As the Ohio State field hockey team attempts to climb the ranks in the Big Ten standings, it faces a stiff challenge: playing host to No. 18 Iowa and No. 19 Michigan.
OSU is currently 0-2 in Big Ten play. The team’s most recent loss came Friday at the hands of then-No. 8 Penn State, 6-1.
The Buckeyes are looking at this weekend to recover from their losses and take down two ranked teams.
Coach Anne Wilkinson said she doesn’t treat a loss as all-negative, instead trying to grow from the experience.
“We’ve learned a lot,” Wilkinson said. “Obviously, when you lose you’re learning more than you probably want to, but I think the speed of the game is something we needed to adjust to. Since (Penn State) this week I think we have been really working on the speed of our game and quick reaction time.”
Wilkinson said all of her players were involved this week in an attempt to keep the speed of the game high.
“This week we have been really practicing on everyone moving as a unit, whether it was on an attack or defense … really being there to help your teammate if they are having a problem on the field to support them and help them out,” Wilkinson said.
Senior midfielder Arielle Cowie said a big focus of practice has been communicating on the field.
“We want to really focus on our communication and be able to play together,” Cowie said. “We have been focusing a lot on playing with urgency. We want to control the tempo of the game and come out strong.”
Wilkinson said the struggles the Buckeyes have had lately are coming from an ineffectiveness in scoring goals.
“Early in the season, we were getting those opportunities and we were able to put them away,” Wilkinson said. “When you are playing a Big Ten team, everyone goes strong and hard. Opportunities are not going to come very often, and when they do, it is about being able to change your focus.”
Freshman forward Brooke Hiltz said practicing four straight days has been a huge help to get focused on what the team needs to do.
“We worked on our press and outlets this week,” Hiltz said. “We are continuing to work as a team.”
Cowie and Hiltz agreed they need strong wins this weekend over their ranked opponents.
“We want to make the statement that we are not giving up and we’re going to play every second of the game,” Cowie said. “We know it’s a big weekend and we need to get two (wins).”
Friday’s match against Iowa is set to start at 3 p.m., and Sunday’s against Michigan is scheduled for 1 p.m.