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Ohio State field hockey falls to rival No. 14 Michigan on Senior Day

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A late goal from Ainsley McCallister with 1:33 left on the clock boosted No. 14 Michigan to a 2-1 victory against Ohio State field hockey on senior day at Buckeye Varsity Field.

The redshirt-senior midfielder from Ann Arbor, Mich., struck on a penalty corner for her fifth goal of the season to stun OSU (6-11, 1-7) late in the game Sunday.

“Michigan was able to execute their (penalty) corners,” OSU coach Anne Wilkinson said after the game. “They were able to sniff out where our weakness was and they capitalized on it.”

Despite the loss, OSU’s season is set to continue in the Big Ten Tournament.

The Buckeyes and Wolverines played to a stalemate early in the contest as neither team could muster much offense in the first half with the teams combining for just one shot on goal.

Senior midfielder Kaitlyn Wagner credited the team’s ability to stay in tune with each other on defense as key to stopping Michigan’s attack early.

“We were just constantly communicating,” Wagner said. “Even if you thought someone was gonna back door your teammate, (we) straight up told them where everyone was at.”

In the second half, Michigan (12-6, 6-2) came out with more aggression and effort toward getting the ball to the net.

A little more than five minutes into the second frame, the Wolverines were able to force a penalty corner against the stout OSU defense. McCallister took the penalty corner and set up redshirt-senior back Leslie Smith for an errant shot, but a scramble ensued in front of the net.

McCallister snuck into the scrum and tip the ball into the back of the net to give Michigan the first goal of the game.

OSU struggled to find an attack for most of the game, but with 19 minutes left junior forward Peanut Johnson tallied an equalizer.

After two Buckeyes were denied at the front of the net, Johnson crept in behind and put the ball home to tie the game at one.

The game appeared to be headed to overtime late when neither team was able to find space for its offense to maneuver. But Michigan’s ability to draw penalty corners was the difference in the end as McAllister’s goal sent OSU’s seniors away with a loss in their final home game.

Senior back Carly Mackessy said win or lose, she was happy to give her all against OSU’s biggest rival.

“I had a lot of supporters today and today I really just wanted to go out and play for them,” Mackessy said. “Whether we would have won or lost wouldn’t have advanced us, but it was more about the heart and how we were gonna go out against tradition and beat Michigan.”

The Buckeyes advanced to the Big Ten Tournament as the No. 8 seed because of a head-to-head tiebreaker with Indiana (9-8, 1-7).

Wagner said she was excited to be able to continue her career at OSU for at least one more game and reflected on her time as four-year starter in Columbus.

“It felt great just to say, ‘Hey, I was on that field for four years,’” Wagner said. “The amount of playing time, the amount of minutes, the amount of teams I’ve played, the amount of people I’ve played with, is awesome.”

Wilkinson said it was great to see her seniors able to control themselves in such an emotional game and give everything one last time for their fans.

“I didn’t think they got too caught up in it even though I know inside they were,” Wilkinson said. “I think it was great to see them show up and compete and stay focused.”

The Buckeyes are set to face No. 1 seed Maryland in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday in Ann Arbor, Mich., at 10 a.m.

 

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