The Ohio State women’s soccer team (6-3-2, 1-2-1) is preparing to travel to Champaign, Illinois, to face the Illinois Fighting Illini (8-2-1, 2-1-1) on Friday evening.
Junior forward Nichelle Prince said she is leaving Sunday’s loss to Nebraska behind as the team looks to this week’s matchup.
“We did not play to our best capabilities, so it is really important that we have a really good week at practice going into Illinois because we need that confidence back and need to get back to our basics,” Prince said.
This week presents OSU with its third away game in a row, but Prince doesn’t believe the travel will serve as a challenge to the Buckeyes.
“It’s just really important when we’re away to get the recovery needs that we need; making sure that even though we’re in a hotel that we’re getting the sleep we need, doing pool recoveries and stretching and foam rolling,” Prince said. “It’s not bad being away, we just need to make sure that we’re prepared and focused.”
Last weekend when the Buckeyes were on the road, they had two games with a day of rest in between. The game against Illinois on Friday is the only contest on the road trip for OSU, which pleases OSU coach Lori Walker.
“What I really like about this weekend is it’s a single game, and so our entire focus will go into what we need to do to compete against Illinois,” she said.
The last time the Fighting Illini and Buckeyes met, OSU was defeated 4-1.
Illinois is 6-0 at home this season, something that Prince said motivates her heading into the game.
“I think that’s one of the things that’s really exciting because you get to go to their home and make an upset,” Prince said. “So, being on our game and playing for something, knowing that they have a lot of confidence, but so do we.”
Walker said a key for success against the Fighting Illini is a well-rounded performance from all three lines — the defense, midfield and attackers.
“We’ve had segments of games where each line is pretty special, but I don’t think we’ve had a full game yet where we are playing 90 minutes of quality soccer and not having lapses in our concentration,” Walker said.
The Buckeyes are set to kick off at 7 p.m. at the Illinois Soccer Stadium.