Blogging the Buckeyes: Ali Schwach Part II
Well first off: two wins, one weekend! Although we got the results we wanted this weekend, it was not easy as both games were hard-fought battles. Friday night against Iowa was a wet, windy night. However, that didn't stop our "Go Pink!"-themed night, as we honored those close to our program who have beaten or are fighting the battle against breast cancer. Six inspirational women joined us in the locker room before the game, sharing with us inspirational and encouraging words. Also, many girls wore pink headbands, pink nail polish and even pink sports bras to show our support to all of those around us affected by breast cancer! But it was then time to focus on the task at hand.
A doubleheader with the men's team left the field a bit muddy as we began the game against the Hawkeyes. Even though we went down a goal in the 20th minute, we continued to battle to remain composed and retain the ball even under the high pressure from the entire Hawkeye team. The hard work paid off when Colleen hit a great free kick with ten minutes left to go in the first half. Ashley headed the ball far post, out of the reach of the Hawkeye keeper to tie up the game. Not even five minutes later, Kendyl and Ashley played a quick wall pass around an Iowa defender, and Ashley's shot deflected off of another defender and into the near side of the goal. However, the Hawkeyes were able to even the score just two minutes before halftime, 2-2.
After a quick rest and some coaching tips at halftime, we began the second half ready to better control the game, working on the little things like team defending and keeping the field compact! Less than ten minutes into the second half, Tiffany made a great run down the sideline, received a pass from Lauren Granberg, got to the end line to serve an ideal ball to the back post, where Lauren Steuer headed in her first goal of her career! The bench went crazy. It was a battle until the final whistle, but the game ended 3-2 in favor of the Buckeyes.
With Saturday being a day off from soccer, the team met up at the Scarlet and Gray football game against Wisconsin. Every Buckeye sports team was represented on the field at halftime. While many girls left after half, I spent the rest of the game in the stands with my parents who flew in from Minnesota for the weekend. Since my brother is an alum of the University of Wisconsin, I was glad the Buckeyes put the Badgers in their place, winning 31-13! The rest of the day was spent relaxing and going out to eat - to my favorite, sushi! - with my parents.
Sunday's game against Northwestern was at noon, so the team met up a little before 9 a.m. for our favorite pre-game meal. Then it was off to the locker room to prepare for the next battle. Thankfully, the weather was much nicer on this Sunday afternoon. We were determined to win the game, using our ability to earn corners, get shots on goal, hold the opponent to no goals, and many other important stats. After the first half we had earned six corners, but no goals. It was a hard-fought half, with a great opportunity coming from Caitlyn's header off of a service from Dani, which was saved by the Wildcat goalkeeper.
The second half was much of the same, with the Buckeyes earning five more corners. Near the end of the game (with about a minute remaining) Dani - who was now playing at right forward! - made a great run with the ball. Taking on three Northwestern defenders and dribbling all the way across the penalty area, she was able to get a shot on goal, which was deflected out by the Wildcat goalkeeper for a corner. Her effort was rewarded as the last corner kick of the game, from Lauren Steuer, was headed in by Lauren Granberg with only 49 seconds remaining in the game. At a time when many players, coaches and fans were gearing up to go into overtime, the great effort by Dani revitalized the team, and we were able to capitalize off of a great corner.
Next up, we head north to University of Wisconsin and University of Minnesota for another two-game weekend! Being my senior year, I'm hoping we kick some butt up in my home state! Hopefully we will see you there!