Aug. 23, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Head coach Anne Wilkinson and the No. 15 Ohio State field hockey team opens the program’s 42nd season this weekend, traveling to Durham, N.H., to face UMass at 2 p.m. Saturday before taking on No. 18 UNH at 2 p.m. Sunday at Memorial Field. Wilkinson, who is entering her 17th season at the helm of the Buckeyes, will lead a team comprised of nine starters that advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2011. The Scarlet and Gray welcomes nine newcomers, including eight freshmen this year.
Live stats for both Ohio State away games this weekend will be available on UNHWildcats.com. A link to the live scoring will be on the Buckeye field hockey schedule page on OhioStateBuckeyes.com.
BUCKEYES IN THE RANKINGS
Ohio State is No. 15 in the Penn Monto/NFHCA Division I Preseason Poll released Tuesday by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association. Five Big Ten programs received votes in the 2012 preseason standings with Penn State (9) leading the way followed by Michigan (10), Iowa (12), Ohio State (15) and Northwestern (20). In all, eight of Ohio State’s 2012 opponents made the Top 20 preseason poll with three ranked in the Top 10.
OHIO STATE IN SEASON OPENERS
The Buckeyes are 21-18-2 all-time in season-opening games. Under head coach Anne Wilkinson, Ohio State is 9-7 in season openers. Last season, the Scarlet and Gray fell to Duke, 3-2, in overtime at Buckeye Varsity Field.
Queralt, a forward from Barcelona, Spain, is a two-time NFHCA third team All-American and three-time All-Big ten selection. In 2009, the forward became the first freshman in program history to earn All-America honors after scoring 46 points with a team-best 17 goals with 12 assists. In 2010, Queralt claimed 47 points, breaking the OSU single-season assists record with 27, while tallying 10 goals. A three-time NFHCA National Academic honoree, Queralt is a two-time captain for the Scarlet and Gray and tied Deckard for the team lead in points last year with 24.
Deckard, a forward from Selinsgrove, Pa., posted second team All-Big Ten honors in 2011 after recording 24 points with a team-best 11 goals. Last season, Deckard had a breakout year, ranking in the Top 10 in several offensive categories in the Big Ten, including tied for second in gamewinners (5), third in shots per game (4.80), fourth in shots (96) and tied for sixth in goals (11). A two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, Deckard will look to lead the OSU attack along with fellow classmate Queralt.
Napolitano, a back from Cincinnati, Ohio, notched a career-high nine points on three goals and three assists in 2011. She claimed three defensive saves and was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week Nov. 3. Napolitano, a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, will look to guide the OSU backfield and will be a key component to the squad’s penalty corner unit that averaged 7.14 corners per game in 2011.
SCOUTING THE MINUTEWOMEN
UMass was tabbed second in the Atlantic 10 preseason poll after tying Richmond for the best regular season record in conference play with a 5-1 record in 2011. The squad returns four All-A-10 selections, including senior midfielder Kim Young who led UMass with 13 points on four goals and five assists.
LAST TIME VS. UMASS
The neutral-site meeting vs. UMass will mark the first contest between the two teams since the 1983 season. The Minutewomen hold a 2-0 record vs. the Buckeyes, claiming a 1-0 win during the last meeting in Amherst, Mass.
THE UNH WILDCATS
New Hampshire is under the direction of 22nd-year head coach Robin Balducci, who was named the 2010 America East Coach of the Year in both 2010 and 2011. The Wildcats, who claimed their second-consecutive regular season conference title last year, return six starters from a squad that tied the school record for victories (17). Senior midfielder Emma Erler is the top returning `Cat in assists (10) and points (18)., while Megan Bozek, an NFHCA All-Region second team selection last year, will lead a UNH backfield that also includes All-Rookie honoree Maegan Grew. The Wildcats come into the first week of the season at No. 18 in the 2012 Penn Monto/NFHCA Preseason Poll.
BUCKEYES VS. THE WILDCATS
Ohio State holds a 2-2 all-time record vs. UNH. Last season, the Buckeyes dropped a 3-1 contest at home vs. the Wildcats at Buckeye Varsity Field.
Ohio State will head back on the road, to play American at 3 p.m. Aug. 31 in Washington, D.C., before facing Maryland, the defending national champions, at 1 p.m. Sept. 2 in College Park, Md.