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Ohio State women’s soccer suffers first loss, recovers with victory over the weekend

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OSU freshman defender Kylie Knight fights for a ball during a game against West Virginia on September 11 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. OSU lost 2-0. Credit: Kylie Bryant / For The Lantern

OSU freshman defender Kylie Knight fights for a ball during a game against West Virginia on Sept. 11 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. OSU lost 2-0. Credit: Kylie Bryant / For The Lantern

The No. 15 Ohio State women’s soccer team hosted No. 8 West Virginia on Friday evening at 7 p.m., falling to the Mountaineers 2-0.

The defeat was the Buckeyes’ first loss of the season.

Throughout the entire first half, the Mountaineers played a tight defense and the Buckeyes couldn’t get anything going.

OSU and WVU seemed to fight through every possession and headed into halftime with no score on the board for either team, but the Mountaineers held a commanding 12-1 lead in shots.

“I think the first thing was that we had very good possession, we were keeping the ball, but our possession was not progressing forward,” OSU coach Lori Walker said. “We needed to be able to gain space with every pass and we just kept knocking the ball around the back, around the back, around the back and that’s not ever engaging a team.”

The Mountaineers put the first point on the board in the 77th minute, with their second goal scored less than two minutes later.

Despite the loss, Walker said after the game that she was glad the team had a chance to learn from a strong opponent like WVU.

“This was a fantastic opportunity for us to play against a team that I think is going to go very far this year. And we learned a lot,” she said. “And so there’s a lot we can gain from this, and as long as we don’t lose the lessons, the loss won’t hurt us that much.”

The Mountaineers led the Buckeyes 23-5 in shots.

The Scarlet and Gray then hosted Bucknell on Sunday afternoon, shutting out the Bison 2-0.

The game marked the first meeting between the two teams.

Sunday was also Parents’ Day, where each player’s parents were honored on the field at the start of the game.

OSU put the first point on the board with a goal by junior defender Bridget Skinner on a header from sophomore midfielder Nikki Walts’ free kick.

The opening score was Skinner’s first career goal.

“I was so happy,” Skinner said. “I actually said on Friday morning that that was my goal for the season, so to have that come in the same weekend was pretty cool.”

The second half got underway with a goal from freshman midfielder Sarah Roberts in the 50th minute, deflected off a Bucknell defender. This was also Roberts’ first career goal.

“It’s surreal,” Roberts said. “I don’t think I really expected it. I haven’t been taking that many shots this year, but Coach had said everybody needs to take at least one shot before halftime, and after halftime, so I had my chance and I took it.”

Roberts also explained the importance of carrying the team’s momentum into Big Ten play.

“I think we need to learn from our mistakes,” she said. “Watch film, break it down. We’re 5-1-1, and that’s huge going into Big Ten play where the teams are going to be harder, they’re going to be stronger, everything elevated to the next level. So, if we can carry our momentum through the Big Ten, I think we’re going to be competing for the championship.”

Walker said she was pleased with the way her team bounced back from Friday night’s loss.

“I think the biggest challenge coming off of a loss against a top team is to have a high level of energy, and certainly playing at noon on a Sunday it’s important to wake up and really find that quick rhythm, and I thought we did that today,” she said.

The Scarlet and Gray now prepare for conference play as they enter 5-1-1 on the season.

“We’re still trying to play faster, all the time, just trying to increase your speed to play,” Walker said. “The faster you can play, the quicker you can pull defenses apart.”

The Buckeyes are set to open up Big Ten play in Columbus on Thursday evening as they take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.

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