May 23, 2018

Buckeyes Set to Welcome Seven Newcomers for 2018 Campaign


COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s soccer team will welcome seven newcomers to campus in June, head coach Lori Walker-Hock announced Wednesday.

“We had very specific needs for the 2018 class to balance our roster,” Walker-Hock said. “Goalkeeping, midfield depth and added goal-scoring power are what this group of players will bring to campus in June. Each new Buckeye is highly competitive and technically clean. We expect them to adjust quickly to our fast speed of play. We are excited to start working with this class and believe they will be very influential on our long-term Big Ten success.”

Two Ohioans (Blair Cowan and Kayla Fischer) will be joining the reigning Big Ten regular-season champions while one student-athlete will be joining the Buckeyes from Illinois (Brynn Miller), Michigan (Emaly Vatne), New York (Talani Barnett), Virginia (Jordan Silkowitz) and Wisconsin (Lili Berg).

More on the seven joining Ohio State for the 2018 season:

Talani Barnett – Midfielder/Defender – Bay Shore, N.Y.
HBC Impact; Bay Shore High School
Barnett has played nine years of club soccer, including the last six for HBC Impact under the direction of Billy Carroll … a three-time team captain, Barnett helped HBC impact to the Best XI National Championships the last three seasons … four-year starter at Bay Shore High School … three-time all-county, all-conference and all-league … 2017 United Soccer Coaches All-American and All-Long Island pick as a team captain … enjoys listening to music, watching movies and doing word finds … member of Leaders of the Future, where she talks to middle school students to stop bullying and stay away from drugs … daughter of Michael and Dawn Barnett … has six siblings: Brianna, Jaylin, Devin, Kalisa, Michael Jr., and Malina.

Coach Lori Walker-Hock: “Talani is a versatile player who can play anywhere up the spine of our team. She is creative and confident with the ball at her feet. She has excellent passing range and vision that will help stretch our attack. She is a disciplined two-way player who will stifle opponent’s progress with strong tackles and defensive presence. She is a dedicated and loyal teammate who always competes with a quiet confidence.”


Lili Berg – Goalkeeper – New Berlin, Wis.
Elmbrook United; Catholic Memorial High School
Berg has played five years of club soccer, the last season for Troy Dusosky with Elmbrook United … previously was a three-time team captain and two-time state cup finalist for Brookfield Soccer Association … four-year starter at Catholic Memorial High School … 2018 team captain … 2017 first team all-state and all-conference … a three-time Division III state champion … owns the seventh-best girls goals-against average in state history (.024) … enjoys watching movies, listening to music and spending time with her family … belongs to Spanish Honor Society, TOPSoccer, Operation Michael and Service Club and assists ESL students with reading, math and spelling … daughter of Mike and Jodi Berg … has an older brother, Noah.

Coach Lori Walker-Hock: “Lili will add to the depth and competitive fury of our goalkeeping group. She is an excellent shot stopper and is quick off her line. She has gained important experience training overseas in the summers. Lili is a hard worker who will grow quickly in our training environment.”


Blair Cowan – Midfielder – Hilliard, Ohio
Ohio Premier; Darby High School
Cowan has five years of club experience, the last four with Ohio Premier under the direction of Willie Gage and Chris King … helped Ohio Premier to the top 32 in 2014 and 2015 … three-year starter at Darby High School … two-time captain was first team all-league and all-district and second team all-stats three times … three-year member of the Super 12 team … helped Hilliard Darby to a district championships in 2017 … enjoys spending time with friends … daughter of Ed and Noelle Cowan … has an older sister, Corinne.

Coach Lori Walker-Hock: “Blair is a local Buckeye who will add flair and personality to the depth of our midfield group. She has strong passing ability and prefers to play feet in combination. She has become a proven goal-scorer with her club team, Ohio Premier. Blair will adjust to the college game quickly as she is very comfortable playing quickly in tight spaces.”


Kayla Fischer – Forward – Kent, Ohio
Cleveland FC; Theodore Roosevelt High School
Fischer has played club soccer for eight years, the last three for Ross Nicol with Cleveland FC … Top 11 player at Nationals in 2018 for the three-time state champions … helped Cleveland FC to 2017 regional championship and national semifinal … four-year starter and two-time team captain and Theodore Roosevelt … first team all-state in 2017 and second team all-state in 2016 … conference player of the year in 2017 while setting school career goals record with 73 … named to All-America watch list … also played three years of basketball, being named a captain in 2017-18 and first team all-district in 2016-17 … enjoys hanging out with friends, swimming, skiing, camping and hiking … National Honor Society member … a Freshman Mentor and member of Expedition Academy, Riders Taking Action, Hattie Larlham and Suburban Leadership team … daughter of Rob and Jennifer Fischer … has two younger sisters, Kassidy and Mallory.

Coach Lori Walker-Hock: “Kayla joined this class late in the process. She has excellent pace and athletic tools. She is strong in the air, is extremely competitive and has carried her teams recently as a top goal-scorer. Kayla will compete as a 7/11 in wide areas as soon as she steps on campus.”


Brynn Miller – Midfielder – St. Charles, Ill
Eclipse Select FC; St. Charles North High School
Miller has six years of club experience with Eclipse Select FC under the direction of Rory Dames … three-time member of Nike National Camp … enjoys listening to music and watching The Office … member of science and math National Honor Society … daughter of Brigham and Laurie Miller … has a younger brother, Cole.

Coach Lori Walker-Hock: “Brynn is a highly-competitive and well-rounded soccer player. She has a high soccer IQ, excellent passing range and vision, and she is a strong, feisty defender. Brynn will compete for time in the 6/8 positions of midfield.”


Jordan Silkowitz – Goalkeeper – Fairfax, Va.
McLean Youth Soccer; W.T. Woodson High School
Silkowitz has played five years of club soccer, the last three for Nadir Moumen with McLean Youth Soccer … a four-year letterwinner at W.T. Woodson High School … first team all-conference and all-region and second team all-state in 2017 … enjoys watching and playing sports … daughter of Robert Silkowitz and Joni Henderson … has one sibling, Jesse.

Coach Lori Walker-Hock: “Jordan joins our goalkeeping corps with all the pieces to become a dominant Big Ten goalkeeper on a national stage. Her size and wing span will prove strong for handling of crosses and stifling set pieces. She is calm under pressure and comfortable in possession with the ball at her feet, yet her passing range can stretch our attack and be difficult for opponents to manage. Her hands are soft and she is a vocal organizer from the back.”


Emaly Vatne – Midfielder/Forward – Sterling Heights, Mich.
Michigan Hawks; Adlai E. Stevenson High School
Vatne has five years of club experience for Michigan Hawks under the direction of Derek Williford, Dave Hicklin, Adil Salmoni and Doug Landefeld … U.S. U-18 WNT and U-16 GNT member … traveled to Italy in 2016 for first International Women’s Tournament of Gradisca, scoring the first goal in a 6-0 win over Iran … enjoys watching EPL soccer, biking and cooking … daughter of John and Renee Vatne … has a younger brother, Matthew.

Coach Lori Walker-Hock: “Emaly is a truly passionate soccer junky! She loves to play and study the game. She is versatile to compete in any attacking position. Emaly is a natural goal-scorer, who is calm and comfortable with the ball under pressure and prefers to play in combination. She threads a dangerous final pass and has the tactical understanding and pace to break lines on her own.”