
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 REMAINING MATCHES
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.
THE REMAINING MATCHES II
Ohio State's seven remaining opponents are a combined 42-26-4 led by UNC's 10-0-0 record. Penn State and Evansville stand 8-2-1 and 7-2-0, respectively.
LAST TIME OUT
The Buckeyes were swept by Michigan and Michigan State in two shutout decisions at home over the weekend. UM topped OSU, 4-0, Friday and MSU pulled out a 1-0 decision over the Buckeyes. The OSU-UM match was tightly contested with the Wolverines holding a 1-0 lead at the half. UM blew the match open in the second, though, as OSU surrendered three goals.
The Buckeyes and Spartans also played a close match with MSU's game-winning goal coming with three minutes remaining in the match.
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.
THE BUCKEYES HAVE A NEW HOME
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.
NEXT TIME OUT
The Buckeyes return home to close out their regular season schedule with five-consecutive home matches. OSU plays host to Northwestern at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19, at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The Buckeyes also battle Wisconsin at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21, to finish the weekend.