CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – No. 3 seed Ohio State held on to edge No. 2 seed Virginia, 3-2, in the round of 16 Saturday afternoon at Klockner Stadium. With the win, the Buckeyes improve to 16-4-2 on the season and advance to the NCAA quarterfinals, hosting Georgetown at 5 p.m. Friday.
It will mark the second NCAA quarterfinal appearance in program history and first since 2004. The 16 wins the Buckeyes have recorded this season are the second-most in Ohio State history, trailing only that 2004 team that finished 19-4-3.
“I’m so proud of this team,” head coach Lori Walker said. “They executed the game plan, found gaps in Virginia’s defense and were special in transition. Late in the game when we were under tremendous pressure, they maintained composure and found a way to finish the game.”
Virginia was a very strong opponent so we needed everybody to step up for us. We were fortunate enough to get a couple of early goals and our defense was able to hang on for a huge win for us.
The Buckeyes struck early on an unassisted goal by Tiffany Cameron less than two minutes in. The sophomore midfielder dribbled in from the right wing past a Virginia defender and beat goalkeeper Chantel Jones near post for her sixth goal of the season.
Ohio State added to its lead in the 26th minute when Danica Wu scored her second goal of the season. After a corner kick by Courtney Jenkins, Lauren Steuer controlled the loose ball in the box and flicked it on to Wu who finished from inside the six-yard box to give the Buckeyes a 2-0 lead.
It was almost 3-0 minutes later when the Buckeyes hit Virginia on a counter-attack but the header from Lauren Granberg off a perfect cross from Steuer sailed just high.
For the first half, Virginia held a 5-3 advantage in shots while both teams had a pair of shots on goal. Ohio State held a narrow 3-2 advantage in corner kicks.
Steuer gave the Buckeyes a 3-0 lead in the 57th when she followed home a rebound from 15 yards off a shot by Granberg. It was the senior midfielder’s first goal of the season to go with a team-leading eight assists.
Virginia answered six minutes later when Sinead Farrelly flicked home a header, beating Buckeye goalkeeper Katie Baumgardner far post off a long ball from Amanda Fancher.
With just under 20 remaining, Farrelly almost cut the Ohio State lead to 3-2 when her header it the crossbar off a perfect cross but the rebound sailed high and the Buckeyes escaped.
Gloria Douglas then was able to cut the Ohio State lead to 3-2 in the 81st when a long ball from Fancher found her far post for a header past Baumgardner and the Klockner Stadium crowd was back in it..
Then, with just under two minutes remaining, Colleen Flanagan almost tied the match at three but her shot off a loose ball in the box drifted inches right of the post and the Buckeyes held on for the final two minutes to seal the victory.
“Virginia was a very strong opponent so we needed everybody to step up,” defender Liz Sullivan said. “We were fortunate enough to get a couple of early goals and our defense was able to hang on for a huge win for us.”
For the game, Virginia held a 22-6 advantage in shots including 11-4 on goal. Ohio State held a 4-3 advantage in corner kicks.