After being shut out by then-No. 12 Northwestern, the Ohio State field hockey team (5-12, 0-6) is scheduled have a chance for revenge against the Wildcats Thursday in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.
The Buckeyes, who are seeded seventh in the tournament, are scheduled to take on the second-seeded Wildcats at 12:15 p.m.
Despite the previous result against Northwestern, OSU coach Anne Wilkinson said the tournament is a new beginning for the Buckeyes.
“To be in the tournament, starting fresh, it’s a new season,” Wilkinson said. “I think that (the players) are excited about it.”
Senior midfielder Mona Frommhold said another chance against Northwestern is a great opportunity for OSU.
“It’s a good chance to do something better … The last game we lost 5-0,” Frommhold said. “We just want to play differently this time. We want to win, actually.”
Sophomore forward Peanut Johnson said this match will be different from the last because the team has a better idea of what to anticipate from the Wildcats.
“Now we know what to except from (Northwestern),” Johnson said. “We worked on things specific to them so I think it should be a lot better game. We’re more focusing on what we can do in relation to how they play, but we are definitely focused on making ourselves better.”
The Buckeyes need to focus on being able to finish the plays they have control over, Wilkinson said.
“Really it’s our ability to execute,” Wilkinson said. “Statistically we had more corners than they did, but they finished their opportunities. So really we need to be able to execute our opportunities, so we worked on that with a little bit of pressure this week.”
She said the main goal is to stop Northwestern from hitting dangerous areas on the field.
“We have to be aware,” Wilkinson said. “They’ve got a lot of speed so we need to be able to shut down certain areas of the field. We need to recognize (their players) early, whether we can step and deny them the ball … we are trying to get some good matchups out there both defensively and on the attack.”
Johnson said the other teams in the tournament might underestimate OSU because of its record, but that they shouldn’t count the Buckeyes out.
“People might be taking us lightly but anything can happen in tournament time,” Johnson said. “We are all really committed to showing up this tournament.”
OSU plays host to the Big Ten Tournament this year, with all games set to be played at Buckeye Varsity Field, and Frommhold said the home-team advantage will be a boost.
“I think a lot of our fans are coming and will cheer for us,” Frommhold said. “We are all very excited for the tournament.”
“We are excited but so is Northwestern,” Wilkinson said. “They are co-champions of the Big Ten and they’ve got a lot of quality players. We know it’s going to be a lot of work and we need to be able to take advantage of the opportunities that we get and really limit their chances.”
The tournament is scheduled to open at 10 a.m Thursday with Michigan taking on Iowa. The Buckeyes are set to play after the first match.