The Ohio State field hockey team finished its 2015 season with a 9-10 record after a shutout loss to Northwestern in the quarterfinal round of the Big Ten tournament on Thursday morning.
With two goals in each half, the fourth-seeded and 17th-ranked Wildcats were able to earn a 4-0 victory over fifth-seeded OSU in the first round of the tournament in Bloomington, Indiana.
Following the victory, Northwestern (13-7) will advance to Friday’s semifinal, where it is set to take on top-seeded Maryland.
The Buckeye defense kept hold of its opponent until the 19th minute, when junior Dominique Masters knocked home her 16th goal of the season in a deflection past OSU sophomore goalie Liz Tamburro. Masters was second in the Big Ten in goals during the regular season.
The Wildcat offense kept pushing forward despite OSU’s defensive efforts when freshman Eva van Agt followed up in the 34th minute with a tip-in off a deflection for a penalty corner.
OSU’s comeback efforts in the second half were unsuccessful, as the Wildcats’ Lauren Bernardi and Isabel Flens each scored, bringing the final game score to 4-0.
Despite being outshot 19-4, the OSU defense put up a strong fight with Tamburro making 10 saves — her fourth game in her sophomore season with double-digit saves her 10th with eight or more stops. The sophomore is now tops in the Big Ten with an average of 7.1 saves per game.
Senior co-captains Peanut Johnson and Emma Royce closed the door on their collegiate field hockey careers with impressive stats to look back on.
Johnson, the team’s leading scorer, played 74 games total and scored 29 points in her time donning the scarlet and gray. Royce came in third on the team for total points in 2015 with 13 and started 72 of 73 career games. Each had two shots in Thursday’s contest.
On the Friday before the quarterfinal match, when asked what advice she had for the younger athletes on the team, Johnson said it’s important to not lose sight of the big picture.
“Enjoy every second of your time as a student-athlete,” Johnson said. “When you’re in the middle of a grueling preseason, or struggling to wake up for 6 a.m. lift and conditioning, it’s easy to lose sight of what an absolute privilege it is to be a Buckeye and how quickly the time passes. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.”
When asked about her favorite senior moment of the season, OSU coach Anne Wilkinson said seeing the team work together as a cohesive unit was a great feeling.
“It’s been so nice to see them gel over the last four years, and I really think they’ve been enjoying their time together,” Wilkinson said. “It’s just exciting for me to see not only what the captains have been able to generate within the team, but also see that they’re really enjoying it.”
With nine of the 11 starters in Thursday’s game being underclassmen, the young team will look to continue to grow moving forward into the 2016 season.