Wednesday evening marks senior day and the conclusion of the regular season as the Ohio State women’s soccer team (9-5-3, 4-4-2) sets up to host the Michigan State Spartans (8-5-4, 4-4-2).
The Spartans are tied with the Buckeyes for seventh place in the conference, so a win on Wednesday for OSU will earn it a spot in the Big Ten tournament.
“I think that the vibe of our team right now is that we’ve continued to get better every game,” OSU coach Lori Walker said. “So teams that continue to get better at this point in the season I think have the opportunity to continue to play, and that’s just been our mentality the whole season.”
Following a defeat this past weekend against one of the nation’s top teams, the Penn State Nittany Lions, the Buckeyes are excited for a chance at a big win at home.
“We’ve got a lot of players that have played in championship games in our program,” Walker said. “That’s one of the things we look for when we’re recruiting, players that have been there and players that understand what that feels like. It’s something we can tap into.”
Junior forward Nichelle Prince said she trusts in her team’s persistence that has been built upon throughout the season.
“I think we are really resilient,” Prince said. “We know that it’s not going to be perfect, our season is not going to be perfect but we have to get up and play hard the next game.”
For senior forward/midfielder Michela Paradiso, Wednesday’s game will mark her last time playing at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Paradiso said the emotional aspect has been overrun by the magnitude of the game.
“It’s way more emotional than I ever thought it would be,” Paradiso said. “But I think because it’s such a big game it kind of is allowing me to not think so much about it being my last home game and more as an exciting thing to get the win to move on the Big Ten tournament, so I think that helps.”
Paradiso will be honored on Wednesday alongside two fellow seniors: forward Katelyn Kraft and defender Marisa Wolf.
Prince said she hopes the seniors’ seasons can end on a high note.
“Because I’m a junior, I’m pretty close to them,” Prince said. “They’re all great leaders on this team and have a big influence on this team. I just want to make sure that they get the best end of the season possible and they get what they deserve.”
Anticipation has been building around this game, and Walker and her players alike said they are excited and prepared.
The Buckeyes and Spartans are set to kick off at 7:30 p.m. at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on Wednesday.