After ending its four game losing streak Tuesday against Kent State, the Ohio State field hockey team is set to open its Big Ten season when it takes on Michigan State Saturday.
Coach Anne Wilkinson said she was pleased with the win over Kent State, but as the team approaches the second part of the season, it is important to stand out.
“This first part of our season was a really growing period for us,” Wilkinson said. “I think after that Kent game, a lot of things came together for us.”
The team is looking to take what it did well Tuesday and build off it in East Lansing, Mich., Wilkinson said.
“We’ve seen a lot of tape of Michigan State, but we know they are going to bring a different look as well,” Wilkinson said. “We are really working on being able to adapt to different situations in the game.”
The defensive part of the game will be a focus for OSU (3-5) Saturday, and working together as a team is important in the bout with the Spartans (3-6), Wilkinson said.
“We are playing as a unit, and looking to utilize our counterattacks,” she said. “We want to be able to string passes together, really get Michigan State running.”
Freshman forward Brooke Hiltz posted two goals against Kent State to help secure the win. She said the team has been working on taking advantage of the Spartans’ weaknesses.
“We spent a lot of time on our press and outlets and kind of getting that perfect,” Hiltz said.
As the Big Ten season gets under way, sophomore forward Peanut Johnson said showing the rest of the conference the Buckeyes can compete with the top conference teams is key.
“We want to set the tone as far as Big Ten goes,” Johnson said. “It’s like a whole new season, so we really want to show everyone that we are not messing around.”
Hiltz agreed with her teammate, adding that it means a little more to lace up to play conference foes like the Spartans.
“We are all really excited to start the Big Ten,” Hiltz said. “It’s almost like (our) season is restarting and re-beginning … we are all ready to go.”
Johnson said winning Tuesday helped with the team’s confidence, and that mentally is where it needs be.
“We kind of all gathered ourselves and decided we were going to make the most of what is left of our season,” Johnson said.
The match is set to begin at 1 p.m. The Buckeyes are scheduled to return to Columbus for the first home game since Sept. 8 when they take on Louisville Oct. 1 at 3 p.m.