The top-scoring team in the Big Ten, Ohio State is tied atop the conference with Penn State heading into the weekend and can clinch at least a share of the Big Ten regular season title for the first time in program history with a win.
SCOUTING THE SPARTANS
Led by 19th-year head coach Tom Saxton, the Spartans have posted a 10-4-4 record, 3-4-2 in the Big Ten. Senior forward Lauren Hill leads the Spartans with five goals in 2009.
The Buckeyes lead the all-time series, 8-7-0, with Michigan State taking last year's meeting, 5-1, in East Lansing.
THE COACHING STAFF
Ohio State is under the direction of 13th-year head coach Lori Walker. She has guided the team to four NCAA tournament berths (2002-03-04-07) as well as two Big Ten tournament championships (2002 and 2004). Greg Miller is in his second season as associate head coach and ninth overall with the Buckeyes. The 2009 season marks the second season for assistant coach Glen Tourville.
The Buckeyes' 14-2-2 start marks the best start in school history, just ahead of the 2003 and 2004 teams which started out 12-3-3 after their first 18 games. The 2003 team finished the season with a 13-5-3 record, advancing to the second round of the NCAA tournament and the 2004 squad finished 19-4-3 before falling to UCLA in the NCAA Round of 16.
Ohio State has posted a 7-1-1 record in Big Ten play. The seven wins are the most by a Buckeye team in conference play.
AGAINST THE BEST
Ohio State has posted a 4-0-1 record against ranked opponents in 2009. The four wins against top 25 opponents this year match the total number of wins against ranked opponents over the last five seasons.
TAKING THEIR SHOTS
Ohio State has outshot its opponents 281-119 overall and 118-38 on goal. The Buckeyes have been outshot in just one game this year, a scoreless tie at West Virginia.
There also has been a huge disparity on corner kicks as the Buckeyes hold a 131-43 advantage over their opponents in that category.
The Buckeyes are tied for second in the NCAA in shutout percentage after posting clean sheets against 13 of their first 18 opponents. Ohio State has trailed in fewer than 131 of 1,670 minutes played.
SHUTTING THEM DOWN
Goalkeeper Lauren "Taz" Robertson leads the Big Ten and is 10th nationally with a 0.49 goals-against average. The senior co-captain and Ohio State career shutout leader with 29 has 12 clean sheets in 18 games in 2009, setting the single-season school record. The 29 career shutouts put Robertson in sole possession of second place all-time in the Big Ten.
The winningest goalkeeper in Ohio State history with 42, Robertson has been named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week four times in 2009 and nine times in her career.
HAPPY TO HELP
Lauren Steuer's move from the back line to the midfield in 2009 has added a huge boost to the Buckeye offense. The Cincinnati native and fourth-year junior tallied her first career goal, a game-winner against Iowa, and has added three more in the six games since then. In addition, three of her seven assists have come on Ohio State game-winning goals.
Steuer was named a collegesoccer360.com Primetime Performer of the Week after scoring a goal and adding a pair of assists, one on the game-winner, against Indiana. It was the third time in the past four weeks Steuer received the honor.
On Nov. 1 against Indiana, Ashley Bowyer became just the sixth player in Ohio State history to start 80-plus games.
LAUREN TO LAUREN
After Lauren Granberg assisted on Lauren Steuer's game-winner Oct. 9 against Iowa, the junior returned the favor, playing a perfect corner kick on Granberg's game-winning header with 49 seconds remaining Oct. 11 against Northwestern.
Steuer has assisted on four of Granberg's six goals in 2009.
Forwards Paige Maxwell and Lauren Granberg lead the team with six goals each in 2009. Maxwell notched her second career hat trick in Ohio State's 6-0 win over Youngstown State. She is just the second Buckeye in history to record multiple hat tricks.
Freshmen Lauren Granberg and Tiffany Cameron have combined to account for 10 goals and four assists for the Buckeyes in 2009. The Canadian U-17 teammates have notched a total of three game-winners.
In all, freshmen or sophomores have accounted for 24 of the 38 Buckeye goals this season and eight of the 14 game-winning goals.
DISHING IT OUT
Junior Lauren Steuer sits third in the Big Ten with seven assists, a total that ranks eighth all-time at Ohio State.
Eighteen Buckeyes have recorded at least one point in 2009. Only the 2004 team has had more Buckeyes contribute offensively with 19.
MOVING ON UP
The Buckeyes are ranked No. 11 in both the NSCAA/adidas and Soccer America rankings. It marks the eighth-consecutive week Ohio State has been ranked.
The No. 11 ranking is the highest for the Buckeyes since Sept. 4, 2005.
BUCKEYES IN THE RPI
In the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) rankings published by the NCAA Nov. 3, Ohio State moved up to 12th nationally and second in the Big Ten, two spots behind Penn State. The RPI will be released every two weeks for the remainder of the season.
AT HOME AT JESSE OWENS
Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium has proved to be a more than advantageous home for the Buckeyes in its 10 years of existence. Consider:
- The home team is 74-30-9 all-time.
- Ohio State is 55-13-7 since 2003 and 30-8-3 since 2006.
- The Buckeyes went 6-3-2 at home in 2008.
- So far this season, Ohio State is 9-1 at home.
UP NEXT: WAITING...
The Buckeyes will wait to find out their NCAA tournament fate until the NCAA Selection Show Monday at 8 p.m. on ESPNews. First round play begins Nov. 13.