COLUMBUS, Ohio The 16th season of Ohio State women’s soccer is in the books with the team having advanced to the Big Ten Conference tournament for the 13th time before the season came to an end with a first-round tournament game loss in Iowa City, Iowa.
The Buckeyes, under the direction of 12th-year coach Lori Walker, eighth-year associate head coach Greg Miller and first-year assistant (to the program, but not overall) Glen Tourville, were 8-10-2 this season and 5-5-0 in the Big Ten. The team featured just three seniors co-captain D Amy Graeff, F Lisa Collison and F Caitlin Colfer and two juniors M Ashley Bowyer and GK Lauren “Taz” Robertson with 22 sophomores and freshmen dotting the roster and playing plenty of minutes.
Goals and Assists
Collison scored six goals this year to tie the all-time career mark of 35 set by Lisa Grubb from 2001-06 and she was second on the team in scoring with 16 points. The team’s scoring leader was freshman F Paige Maxwell, who scored eight goals and added two assists for 18 points. Bowyer was third on the team in scoring with 11 points with two goals and a team-best seven assists. Freshman F Taylor Moront was fourth with eight points off four goals.
“Save by Robertson!”
Robertson was terrific at goalkeeper for a third consecutive year. She posted a 7-7-2 record with five shutouts to move into second place all-time at Ohio State with 17. An injured leg caused the competitive Robertson to miss four games late in the season. Her return coincided with a huge, 1-0 win at Penn State in the regular season finale.
Now Starting for the Buckeyes…
Additional injuries and medical issues robbed key starters Cassie Dickerson and Emily Esbrook, and emerging, first-year reserve Caitlyn Martin, of 17, 10 and 10 games, respectively. As a result, and coupled with the youth on this year’s team, Walker and Co. started 16 different lineups in the 20 games with only two players sophomore D Lauren Steuer and Bowyer starting all 20 games.
The youth movement was profound, as six sophomores and freshmen were every-game starters by year’s end. Those six were sophomore midfielders Lauren Beachy (19 starts) and Courtney Jenkins (18) and Alex Burzynski (13), freshmen defenders Liz Sullivan (19) and Colleen Brady (16), and freshman forward Maxwell (16).
The team fought valiantly to overcome a numbing, 0-4-2 start to the season with six consecutive wins that positioned the Buckeyes securely at 6-4-2 overall and 3-0 in the Big Ten. Excellent all-around play, sparked by Collison (five goals and 11 points during the six-game winning streak) and Robertson (four consecutive shutouts and no goals allowed for 445 minutes over six games), carried the team throughout the streak which included a Big Ten-opening road win at Indiana and a first-ever unbeaten conference start after three games. Two losses on the road ended the streak, and after a 3-2 win over Iowa, a game in which Maxwell tied the school record with three goals, the season ended two weeks later with a 2-1 loss to Purdue in the opening round of the Big Ten tournament.
The season doesn’t just end with a season snapshot, though. There were many more notable moments, notes, events and happenings this year, and here are a few of them:
Best Win: In a landslide, the 1-0 win over 21st-ranked Penn State that snapped the Nittany Lions’ 67-game unbeaten streak dating to the 1995 season against Big Ten Conference competition on its home field, Jeffrey Field.
Best Goal I: Ashley Bowyer’s 25-yard free kick bender vs. UW-Milwaukee that tied the game in the 88th-minute at 3-all.
Best Goal II: Taylor Moront’s wicked header in the 82nd minute to tie Louisville, a game the Buckeyes would win in overtime to extend its winning streak.
Best Goal III: Another Ashley Bowyer bender off a 25-yard free kick from in front of the Bowling Green goal that curved around the wall and found the right side of the net.
Don’t Even Bother Bringing the Weak Stuff Streak: Goalkeeper “Taz” Robertson stifled opponents in five consecutive games with 445 minutes of shutout play.
Big Goal: Courtney Jenkins’ marker in the 78th minute to give Ohio State a Big Ten season-opening road win over Indiana.
Really Big Goal: Lisa Collison’s overtime game-winner eight minutes into the first extra session vs. Louisville. The goal not only helped Ohio State defeat an excellent team, but it gave the young Buckeyes a boost of confidence one week before the start of the Big Ten season.
Literature Award: To Ashley Bowyer for her game-winning assist on Lisa Collison’s Louisville winner. The ball was struck with such perfect English that Collison was able to drive it home rather easily, despite being hounded by a defender and staring down a charging goalkeeper.
Really, Really Big/Goodness Gracious Goal: Lisa Collison poking the ball by a diving Alyssa Naeler for the only score against Penn State and thinking to herself: “Did that just go in?” Yup, it did.
Little Devils Award: To the entire team for its Halloween Day win at Penn State that spoiled senior day and snapped Penn State’s 13-year home unbeaten streak against Big Ten competition.
