The Ohio State field hockey team (8-5, 2-0) won their sixth game in a row Tuesday, defeating the No. 20-ranked Louisville Cardinals (7-5), 2-1.
Junior forwards Berta Queralt and Danica Deckard each scored for the Buckeyes in the second half. Senior back Jenn Sciulli had assists on both goals.
After a scoreless first half, OSU’s offense came alive after halftime. The Buckeyes had nine shots in the second half.
“I think we were really trying to exploit the spaces Louisville provided for us,” Coach Anne Wilkinson said. “We were able to catch their backs flat and get in behind them and finish the opportunities.”
While the offense played well, it was the Buckeyes’ defense that stepped-up big late in the game.
Louisville scored in the 63rd minute, and looked like they were going to score again with less than five minutes to play.
The Cardinals took a penalty corner in the 67th minute and were able to get the ball in front of OSU’s goal. The Buckeyes stopped multiple Cardinals shots, preserving a 2-1 lead, and would hang to win.
The play was a tough one for Wilkinson to watch.
“It was close. Going through my mind I was like, let’s keep it out. I was waiting for the official to point it in our direction,” she said. “We were able to maintain our composure.”
Queralt credits the defense with getting OSU the win.
“They played really well, they saved the game in the last ten minutes,” Queralt said.
The win has the Buckeyes on a six-game winning streak that includes wins over three top-20 teams, two of which came in Big Ten play against No. 11 Michigan and No. 13 Indiana.
Ohio State has outscored their opponents 20-8 during the win streak. Queralt and Deckard have combined for 29 points in the six games.
Wilkinson said the two work well together.
“They are able to play fast, play explosive and they finish their chances,” she said. “They enjoy scoring.”
The Buckeyes have five games remaining in the regular season; four against Big Ten teams. Ohio State is tied for the conference lead with Penn State with six points.
Sciulli said she likes how the team is playing at this point in the season.
“I think we’re hitting our stride right at the exact time, right around Big Ten play,” she said. “This is right where we need to be.”
Ohio State will host the No.17-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes on Oct. 8 at Buckeye Varsity Field at 1 p.m. It is senior day, and the Buckeyes last home game of the regular season.