The Ohio State field hockey team opened Big Ten play Friday in dramatic fashion.
OSU junior forward Danica Deckard scored two goals in the game, including the game winner with less than two minutes to play, to give the Buckeyes (5-5, 1-0) a 2-1 victory against the No. 11-ranked Michigan Wolverines (6-3, 0-1).
With 1:32 remaining in the game, Deckard scored off a penalty corner after receiving a pass from junior forward Berta Queralt. Deckard received the pass at the top of the circle and put the ball in the back of the goal, and the 217 spectators in attendance at Buckeye Varsity Field erupted.
Head coach Anne Wilkinson praised Deckard after the game, saying that her finishing was excellent.
“(Deckard) was able to maintain composure and when she gets a hold of the ball, it’s tough to stop by any defender,” Wilkinson said.
Deckard gave the credit to her teammates, saying, “I think it was just one of those things where my teammates set me up and it was easy to put them in.”
Michigan’s lone goal came in the 13th minute of the first half. Senior midfielder Bryn Bain scored off a penalty stroke, which tied the game at 1-1.
The Buckeyes held Michigan scoreless for the rest of the game.
The Wolverines out-shot OSU 13-9, but the Buckeye defense, led by senior goalkeeper Ally Tunitis, held up. Tunitis finished the game with six saves.
“We do have a really strong defense,” Queralt said. “We’ve been playing together for a while. We studied (Michigan) and know who (Michigan’s) key players are and we were able to keep them down.”
“They do a great job back there,” Deckard said. “We’re lucky to have them.”
Holding the Michigan offense to one goal was no easy task as the Wolverines brought a four-game win streak into Columbus and had scored at least three goals in each of the wins.
“Michigan’s a top-notch team,” Wilkinson said. “They’re excellent. We did a great job stopping their attack.”
Ohio State has now won three games in a row, and four of the last five games against 2010 co-Big Ten champion Michigan.
“This game means a lot,” Queralt said. “It was the first Big Ten game. We were Big Ten co-champions last year, so we want to repeat. We liked that experience last year. Winning this game is a really good start and sets us up good for our following games.”
Ohio State will travel to play Ball State on Tuesday before returning home to play No. 18 Indiana (7-2, 1-0) Friday at 3 p.m.