Oct. 16, 2001
COLUMBUS, Ohio- The Ohio State women's soccer team (6-7-0 overall, 3-4-0 in the Big Ten) returns home to Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium this weekend for conference battles against Northwestern and Wisconsin. The Buckeyes and Wildcats match is 7 p.m. Friday and the OSU-UW match is 11:30 a.m. Sunday. The Buckeyes-Badgers match originally was slated for 2 p.m. but was moved forward to accommodate fans wishing to attend the MLS Cup at Columbus Crew Stadium.
EVENING THE SCORE
The Buckeyes have outshot their opponents, 196-135, this year but have not been able to score. After scoring two goals in seven matches, the Buckeyes' offense found its touch over the weekend by netting three goals in two-consecutive matches in wins at Illinois and Iowa.
"We made sure we were a little more accurate in what our shots were and we didn't just shoot from any place," Lori Walker, OSU head coach, said. "All of the goals were very well executed and there was more combination play than I have seen. It wasn't just one player beating it through the back line. The number of people that contributed to the goals scored were about three or four. There was no luck about it. They were well executed goals."
The OSU offense surged in part with the return of Lindsay Eckles to the lineup over the weekend. Eckles, who has led the team in scoring each of her first two years, helped change the attack for the Buckeyes.
"We made a couple of changes in our lineup and really focused on trying to rotate different people through up top," Walker said. "It got a lot of people involved and anxious about contributing. It also helped to wear down the defense once we got a good combination of Lindsay and Lisa up top, it was magic. We were very pleased to have Lindsay back and her immediate contribution and I think that really sparked everybody. There is just a complete change in the level of our confidence."
PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS
Lindsay Eckles was named the Big Ten offensive player of the week for her three-goal performance as the Buckeyes defeated Illinois and Iowa over the weekend.
Eckles scored twice over the Illini and her second goal, just 1:43 seconds before halftime, proved to be the gamewinner. Her goal against the Hawkeyes also was the gamewinner.
"Lindsay provided the instant offense we've been searching for," Walker said. "She used her time wisely when she was injured and really benefitted from being on the sidelines watching us play and watching films. It was evident in her first few touches that she was very confident and anxious to make a difference and she did."
HOME SWEET HOME
Ohio State has five matches remaining with all 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."
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.
First-year coach Jenny Haigh and the Wildcats are 4-7-1 overall and 2-4-1 in the Big Ten following a pair of victories over the weekend at Minnesota (2-1 in overtime) and UW-Milwaukee (2-1).
Northwestern is led on offense by Katie Hertz and on defense by Susan McCreery. Hertz has a team-high nine points (4G-1A) and is the lone Wildcat to have scored more than one goal this year. McCreery has started and played in every minute of NU's 12 matches. She has made 41 saves and allowed only 15 goals.
BUCKEYES VS. WILDCATS
Ohio State holds a slight advantage in its series with Northwestern with a record of 4-3-0. NU won the last match, 2-1, in Evanston, Ill., Oct. 13, 2000, to draw closer to the OSU. The Buckeyes, have been outscored by the Wildcats, 15-12, in all matches but have outscored NU, 11-4, in matches played in Columbus. OSU also is 4-0 all-time at home in the series.
WALKER ON NORTHWESTERN
"Ohio State and Northwestern always have a lot of respect for one another. They have a good team with a few players that we recruited at one time. Their offense is struggling a little now but you can't take any opponent in the conference lightly. Everybody, on a given day, can show up and win games. "
Dean Duerst, in his eighth-year at the helm of the UW program, has guided his squad to a 4-7-2 overall mark and 1-5-1 in the conference. The Badgers are led by goalkeeper Kelly Conway and the scoring of Kelly Kundert.
Conway has allowed 18 goals and made 73 saves and has shutout UW's opponents three times. Kelly Kundert has amassed 10 points on four goals and two assists for the Badgers this year.
BUCKEYES VS. BADGERS
Ohio State and Wisconsin have met eight times with UW commanding the series, 1-6-1. The series opened with five-consecutive losses by the Buckeyes. In the last three meetings, OSU is 1-1-1 having tied in double overtime (0-0) in 1997, winning, 2-0, in 1999 and falling last year, 2-1, in Madison, Wis. OSU is 1-2-1 in matches played in Columbus.
WALKER ON WISCONSIN
"Wisconsin is a difficult team to read. They had some very good success early on, similar to how we started our season, and now have fallen into a slump. They have some very strong individual players and they a play physical and direct style and that is something we have done fairly well against but it has not resulted in goals. We need to slow them down and control the game like we did last weekend."
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 16 points on a team-high six goals while fellow classmate Liz Mumley ranks tied for fourth in scoring on the strength of four assists, another team high.
In all, nine freshmen have played with four recording at least one point. Joining Grubb and Mumley in scoring are Heather Miller and Emily Gilbert with two and one assists, respectively.
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 UNC 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 found their offensive touch again, posting two wins by the score of 3-1 over hosts Illinois (Friday) and Iowa (Sunday). The victories raised OSU's record away from home to 4-3-0 on the year and 3-1 against Big Ten opponents.
Lindsay Eckles' return sparked the offense against the Illini as the junior forward netted two goals, including the gamewinner, for OSU. Melanie Vierling scored the third goal of the match to secure the win.
In its match with the Hawkeyes, OSU came out firing again and netted three more goals, this time led by the scoring of Lisa Grubb. Grubb tallied a pair of goals and Eckles netted her third on the road trip to record a second-consecutive Buckeyes win. The weekend sweep was the first for OSU since the Buckeyes recorded wins over Wright State (Aug. 31) and Kent State (Sept. 2) to open the 2001 season.
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 and Emily Thorpe, with their performances at Illinois and Iowa, have surged ahead of former Buckeye players in the record books.
Eckles has recorded 25 goals as a Buckeye, the third-most all-time in the program, and needs five more to tie the 30 posted by Lisa Suttmiller from 1994-97. Eckles also is tied with Becky Borchers (1995-98) for fourth all-time in career points with 55. Borchers tallied 22 goals and 11 assists and Eckles has posted 25 goals and six helpers.
Thorpe, with two assists on the weekend, surpassed Katy Traeger's (1996-99) 13 to move to second all-time. Thorpe trails Suttmiller's 23 helpers for the top spot all-time.
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 regular season is winding down with three matches, all at home, remaining on the slate. OSU plays host to the No. 7 Nittany Lions of Penn State to close its Big Ten schedule and the Aces of Evansville. The Buckeyes and Nittany Lions battle at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26, while the OSU-EU match is set for 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28. The Buckeyes showdown with the No. 1 North Carolina Tar Heels will take place at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3.