Morgan Kile’s first career goal sparked the Ohio State field hockey team Sunday afternoon at Buckeye Varsity Field as the Buckeyes handled the Appalachian State Mountaineers, 9-1, to salvage a split of the weekend’s matchups.
It took OSU (3-4, 0-1) all of 47 seconds to get on the board Sunday when the freshman midfielder Kile crossed in front of the net from five yards out and converted off a pass from junior forward Peanut Johnson.
“It felt great to come out with positive energy working together,” Kile said. “And when you come out as a team with an attitude like that, it’s just so easy to start a game that way.”
Freshman midfielder Maddy Humphrey picked up a hat trick against the Mountaineers.
The Buckeyes fell just one goal short of the school record against Appalachian State (2-6, 0-1), failing to match the 10 they scored against Missouri State in 2012 and against Louisville in 1994.
OSU’s demolition of the Mountaineers came just two days after the team lost a tight battle against Michigan State.
The Buckeyes lost a thriller in overtime Friday afternoon, 4-3, to the No. 16 Spartans to open Big Ten play. Columbus native Abby Barker, a senior forward, scored her team-leading eighth goal of the season 2:50 into the extra session to give the Spartans (5-2, 1-0) the victory.
“She’s a great kid. She can finish,” Wilkinson said about Barker. “She showed that last year in the Big Ten Tournament and she showed that again today.”
Despite being outshot, 20-17, Michigan State got a quick flurry of four shots on goal in the opening minutes of overtime. OSU freshman goalkeeper Liz Tamburro made three saves away from the net in the period, but couldn’t deny Barker as she maneuvered in front of the net for the game-winner.
OSU got out to a promising start early against the Spartans, scoring twice within 20 minutes in the first half. Humphrey connected off a penalty corner eight minutes into the game and senior midfielder Kaitlyn Wagner followed it up with a tip-in goal with 18:01 left in the half.
Michigan State didn’t panic and instead responded with poise before the half ended.
Senior midfielder Becky Stiles connected from five yards out with less than seven minutes to play in the opening stanza to cut the Buckeye lead in half, 2-1.
It appeared OSU would be able to keep its lead at halftime until Michigan State was awarded a final penalty corner attempt with no time remaining. Allie Ahern, a senior forward, scored on the play off a well-placed pass from Barker to tie the game, 2-2, at halftime.
“I don’t know if we got comfortable or if Michigan State just stepped it up,” Wilkinson said. “Obviously when you’re down two goals like Michigan State was, you have nothing to lose. And when a team can get into a rhythm playing like that, that usually fares well for them.”
Ahern connected again for her second goal, this time off a turnover, to start the second half, and the Spartans led for the first time, 3-2.
The Buckeyes didn’t get a shot on goal in the second half until more than halfway through the period, but they made a strong surge late.
With 11:53 to play, Royce took a thunderous shot off a penalty corner and fired just wide, but Humphrey snuck into the picture and tipped the ball into the net to tie the game at three.
OSU had four opportunities to win the game on penalty corners with no time remaining, but it couldn’t find the back of the net.
“We had endless opportunities on goal,” Royce said after the game. “We had multiple (penalty) corners. Under pressure everything changes, so we’ll learn to step up.”
Royce said she was pleased with her teammates’ performance against the up-tempo Spartans, but they have to learn to play at their pace.
“The Big Ten style has a very unique style of (field) hockey,” she said. “So our hardest challenge will be playing our game despite the way they play.”
OSU is set to face Louisville on the road Tuesday at 4 p.m. before Big Ten play continues Sunday against Penn State in Columbus.