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Ohio State women’s soccer team prepares for NCAA tournament meeting with Butler

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OSU sophomore midfielder Nikki Walts (4) makes a corner kick during a game against Purdue on Oct. 9 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Credit: Anbo Yao | Lantern Photographer

OSU sophomore midfielder Nikki Walts (4) makes a corner kick during a game against Purdue on Oct. 9 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Credit: Anbo Yao | Lantern Photographer

The Ohio State women’s soccer team is set to host the Butler Bulldogs on Saturday evening in the first round of the NCAA tournament after receiving an at-large bid on Monday.

OSU enters the tournament with an 11-6-3 overall record, which included a 5-4-2 mark in the Big Ten conference. This is the Buckeyes’ 10th all-time appearance in the NCAA tournament and sixth in the last seven seasons.

OSU coach Lori Walker is in her 19th season at the helm of the women’s soccer program, and the Buckeyes are 9-8-2 all-time in NCAA play under Walker.

Butler enters Saturday’s match as the Big East champions after defeating Providence last Sunday, ending its regular season 16-6-1. This will be the Bulldogs’ first-ever appearance in the NCAA tournament.

The Buckeyes and Bulldogs have met twice in history, with OSU winning both of the matches.

OSU’s offense is led by a strong pack, including senior defender/midfielder/forward Michela Paradiso, junior forward Nichelle Prince, junior forward Lindsay Agnew and sophomore midfielder Nikki Walts.

Prince and Paradiso share the team high of six goals scored and Agnew leads the team with seven assists.

For the Bulldogs, freshman forward Halle Stelbasky leads the team with nine goals. Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Madison Card has posted 0.92 goals-against average with nine clean sheets in 21 starts.

Five Big Ten teams have qualified for NCAA play, including Penn State, Northwestern, Minnesota and Rutgers. Two more opponents of the 2015 Buckeyes have entered the tournament as well in West Virginia and Florida. The ACC put the most teams of any conference in the tournament with 10.

The match between OSU and Butler is set for a 6 p.m. kickoff at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.

The winner of Saturday’s match is then slated to play the winner of the Cincinnati vs. No. 4-seeded Virginia Tech game.

 

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