With only three games left in the regular season, the Ohio State women’s soccer team is looking to make a push into the Big Ten tournament with a pair of home games this weekend against Iowa and Nebraska.
The Buckeyes are 5-8-3 overall and 2-5-3 in the Big Ten following a double overtime draw against then-No. 24 Michigan. With OSU ending three of its last four games with ties, coach Lori Walker said the team has learned how to overcome mistakes made on the field.
“What we’ve tried to focus in on is, everybody’s going to make a mistake in a soccer game,” Walker said. “It’s how we respond to those mistakes that should gauge who we are.”
Walker said the game-tying goal in the final seconds of regulation in last Sunday’s game against Michigan was a prime example of the heart and character of the team.
She added that along with maintaining their attack and possession, she’d like to see the Buckeyes apply more pressure defensively to limit the opponent’s chances of scoring.
“Clearly there’s still room for us to stop giving up at least one goal a game. That’s got to end at some point,” Walker said.
Junior midfielder Michela Paradiso said the team isn’t allowing recent disappointments to distract it and is focusing instead on the effort given on the field.
“We’ve gotten a lot of goals scored on us late, which is definitely demoralizing,” Paradiso said. “But we keep trying to ramp up the energy and keep being competitive so we don’t let that get the best of us.”
Senior midfielder Ellyn Gruber said the team has learned to rely less on individual play and more on working together as a unit over the recent stretch of games.
“We’re definitely playing better soccer than what we were in the beginning,” Gruber said. “We’re combining more, not just trying to take on one-on-one ourselves.”
With the season winding down and the Big Ten Tournament approaching, Paradiso said the Buckeyes will need to give it their all in the final games to qualify for the postseason.
“We need these last three games to get us into the Big Ten tournament,” she said. “We’ve got to definitely play with a lot of heart and energy out there and leave it all on the field with no regrets.”
OSU is scheduled to face Iowa on Friday at 7 p.m. and then Nebraska on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.