COLUMBUS, Ohio – Behind a goal by Danielle Scoliere in the 106th minute, the No. 17 Ohio State women’s soccer team topped St. Francis (Pa.), 1-0, in the first round of the NCAA tournament Friday evening at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The Buckeyes improve to 15-4-1 on the season, the second-most wins in program history, while St. Francis finishes the season with a 15-5-2 ledger.
Scoliere finished from inside the six-yard box off a perfect cross from Lauren Granberg, giving the Buckeyes the win on a night when the Big Ten co-champions struggled to find the back of the net despite controlling possession throughout. It was the first career goal for the junior from Dublin, Ohio.
“One of the things we’ve done well this season is manage our frustration,” head coach Lori Walker said. “This team likes to wait until the bitter end. Our mentality is, because of our fitness, if we get it to overtime we can win in overtime. We did the work to put ourselves into position to win. We were pleased we were able to get it done.”
The Buckeyes controlled possession the majority of the first have but the best opportunity didn’t come until the 32nd minute when Cassie Dickerson drilled a shot off a corner that St. Francis goalkeeper Lauren Fearer was able to make a diving save on.
With just under five minutes remaining in the half, Danica Wu was able to get her head on a corner by Lauren Beachy but the ball was saved off the line by a St. Francis defender as the teams went into the break scoreless.
Ohio State held a 9-1 advantage in shots, including 3-1 on goal, and a 9-0 lead in corners in the first half.
The Buckeyes came out strong in the second half, recording eight shots in the first 15 minutes. Among them were a shot by Wu that Fearer ranged to her right and dove to make the save and another shot minutes later when Kristen Niederhaus took a shot from 20 yards out that deflected off the crossbar.
In the 74th minute, Tiffany Cameron had a golden opportunity of her own when she snuck past the Red Flash defense to control a long ball but Fearer came out to make yet another great save.
The Buckeyes held a 26-2 advantage in shots, 8-2 on goal, and recorded 14 corners to just one for St. Francis in regulation.
Cameron then had another great chance half through the first overtime but her shot off a corner from inside the six-yard box drifted wide right.
For the game, Ohio State took 38 shots to just two for St. Francis. The Buckeyes also held a 19-1 advantage in corner kicks. The win was the first for the Buckeyes in an NCAA tournament match since a 1-0 win over Tennessee in the round of 16 in 2004. Goalkeeper Katie Baumgardner recorded her second career, and second consecutive, shutout in the win.
With the win, Ohio State advances to the second round of the tournament for the first time since 2004 and will play the winner of the Virginia Tech/Dayton match at 1 p.m. Sunday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.