COLUMBUS, Ohio – Head coach Anne Wilkinson and the 14th-ranked Ohio State field hockey team open the program’s 40th season at Ohio at 1 p.m. Tuesday at Pruitt Field in Athens. Wilkinson, who is entering her 15th season at the helm of the Buckeyes, will lead a team comprised of 11 returning letterwinners, including eight starters, and welcomes 10 newcomers to the squad in 2010.
After a 13-7 record and second-place conference finish in 2009, Ohio State will not only look to make a run at a Big Ten championship, but will also look to make an impact on the national stage after its NCAA Tournament bid last season.
Live scoring of the Ohio State/Ohio contest will be available at OhioBobcats.com. A link to the “GameTracker” with live stats will be on the Buckeye field hockey schedule page on OhioStateBuckeyes.com.
BUCKEYES IN THE RANKINGS
Ohio State is No. 14 in the Koobaburra/NFHCA Division I Preseason Poll released Aug. 24 by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association. All seven Big Ten programs received votes in the 2010 preseason poll standings with Michigan State leading the way in seventh place. In all, 10 of Ohio State’s 2010 opponents made the Top 20 preseason poll with five ranked in the Top 10.
ONE WIN SHY FROM 400
With a victory over the Bobcats, the Ohio State field hockey program will reach the 400th win in its 40th-year of being a varsity sport. Under 15th-year head coach Anne Wilkinson, the Buckeyes have compiled more than a third of the program’s wins total with 169 victories. During the 2005 and ’06 seasons, Wilkinson guided the squad to back-to-back appearances in the NCAA tournament, which was a program first. The combined record for those two years was 30-11, including a 15-4 overall record in 2006 for a .789 win percentage. Only the 1971 season, the first varsity year in program history, ranks in front with an 11-2-1 overall record (.821). Last year, Ohio State finished with a 13-7 record, marking the 13th time the team finished over .500 under the direction of Wilkinson.
OHIO STATE IN SEASON OPENERS
The Buckeyes are 20-17-2 all-time in season-opening games. Under head coach Anne Wilkinson, Ohio State is 8-6 in the season’s opener. The Scarlet and Gray have not started the regular-season on the road since defeating Boston College, 4-2, Aug. 26, 2006, in Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Last year, the Bobcats won their fourth Mid-American Conference title in five years and reached the NCAA play-in game, going 12-9 overall on the year. In the first NFHCA Coaches’ Poll of the season, Ohio received votes. Returning for the Green and White include three 2009 All-MAC honorees, including conference Freshman of the Year Andrea Biegalski along with Courtney Sieders and Katherine Ballard. The program has won 54 wins over the past four years, which is the most victories in a four-year stretch since it topped 60 wins from 1981-84.
BUCKEYES AGAINST OHIO
Ohio State is 21-8-3 all-time against the Bobcats, winning six of the last seven meetings. In Athens, the Buckeyes have won three consecutive games by a combined 10-3 score. Under head coach Anne Wilkinson, Ohio State is 8-2 vs. the Bobcats.
LAST TIME VS. THE BOBCATS
In 2009, the Buckeyes defeated Ohio, 3-0, Sept. 11 in Columbus. Ohio State was led by Jena Cacciatore who posted two goals. Cacciatore scored Ohio State’s opening goal on a corner, while 2009 Freshman of the Year Berta Queralt scored the Buckeyes’ second goal. In the game, the Scarlet and Gray held an 18-5 advantage in shots over the Bobcats.
Ohio State held one preseason tune-up this summer. The squad posted a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over Indiana Aug. 21 in an exhibition game at Buckeye Varsity Field. The Buckeyes were led by All-American Berta Queralt, who had two assists and one goal for a team-best four points. Down 3-2, junior Maria Briones tied the game after scoring on a penalty corner in the 59th minute with assists from Queralt and senior Aisling McKeon. Senior Jena Cacciatore gave the Buckeyes the victory in the 68th minute after a pass from junior co-captain Aisling Coyle. In the scrimmage, five Buckeyes had multi-point performances including Queralt, Coyle, Briones, Cacciatore and McKeon.
WELCOME TO BUCKEYE VARSITY FIELD
Ohio State returns to Columbus this weekend for the grand opening of the new 500-seat Buckeye Varsity Field with two non-conference games. The Buckeyes open the home schedule against eighth-ranked Syracuse at 1 p.m. Friday. A ceremony will be held prior to the game at 2:45 p.m. and Ohio State field Hockey alumni are encouraged to attend.
Following the matchup vs. the Orange, the Buckeyes will be back in action at 2 p.m. Sunday vs. Kent State. On Saturday, there will also be a neutral site game between Syracuse and Kent State at 2 p.m. at Buckeye Varsity Field.
The Buckeyes will look to carry over their success at home from last year after posting an impressive 9-1 record in 2009. Live scoring for all three games will be available at OhioStateBuckeyes.com.
Click here for the 2010 field hockey season outlook