May 1, 2013

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State women’s soccer head coach Lori Walker announced Wednesday that Megan Fuller and Rachel Middleman have been named captains of the 2013 team and Ellyn Gruber will serve as assistant captain.

“I think that the leadership for next year’s team is going to be really critical with having 12 freshmen, and one or two transfers,” Walker said. “It’s going to be a real challenge in the locker room to keep that balance in the direction that the program is going and what the heartbeat of that particular team is. I feel that with the experience that Megan Fuller has, playing almost every minute in every game from start to finish in her career, with the experience that Rachel Middleman has from being a starter to then not being a starter and how well and how professionally she’s handled that, we’ll be in a good situation with our leadership. Ellyn Gruber just understands standards and understands exactly the vision that we as coaches are constantly preaching. I think we have a really good balance there.”

Fuller, a 2012 NSCAA third team Scholar All-American, started all 22 matches last season and finished third on the team with six assists. The Bondurant, Iowa, native played every minute of every match as a center back and ranks 11th on the Ohio State career assist list with 13. Fuller tallied the helper on three game-winners in 2012, including Gruber’s game-winning tally against Nebraska in the Big Ten Tournament.

Middleman played in 17 matches last season, starting 15, and recorded a 0.69 goals-against average which ranked third in the Big Ten. A native of Mars, Pa., Middleman tallied 28 saves and was the Buckeyes’ Big Ten sportsmanship award honoree. She tallied a season-high four saves in consecutive matches against No. 13 Missouri and Duquesne and was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week Sept. 10.

Gruber, a Cincinnati, Ohio, native, played in all 22 matches last year and made 17 starts. She tallied her first-career goal, a game-winner in the Buckeyes’ 1-0 Big Ten Tournament win over Nebraska, and added a pair of assists.

“Add in the fact that we have five very strong seniors and that’s something we constantly reiterate, that leadership still has to come from all the seniors, it’s not just the captains’ responsibility,” Walker added. “I feel that Sammy Lewis, with all the adversity she’s experienced with her injuries and her comebacks and Kristen Niederhaus with her skills, her ability and her sense of the game, they will do an excellent job helping lead this team. Then add in Danica Wu, just being free to play and do what Danica does best which is connecting us and helping to defend some of the opponents’ top players, it’s a really good mix.”

The Buckeyes finished 2012 with a 16-4-2 overall record, claiming their third Big Ten Tournament title, while advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in the past six seasons.