COLUMBUS, Ohio – A new season begins on Friday for the Ohio State field hockey team. Riding a season-high three game winning streak, the Buckeyes (3-3) open Big Ten play today when it closes out a five-game homestand against No. 15 Northwestern (4-2). Less than 48 hours later, the Buckeyes take on another ranked opponent when it travels to No. 6 Louisville (6-0) for a 1 p.m. contest against the Cardinals.
BUCKEYES IN A NUTSHELL
• Following a come-from-behind 2-1 overtime victory against Miami, Ohio State is 3-3 on the season.
• Junior Maddy Humphrey, who had at least one point in all six games thus far, leads the way offensively with 14 points (six goals, two assists). Next in line are a pair of freshmen – Esther Clotet Alsina (three goals, one assist, seven points) and Adelaide Penzone (three goals, two game-winning goals, six points).
• Nine different players have at least one point this season and four of those players are newcomers – Clotet Alsina, Penzone, Irene Fritschy (two assists) and Maartje Bongers (two assists).
• On defense, junior goalie Liz Tamburro owns a 2.81 goals-against average, .630 save percentage and Big Ten-best 29 saves. She’s complemented by a back line that includes Caroline Rath, Whitney Harris and Bongers.
• Ohio State’s defense has allowed by two goals in the last three contests and is limiting opponents to less than 11 shots per game.
The Wildcats have won four out of their last five games and most recently defeated Colgate 8-0 on Sunday behind a 46-shot effort. One of the top offenses in the nation, Northwestern is averaging 3.83 goals/game and 21.8 shots/contest. Isabel Flens (six goals, four assists, 16 points) and Dominque Masters (four goals, two assists, 10 points) lead a group that have seen contributions from 15 different players. Goalie Lindsey von der Luft owns a 1.19 goals-against average and .806 save percentage.
Unbeaten this year at 6-0, Louisville is tied for fourth nationally averaging 4.64 goals per game. On defense, the Cardinals have allowed just three scores over six games, making them the top scoring defense in the country. Minout Mink leads the offense with eight goals and one assist for 17 points while goalie Ayeisha McFerran had a 0.41 goals-against average and .857 save percentage.
BIG TEN OPENERS
The Buckeyes have won three of their last five Big Ten openers, including a 2-1 triumph over Northwestern in Columbus in 2011. Last year, Ohio State traveled to Michigan State to begin conference play and came away with a 2-1 victory.
ALL-TIME VS. NU/LOUISVILLE
Friday will mark the 60th all-time meeting between Ohio State and Northwestern (NU holds a 27-30-2 edge in the series). Last year, the two teams met twice – Oct. 23 in Columbus and Nov. 6 in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament. The last Ohio State win in the series came in the 2013, as the seventh-seeded Buckeyes upset No. 2 need Northwestern in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals.
Ohio State holds a 16-9 all-time advantage over Louisville. The Buckeyes won the first 10 meetings in the series, which began in 1989. Last year’s match-up in Columbus was a 1-0 decision in favor of the Cardinals.
COMING UP CLUTCH
Freshman Adelaide Penzone has a shown a knack for being in the right place at the right time. And, the result last week was two game-winning goals. A Powell, Ohio native and graduate of St. Francis DeSales, Penzone is the third leading scorer among Big Ten freshmen.
THE LAST THREE
During its current three-game winning streak, the Buckeyes:
• Are outshooting opponents by nearly six shots/game (16.3-10.7).
• Have given up just two goals.
• Goalie Liz Tamburro has a .867 save percentage and 0.66 goals-against average.
• Have outshot opponents by a 49-32 margin.
• Have registered over twice as many penalty corners (30) as their opponents (14).
PACKING BUCKEYE VARSITY FIELD
Sunday’s crowd of 691 set a single-game attendance record, topping the previous mark of 533 on Nov. 8 against Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals. Through four games, the Buckeyes are averaging 358 fans/game, which would set a single-season attendance record.
OHIO STATE’S RECORD WHEN…
Scoring first: 2-1
Opponent scores first: 1-3
Leading at halftime: 2-0
Tied at halftime: 1-1
Trailing at halftime: 0-2
Outshooting its opponent: 2-0
Getting outshot by opponent: 1-3
Registering more penalty corners than opponent: 2-0
Registering more penalty corners than opponent: 1-3