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Nichelle Prince scores in double overtime, leads OSU women’s soccer over Maryland

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Junior forward Nichelle Prince (7) dribbles with the ball during a game against Minnesota on Sept. 17. OSU lost 2-1.

Junior forward Nichelle Prince (7) dribbles with the ball during a game against Minnesota on Sept. 17. OSU lost 2-1.

The Ohio State women’s soccer team (8-3-3, 3-2-2) hosted the Maryland Terrapins (5-9, 0-6) on Sunday afternoon for what was called the “Go Pink” game.

Junior forward Nichelle Prince made it a winning effort, netting a game-winning goal in double overtime to lift OSU to a 2-1 victory.

The Buckeyes came out strong and dominated possession in the first half.

“Sundays are always a hard game, just finding that energy,” OSU coach Lori Walker said. “We had a great crowd, though today, we’re honoring some breast cancer survivors, so I thought that we came out with a good level of energy.”

The rest of the half featured back-and-forth play, but no goals, as the teams headed into halftime scoreless.

“I just challenged our team at halftime to step up and to find that energy that we had in the first half,” Walker said. “I think we really dominated the game but just struggled to find the back of the net.”

The Buckeyes led the Terrapins in shots (5-3), shots on goal (4-0) and corner kicks (3-0) at the half.

The Terrapins ended the scoreless affair in the 60th minute when redshirt sophomore forward Alex Anthony struck from 20 yards out, past OSU redshirt junior goalkeeper Jillian McVicker.

In the 74th minute, senior midfielder/forward Michela Paradiso was taken down in the box, awarding the Buckeyes a penalty kick. Sophomore midfielder Nikki Walts took the kick and converted it to level the match at 1-1.

The goal was Walts’ fifth of the season. She said after the game that she looks to be a spark for the offense, especially when a goal is needed most.

“I just prepare the way I always do and when the going gets tough, I step up and try to be a leader on the team,” Walts said. “I just want to get out there and compete and hopefully get a goal and get our team going.”

The penalty kick lit a fire under the OSU offense, as it had several opportunities to score but  could not find the back of the net. Regulation ended with the teams tied, meaning overtime would be needed to settle the match.

The Buckeyes held a 19-7 advantage in shots during regulation. .

The struggle for either team to find the second goal continued in the first overtime period, and the match headed into double overtime with the score still standing at 1-1.  

“The work to win in overtime happens in the offseason,” Walker said. “And our team is extremely fit, and I remind them of that. I remind them of all the work that they’ve done in the offseason to make sure our legs are stronger than our opponent’s legs.”

Prince was a playmaker throughout Sunday’s match, shooting in the box a number of times, but she couldn’t convert on the many opportunities in regulation or the first overtime.

Prince said that is something any player must be able to cope with and just keep trying to get that point.

“I think that’s a part of a forward’s job,” Prince said. “You’re not going to make all of them, but if you keep going there’s going to be one that goes in.”

And one certainly went in for Prince.

Within the first 30 seconds of the second overtime, Prince shot from 10 yards out near the top of the box off a pass from Paradiso, giving the Buckeyes the 2-1 win.

“Just playing almost 110 minutes is a lot,” Prince said. “So just finally after working hard and getting to the box so many times it’s really a great relief to finally get one in. It was really exciting for us.”

OSU’s momentum continues to build as it has won two consecutive home games as it prepares to hit the road next weekend.

Prince said the team does not get intimidated regardless of the venue or opponent.

“We are the good team and we’re not fearful of any team we face,” Prince said.

The Buckeyes are set to travel to Piscataway, New Jersey, to take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Thursday, before heading to Bloomington, Indiana, for a matchup against the Indiana Hoosiers on Sunday.

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