COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 23 Ohio State women’s soccer team heads south to open the 2018 season this week at No. 3 Duke and No. 6 North Carolina. The opener against the Blue Devils is set for 7 p.m. Thursday with the contest against the Tar Heels slated for 4 p.m. Sunday.
Fans can follow live stats and streaming video on the schedule page at OhioStateBuckeyes.com or follow on Twitter @OhioStateWSOC.
A LOOK AT 2018
The Buckeyes, led by 22nd-year head coach and 2017 Big Ten Coach of the Year Lori Walker-Hock, welcome back 21 letterwinners and eight starters from the 2017 squad that went 15-5-1, including 9-2-0 in conference play, to earn the first outright Big Ten championship in program history and advance to the eighth NCAA Tournament in the last nine seasons.
The Buckeyes return second team All-Big Ten goalkeeper Devon Kerr, who enters her senior season third on Ohio State’s career goals-against average list at 0.83 and tied for fifth on the career shutout list with 11, along with third-team All-Big Ten selections in senior midfielder Sarah Roberts and freshman defender Izzy Rodriguez. In all, the Buckeyes return 260 combined starts from their eight returning starters.
IN THE RANKINGS
Ohio State checked in at No. 23 in the United Soccer Coaches preseason poll and is receiving votes in the TopDrawerSoccer.com preseason poll. The Buckeyes square off with six teams ranked in the United Soccer Coaches preseason poll including No. 3 Duke, No. 4 Penn State, No. 6 North Carolina, No. 7 Florida, No. 14 Notre Dame and No. 24 Rutgers.
BUCKEYES SECOND IN B1G PRESEASON POLL
Ohio State was selected second in the Big Ten preseason coaches’ poll, the conference office announced Monday. The Buckeyes, who were picked behind only Penn State and ahead of Rutgers, Northwestern and Wisconsin, also had seniors Arden Holden and Sarah Roberts and sophomore Izzy Rodriguez named players to watch.
SOME MORE NOTES
– Ohio State is 37-1-2 when scoring at least two goals in a game since the start of 2014, including 11-0-0 a season ago. The Buckeyes went 5-0-1 when scoring at least twice in 2014 before going a perfect 11-0-0 in 2015 and 10-1-1 in 2016.
– Ohio State went 15-1-0 when scoring first last season after going 10-0-1 when scoring first in 2016.
– Ohio State was 4-1-1 in overtime contests in 2017 and 9-2-7 in overtime matches over the last three seasons.
– Devon Kerr’s nine shutouts last season tied her with Emily Haynam and Amber Barnes for second on the Buckeyes’ single-season shutout list. Kerr also sits tied with Katie Baumgardner for fifth on the Ohio State career clean sheet list with 11.
Duke returns five starters, including four of its top five scorers, from a team that finished 2017 with a 23-2-1 record, going a perfect 10-0 in ACC play for an ACC regular-season championship. The Blue Devils, who fell on PKs after a scoreless draw against UCLA in the College Cup semifinals, welcome back All-ACC picks Kayla McCoy (14g, 7a in ‘17) and Ella Stevens (5g, 11a).
The Buckeyes trail the all-time series with the Blue Devils, 5-1. Ohio State won the last meeting, a 1-0 victory in Chapel Hill in 2014.
SCOUTING NORTH CAROLINA
North Carolina, the alma mater of Ohio State head coach Lori Walker-Hock, posted a 17-3-2 record a season ago, winning ACC Tournament before a 2-1 loss to Princeton in the NCAA Sweet 16. The Tar Heels return preseason All-ACC pick Alessia Russo, who scored nine goals and added two assists a year ago.
The Buckeyes have lost the five previous meetings with the Tar Heels, including a 1-0 defeat in the last matchup in Chapel Hill in 2014.
EIGHT AT HOME AND ADMISSION IS FREE
The Buckeyes will play eight home matches at Bert L. & Iris S. Wolstein Field at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in 2018. Admission is free to all home matches.
THE COACHING STAFF
Ohio State is under the direction of 22nd-year head coach Lori Walker-Hock. The three-time Big Ten Coach of the Year has guided the team to 12 NCAA Tournament berths (2002-03-04-07-09-10-11-12-13-15-16-17), two Big Ten regular season championship (2010, 2017) and three Big Ten Tournament championships (2002, 2004, 2012). Her record at Ohio State is 241-160-41 and her career record, including two seasons at Kansas, is 254-183-42.
Assistant coaches Brian Jankowski and Michael Needham are each in their second season on Walker-Hock’s staff.
JESSE OWENS MEMORIAL STADIUM
Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, the home to the Buckeyes, has provided quite the home-field advantage for the women’s soccer team. Some stats about the facility:
– The home team is 132-52-19 all-time.
– Ohio State is 113-35-17 since 2003 and 67-23-9 since 2009.
Ohio State takes on No. 6 North Carolina at 4 p.m. Sunday in Chapel Hill.