Aug. 26, 2015


COLUMBUS, Ohio – Aided by the return of eight starters, two All-Region choices and 16 letterwinners, the Ohio State field hockey team ushers in the 2015 season this weekend by hosting a pair of non-conference opponents at Buckeye Varsity Field. Ohio State welcomes Saint Louis on Friday at 3 p.m. followed by a noon contest against No. 7 Albany on Sunday. Admission, as always, is free.

Fans can see each game this weekend live on BuckeyeVision (subscription required). There will also be a link to live stats on the calendar tab of and in-game Twitter updates can be found at @OhioState_FH.

Ohio State returns its top three scorers from last season – sophomore Maddy Humphrey and seniors Peanut Johnson and Emma Royce – along with goalkeeper Liz Tamburro, who led the Big Ten in saves. In all, 70 percent of the Buckeyes’ 2014 total goal production returns along with 88 percent of their total assist production. Tamburro had a stellar rookie campaign last fall, starting all 18 games with a .678 save percentage and six double-digit save performances.

Under the guidance of second-year head coach Hayley Rausch, the Billiken’s were 2-17 but lost seven games by two or less goals. Saint Louis will have to replace leading scorer Faith Mackin, who totaled four goals last year. Goalkeeper Tori Westhead, who split time in the cage last year, returns for her senior season. Last weekend, Saint Louis defeated Longwood in an exhibition game, 2-0. Kristin Collins and Carly Kissinger were the Billiken goal scorers.

The reigning America East champions and a 2014 Final Four participant, Albany is ranked seventh in the NFHCA preseason poll. Leading the way for the Great Danes in 2014 National Player of the Year Paula Heuser, as well as All-American goalkeeper Maxi Primus and All-Region selections Anna Bottino, Laura Page and Fiori Van Rijswijk. Heuser had 29 goals and 11 assists for a nation-leading 69 points last year. Albany finished last season 20-2 and lost to eventual national champion Connecticut in the NCAA semifinals.

Senior captains Peanut Johnson and Emma Royce and sophomore Maddy Humphrey have been named to the Big Ten Preseason Players to Watch List, the conference announced last week. Some notes on the Johnson/Royce/Humphrey trio:

  • The trio combined 25 goals and 24 assists in 2014 (74 points), which was 61 percent of Ohio State’s total goal scoring and 63 percent of its total point production.
  • Either Humphrey, Royce or Johnson had at least one point in 16 of 18 games last year.
  • Johnson had been on the Preseason Players to Watch List three times, Royce twice while this is Humphrey’s first nod.
  • As a duo, Humphrey and Johnson combined for 59 points in 2014, tied for the fourth most in the conference.
  • Mainstays in the lineup, Johnson, Humphrey and Royce have combined to start 114 of 128 career games (89 percent).

Four true freshmen on last year’s squad who started every game they played in return this year as experienced sophomores. They are:

  • Maddy Humphrey | M/F | Virginia Beach, Va.
    Big Ten Preseason Player to Watch List … team-high 32 points last year … 12 goals, eight assists … second leading scorer among conference rookies in 2014.
  • Morgan Kile | M | Mountain Top, Pa.
    Sixth on the team with eight points (three goals, two assists) … scored twice, including the game winning goal with 3:44 left in overtime, to help Ohio State defeat No. 3 Virginia (10/5).
  • Caroline Rath | F | Greenville, Del.
    Totaled 964 minutes played, an average of 64.2 per game … took five penalty corners … played in and started all eight Big Ten contests.
  • Liz Tamburro | GK | Phoenixville, Pa.
    Had a .678 save percentage with 116 stops and six double-digit save performances … began the season with 35 saves in her first three games.

Ohio State will once against test itself against some of the nation’s best teams. In 2015, it faces six teams that made the NCAA Tournament and eight squads ranked in the final Penn Mont /NFHCA Division I National Coaches Poll of the 2014 regular season. This season’s home schedule is also packed with quality competition, including NCAA Tournament squads Maryland, Northwestern, Albany and Louisville.

Anne Wilkinson is now in her 20th season on the sidelines in Columbus with a record of 221-156, giving her the most wins of any coach in Ohio State field hockey history. Last year, she joined the exclusive 300-career victory club, becoming just the 14th Division I head coach to reach that milestone. Wilkinson began her career at American, spending nine year as the Washington-DC based school, amassing a 79-65 record and leading the program to its first-ever national ranking in 1994.

Ohio State’s contest against Rutgers on Oct. 9 will be aired live on the Big Ten Network. In addition, fans that have a subscription to BTN Plus will be able to see the Buckeyes’ game at Iowa live on Sunday, Oct. 18. All of Ohio State’s home games (other than the Oct. 9 contest vs. Rutgers) can be seen on BuckeyeVision.