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Road trip “a turning point” for Ohio State women’s soccer

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Junior midfielder Ellyn Gruber (5)  watches her teammates during a game against Purdue Sept. 29 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. OSU lost, 1-0. Credit: Michele Theodore / Copy chief

Junior midfielder Ellyn Gruber (5) watches her teammates during a game against Purdue Sept. 29 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. OSU lost, 1-0.
Credit: Michele Theodore / Copy chief

As the Ohio State women’s soccer team prepares for this weekend’s matches at Minnesota and Wisconsin, coach Lori Walker said her team is at critical point in the season.

“Every team has a turning point, and for us this is (going to) be a fork in the road … we’ve got to decide who we’re (going to) be from here out,” Walker said.

The Buckeyes (7-2-2, 1-1-1) fell to Purdue Sunday 1-0, giving up the match’s lone goal in the opening minute.

Despite being shut out, junior midfielder Ellyn Gruber said she saw some positives for the Buckeyes moving forward.

“We got (to the) end line a lot, we attacked and earned a lot of corners, but we didn’t finish any of the corners,” Gruber said. “But we got our chances, and they’ll come.”

Walker said she wants to see more out of her team in terms of leadership and emotion.

“We need to make sure we are checking our leadership and finding a bit more heart, because (Sunday) we played down to a level that I haven’t seen us play in many years,” Walker said.

First up for the Buckeyes on their road trip is a match against Minnesota, scheduled for Friday at 8 p.m. Heading into the match, the Golden Gophers are 8-3 overall and 1-2 in conference play, and are coming off a win in the road against then-No. 13 Michigan Sunday. Junior midfielder Katie Thyken leads Minnesota offensively, with five goals and one assist on the season.

After the Buckeyes split their matches last week, they are now tied for fourth in Big Ten play with Michigan and Illinois. So far in conference play, OSU has yet to outplay their opponent for an entire match, senior goalkeeper Rachel Middleman said.

“We still need to play 90 minutes of good soccer,” Middleman said after the Buckeyes 3-1 win over Indiana Sept. 26.

The road trip continues in Madison, Wis., as the Buckeyes take on No. 18 Wisconsin (7-1-2, 2-0-1) Sunday afternoon. Defense will be key as OSU tries to slow down a Wisconsin attack that is averaging 2.6 goals per game.

“We are (going to) work on defensive communication, so we know where everyone is at a time and who needs to mark,” sophomore goalkeeper Jillian McVicker said.

The match against Wisconsin is scheduled to kick off Sunday at 12:30 p.m.

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