The Ohio State women’s soccer team reached the midway point of their season Sunday afternoon in relatively uneventful fashion, drawing a scoreless tie with the Wisconsin Badgers.
OSU coach Lori Walker said she was disappointed the team could not pick up a win, but she was encouraged by its overall effort.
“I think we have got to take responsibility for the execution of our finishing, and it’s not sharp enough yet,” Walker said. “We created some great chances, but great chances don’t earn you points. I’m appreciative of our effort and the work we put into 110 minutes of soccer, but we are disappointed that we couldn’t walk away with three points.”
A crowd of 1,174 was on hand to watch the No. 20 Buckeyes (5-2-2, 0-1-1) face the Badgers (3-4-3, 0-1-1) in the team’s second conference match.
In the first half of play, the Buckeyes outshot the Badgers 7-5, and 3-1 in shots on goal. Wisconsin sophomore goalkeeper Caitlyn Clem stood strong with three saves to keep the half scoreless.
The second half started quiet until OSU redshirt junior goalkeeper Jillian McVicker slid in the box to corral a loose ball. She took a hit from a Badgers player and was replaced by freshman goalkeeper Devon Kerr in the 63rd minute of play.
Kerr, who had made three appearances prior to Sunday’s game, said she was excited for her chance to get in a game in a key spot.
“Obviously (I was) nervous, especially being a freshman. I felt a little bit shaky coming into it, but I took it with great excitement,” Kerr said. “Our team was in a really good spot. I wanted to do whatever I could do to make a difference in the result of the game.”
Eight minutes later, she made her presence felt with a lunging save against Badgers freshman midfielder Victoria Pickett, the first of four saves on the day for the Ontario product.
“I came out with a couple of big stops, but my team did an amazing job defending,” Kerr said. “I think as a team today we did very well, and I think that I did help a lot with it.”
The game almost came to a close in regulation as sophomore forward Sammy Edwards had two close shots in the final two minutes of the second half. Clem stood tall, and the game went to overtime.
The extra period saw plenty of action as the Buckeyes and Badgers combined for six shots, three for each team. Both teams also had a goal disallowed during the extra action.
Following Sunday’s game, the Buckeyes are halfway through their season. Walker said she is happy with the way the team is adjusting at this point in the season but still sees room for improvement.
“I think we are adapting and adjusting much faster than we were in the beginning of the season,” she said. “Clearly we have got to take care of business in that final third and inside the box a little bit better, but I’m pleased with the adjustments they’re making on the fly.”
The back half of the Buckeyes’ schedule is road heavy, with the next three games being away from Columbus. Walker, however, said she sees that as a positive.
“In some ways being on the road is easier because you can control almost everything that’s going on,” Walker said. “I think we traditionally do pretty well on the road and we just take them one game at a time.”
The Buckeyes are next set to take the field on Friday in Iowa City, Iowa, as they face the University of Iowa Hawkeyes.