Oct. 12, 2011
Here’s an article from this week’s “Our Game” magazine on Buckeye Paige Maxwell – read the entire issue at http://www.ourgamemagazine.com/?p=1391
By Kaeley McEvoy
A successful team is usually composed of certain types of players. There are the leaders, who lift up their team with an inspiring header in midfield. There are the hard workers, who hustle all over the pitch to win every tackle. There are the rock solid physical players. There are the passers, the shooters, the finishers. There are players that take it upon themselves to change the game in an instant.
Paige Maxwell (Photo courtesy Ohio State Athletics) However, on rare occasions, one player fuels the fire for her team on each of these levels. For the Ohio State Buckeyes, Paige Maxwell is that player. Since Maxwell first walked into Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium as a freshman, her presence on the field has altered the course of Ohio’s success.
After leading the team in goals and points as a freshman, Maxwell was named team offensive MVP of Ohio State in just her first year. Her success continued to grow during her sophomore season when she notched her second career hat trick, becoming the second player in OSU history to score more than one hat trick. In her junior season, however, Maxwell truly grew into her role as a game changer for OSU.
If one word could describe Maxwell’s 2009 season it would be “game-winner.” From Sept. 19 to Oct. 10, she scored in five consecutive matches, including four game-winners. Michigan, Penn State, Iowa, and Northwestern all tasted the sting of Maxwell’s game-clinching finishing skills last season. She also scored the game-winner in a 1-0 Big Ten championship-clinching game over Michigan State. Aside from winning goals, Maxwell received a plethora of end-of-the-season accolades in her 2009 season, including Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, third team NSCAA All-American, first team All-Great Lakes Region and first team All-Big Ten. Coming off a hugely successful season, Maxwell was ready to be a major contributor her senior season. And we all know what comes with that.
“I would be crazy to say `I feel no pressure.’ But pressure is a good thing,” she said. “It makes the great soccer players stand out and become even better.”
As the U.S. Women’s National Team slogan read over the summer: “Pressure is what makes us.” And this season the pressure has certainly been `making’ Maxwell. Currently ranked second on her team with points recording two goals and five assists, she has been an offensive force for the Buckeyes. Maxwell, however, is not concerned with her own personal stats.
“I don’t feel the need to uphold the title of leading goal scorer,” she said. “That does not make me who I am. If I’m not the leading scorer this year and we are winning games and having fun, I can’t complain.”
And with a conference record of 3-2-1 (8-5-1 overall) OSU has been winning games.
“After such a successful season last year, it was hard to get back into the swing of things.” Maxwell admitted. “However, slowly but surely the team has got its groove back.”
The team’s `groove’ was certainly present two weeks ago when the Buckeyes defeated then league-leading Wisconsin, 1-0. Maxwell believes that her team has the ability to capture a Big Ten title this season.
“My goals for the team this year are to win the Big Ten and to play until we can’t play anymore,” Maxwell said. “We are an older team with experience. We know how practices should run and we know what it takes to be champions. Also, we have a tight bond and that is something I am very blessed to have.”
Outside of soccer, Maxwell also shared how blessed she has been to cherish the presence of her family in her life.
“My favorite memories at Ohio State are probably the memories that my family and I share,” she said. “They are always at my games no matter where in the country we are playing. I will miss my mom screaming O-H-I-O when my senior season comes to an end.”
Hopefully when Maxwell’s senior season comes to an end, the Buckeyes will be holding a Big Ten Championship trophy. More important than being a constant game-changer for the Buckeyes, Maxwell wants to leave a lasting legacy of her career at Ohio State.
“I’d like to be remembered as being a person of strong character on and off the field,” Maxwell said. “I’d like to leave a legacy of a person who walks by faith.”