COLUMBUS, Ohio – The ninth-ranked Ohio State women’s soccer team has earned a No. 4 seed and will host Vanderbilt in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Friday in Columbus. The match is slated for 6 p.m. at Bert L. & Iris S. Wolstein Field at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
“We’re excited to host Vanderbilt,” Lori Walker-Hock, Ohio State head coach, said. “We’ve never played them so that’s always an enjoyable part of the NCAA Tournament. I’m really proud of our team. It’s a great honor to host and I’m excited to continue this season with them.”
Ohio State won its first outright Big Ten championship in 2017 and enters the NCAA Tournament with a 15-4-1 record. The Buckeyes, who finished with a 9-2-0 conference record, will be playing in their 12th NCAA Tournament and eighth in the last nine seasons. Ohio State is 12-10-2 all-time in NCAA Tournament contests, all under the direction of 21st-year head coach Lori Walker-Hock.
Senior Sammy Edwards leads the Buckeyes with 10 goals on the season while midfielder Nikki Walts has added a team-best nine assists. Goalkeeper Devon Kerr has tallied a 0.56 goals-against average with nine shutouts. Walts was named Big Ten Midfielder of the Year while Morgan Wolcott earned Big Ten Defender of the Year honors and Walker-Hock was the unanimous choice for Big Ten Coach of the Year. Edwards, Walts and Wolcott each garnered first team All-Big Ten laurels.
“I’m excited to start this NCAA Tournament,” Walts said. “Vanderbilt is a quality team but I feel like our regular season has prepared us for this. I’m looking forward to getting going in training tomorrow to prepare for Friday night.”
Vanderbilt is 12-6-2 on year, 6-3-1 in SEC play. Simone Charley is tied for the team lead with four goals while leading the Commodores with six assists. Goalkeeper Kaitlyn Fahrner has seen the majority of the time in goal, posting a 0.83 goals-against average with four clean sheets. The match Friday will be the first between the two teams.
The Big Ten will have five teams in the NCAA Tournament. Ohio State will be joined by Penn State, Northwestern, Rutgers and Wisconsin. The Buckeyes did not play the Badgers during the regular season but did face Notre Dame and South Florida, two other NCAA Tournament qualifiers in 2017.