Surprise Goal: Laura Roberts’ game-capper against Wisconsin in the 83rd minute, less than a minute after she entered the game. “I started crying after I scored,” said Roberts, a positive, hard-working sophomore who was seeing her first action in four games.
Fast Goals: Laura Roberts scoring less than a minute after entering the Wisconsin game; Lisa Collison scoring within two minutes of entering the Evansville game; and Paige Maxwell scoring 2:19 into the Northwestern game.
I’m Gonna Get a Goal Goal: Ali Schwach finally decided to shoot rather than pass in a game vs. Wright State and she scored her first goal since the 2006 season.
This Goal’s for You, Mom: Paige Maxwell scored the game-winning goal vs. Northwestern moments after presenting honorary captain, breast cancer survivor, hero and Mom, Melinda, with a pink rose during pregame activities honoring those affected by the disease.
Most Wanted Goal We Didn’t See: One by Courtney Jenkins vs. Northwestern. She came close. Jenkins’ Mother, Debbie, a breast cancer survivor, was also an honorary captain and a recognized hero at the Northwestern game.
Game Winning Goals: Lisa Collison 5 (Evansville, Louisville, Wright State, Wisconsin and Penn State); Paige Maxwell 2 (Northwestern and Iowa); Courtney Jenkins 1 (Indiana).
Lovely Passes: Scoring goals is easy with teammates who make lovely passes. Ashley Bowyer led the team with seven assists and eight other players recorded multiple assists this season: Lauren Beachy (4), Caitlyn Martin (4), Alex Burzynski (3), Genna Brand (2), Caitlin Colfer (2), Lisa Collison (2), Paige Maxwell (2) and Emily Esbrook (2).
Two is Better Than One: Ashley Bowyer (twice, vs. Duke and Wisconsin), Emily Esbrook (vs. Evansville) and Lauren Beachy (vs. Iowa) each produced multiple-assists games.
Boom, Boom, Boom: The Buckeyes unleashed a season-high 23 shots vs. Bowling Green, 19 vs. Evansville and 16 vs. Wisconsin (with a season-high 13 on goal vs. the Badgers).
New World Records: In the world of Ohio State soccer, Lisa Collison tied Lisa Grubb’s record for career goals with 35 and Paige Maxwell tied the school single-game record (set seven times previously by six players) with three goals against Iowa.
Oops: Caitlin Colfer bonked her head under the team bus on the Penn State trip. The resulting injury robbed the senior, who ranks 13th at Ohio State with 11 career assists, from playing in her final two games as a Buckeye.
I Can’t Drive…55: New assistant coach Glenn Tourville, coaching deep in the heart of Texas at West Texas A&M University in August, made it to Columbus in less than two days to join the staff in time to see Ohio State’s exhibition game vs. Kentucky.
Captains Awards: Senior Amy Graeff and junior Ashley Bowyer were chosen by the team to be co-captains and sophomore Cassie Dickerson was selected to be an assistant captain.
Study Buddies: Eleven student-athletes were named to the Big Ten Conference’s Academic All-Big Ten team, the second-highest number of honorees in one year for Ohio State: Lauren Beachy, Ashley Bowyer, Genna Brand, Alex Burzynski, Caitlin Colfer, Cassie Dickerson, Amy Graeff, Courtney Jenkins, Laura Roberts, Ali Schwach and Lauren Steuer.
Freshmen of Influence: Liz Sullivan (20 games and 19 starts), Paige Maxwell (20 and 16, respectively), Colleen Brady (16 and 16, respectively) Danielle Scoliere (20 and 12, respectively), Taylor Moront (19 games), Brooke Taylor (17 games), Kelsi Landry (13 games, seven starts), Caitlyn Martin (10 games, four starts prior to injury), Lauren Cusick (10 games) and Katie Baumgardner (four starts in goal) all gained significant game experience their freshman season of play.
Scarlet Hair Fever: In a show of solidarity, most members of the freshmen class dyed a streak of scarlet into their hair during the preseason. Program assistant Deuce Bownas was thinking team, too, but he went scarlet Mohawk on us.
Big Ten Network Stars: Lauren Beachy, Lauren Cusick, Cassie Dickerson, Paige Maxwell, Lauren Robertson and Lauren Steuer were all part of Big Ten Network features this season.
Last-Time-to-Think-About-This-Game Game: The Big Ten tournament opening round game vs. Purdue because, at least for now, there will be no more Big Ten women’s soccer tournaments.
Awards and Honors (So Far): Ashley Bowyer was named to the Big Ten Conference all-tournament team. Paige Maxwell was named to the Big Ten Conference all-freshman team and to TopDrawerSoccer.com’s national all-freshman second team.
No Cupcakes: 11 of Ohio State’s 20 games this season were against teams that would qualify for the 2008 NCAA tournament field.
Since This is a Season Snapshot: Check out the attached photo album of best images from 2008.