Back in August, I previewed the women’s and men’s OSU soccer teams, as their seasons were getting underway. Both teams have now reached the mid-season mark, and it’s time to take a look at how they’re doing.
Ohio State Women’s Soccer
After last season’s NCAA tournament appearance and with most of the players returning for this season, expectations were sky high this fall for head coach Lori Walker-Hock’s squad. Currently, the Buckeyes are 7-4, and their 2-1 conference record places them in sixth place among the 14 Big Ten teams. With seven league matches remaining, however, the Bucks still have a shot at the B1G championship.
As I mentioned in my preview, OSU has a killer schedule this year. Three of the four losses have come at the hands (feet?) of nationally ranked teams: to #2 North Carolina 0-2, to #6 TCU 1-4, and to #15 BYU 0-3. The lone conference loss was a disappointing one to Minnesota, 2-4. On the plus side, though, the Bucks have knocked off #18 Central Florida 4-2 and #12 Penn State 1-0. Two currently-ranked teams – #9 Rutgers and #18 Michigan – remain to be played, both at home.
Examining the stats thus far in the season, I see a couple of eye-poppers. In their eleven games, the Buckeyes have taken 203 shots, for a stunning 18.5 shots per game. 81 of the shots have been on goal. In contrast, their opponents (as noted above, five of them ranked) have taken only 112 shots (44 on goal) for a 10.2 shots per game average. OSU has had 60 corner kicks to their opponents’ 37. These statistics indicate clearly how much time the Bucks are spending in front of the enemy goal. But they’ve outscored foes only 21-19. Converting opportunities into scores has to be a top priority as the Buckeyes enter the heart of their conference schedule.
The stars on the team have continued to shine. Defender Izzy Rodriguez and forward Kayla Fischer, both first team all-B1G last year, are the senior leaders. Rodriguez steadies the back line, and Fischer has four goals and six assists so far from her striker position. (She’s also taken 42 shots in eleven games.) Forward Emma Sears, a junior from Dublin OH, and Kailyn Dudukovich, a freshman forward from West Chester OH, has each scored five times. Sophomore midfielder Kine Flotre, from Norway, has contributed six assists to go with her one goal. Goalkeeper Bailey Kolinsky has been in the net for all of the season’s minutes so far and has 26 saves and two shutouts.
The Buckeyes return to action at home, in the Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, against the Indiana Hoosiers on Thursday.
Ohio State Men’s Soccer
Last night witnessed one of the annual highlights in Ohio State men’s soccer: the Conner Senn Memorial Match. Named after Buckeye soccer player Conner Senn, the match donates its proceeds to support research into athletes’ sudden cardiac arrest, through the Senn Memorial Fund and the Dorothy M. Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute at OSU’s Wexner Medical Center. Senn collapsed on the soccer pitch on September 26, 2001 and died later that night. The Memorial Match honors Senn’s memory and raises money to help our understanding of cardiac disorder in young athletes.
17th-ranked Bowling Green traveled to Columbus for last night’s match, and, wow, was it an exciting one. Nip and tuck throughout regulation time, Buckeye forward Devyn Etling tied the match 1-1 in the 88th minute, sending the contest into extra time. The 10-minute third period ended without additional scoring, but, in the 106th minute of the second extra-time period, OSU midfielder Xavier Green, with an assist from Channing Chasten, stuck it in the net for the game winner. Ohio State 2, Bowling Green 1!
For the season, as predicted, the men’s soccer team hasn’t fared as well as the women. Only nine of the fourteen universities in the Big Ten field men’s soccer teams, and Ohio State at the moment sits in the number eight slot, with a 0-1 conference record, 4-4-1 overall.
The Buckeyes have defeated Memphis 3-2, #20 Akron 1-0, and Cleveland State 2-0. OSU tied Creighton and lost to UAB 1-2, Xavier 1-2, West Virginia 0-1, and #7 Maryland 1-2.
One notices immediately that the scores are low, even for soccer! I remarked in the preview that Ohio State had trouble last year putting the ball in the net. Scoring difficulties continue as the Buckeyes have had only 29 shots on goal (of 82 total shots) in their eight games. Their 10.3 shots per game pale compared to the women’s 18.5. But their matches have been low-scoring for both teams. The Bucks have scored 12 goals and their opponents eleven, two of OSU’s scores from penalty kicks.
Laurence Wooton, a sophomore midfielder from England, has scored four of those 10 goals. Senior mid Xavier Green, from New Zealand, has contributed three scores. Devyn Etling has scored two goals, and Channing Chasten, Luke Kiley, and Joakim Jahnsen have one goal each.
Coach Brian Maisonneuve’s team has six remaining matches, concluding the schedule on Halloween. There’s still time for the Buckeyes to turn it around and make a mark in the conference, as they face Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan State, Penn State, Michigan, and Rutgers.
After the seasons for the women’s and men’s teams end, I’ll offer a recap of the 2021 season and look ahead to next year.