Fresh off its first win of the year, the Ohio State field hockey team is set for two matchups on two different campuses in Ohio this weekend.
OSU is looking to build off its first win of the season — a 3-2 victory against Miami (Ohio) on Sept. 5 — when it hits the road Friday to take on Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, and again at home when it takes on Ball State on Sunday.
The Buckeyes haven’t taken the field since their win against the Redhawks. OSU coach Anne Wilkinson said the team has gotten some good rest and is ready to strike against the Ohio Bobcats on the road.
“We’ve had a lot of pressure on our defense (the) past couple of games,” Wilkinson said. “So I’m really looking forward to generating an attack.”
Wilkinson said she likes the way her team has improved after suffering two losses to kick off the season.
“What I love about this team is their energy,” Wilkinson said. “They just come out every day excited to play, and they want to get better.”
Freshman midfielder Maddy Humphrey leads the Buckeyes with six points in the first three games of the season. She was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Tuesday after a two-goal, one-assist performance against Miami.
“She’s unreal. I’m so happy to be playing with her,” junior forward Peanut Johnson said. “She just has that instinct to put it in the goal.”
The Bobcats figure to key on Humphrey, which could make it more difficult for her to find a shot.
“She’s gonna have to make some adjustments,” Wilkinson said about the Virginia Beach, Va., native. “She’ll have to get creative in her scoring opportunities, but she’s quick to learn and she wants to learn.”
The Bobcats enter Friday’s contest 0-3 after a shutout loss to California on Saturday, 3-0. Freshman Maria Russell leads Ohio in scoring with two goals on four shots.
Despite the record, Wilkinson said anything can happen when OSU and Ohio get together.
“They’re (the Bobcats) very strong. It’s a very physical team,” Wilkinson said. “And anytime there’s an Ohio University-Ohio State matchup, it can go either way.”
Ball State brings a 3-1 record to Columbus on Sunday as it looks to rebound after a 5-0 loss to No. 5 Syracuse.
The Cardinals are a balanced group with eight players recording at least two points. Junior midfielder Bethany Han leads the team with five points on two goals and one assist.
For OSU, it’s all about the fundamentals this weekend in its pursuit of a winning record.
“With every game, you need to focus on your basics,” Annabel Sams, a freshman forward, said. “As long as each player works on knowing how to trap the ball, you can push the ball and everything will fall into place.”
The Buckeyes are set to face the Bobcats at 7 p.m. on Friday, and the Cardinals at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
After the weekend, OSU is scheduled to have five days off before facing Michigan State on Sept. 19 and Appalachian State on Sept. 21 in Columbus.