Nov. 4, 2003

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 17/20 Ohio State women’s soccer team (12-3-3, 4-3-3) heads to Madison, Wis. seeking to defend its 2002 Big Ten Tournament title this week as the fifth-seeded Buckeyes square off with No. 4 seed Michigan in the opening round Thursday at 4:30 p.m. Ohio State, which qualified for its first NCAA tournament last season with its Big Ten postseason crown, defeated the Wolverines in the 2002 first round. Including that meeting and the clash this season, Ohio State and Michigan have extended to overtime in each of its last two meetings, while niether team has claimed victory by more than one goal spanning the last three matchups.

Ohio State completed the 2003 regular season with a spotless 8-0 mark in non-conference play as the Buckeyes stepped out of Big Ten competition and locked up with in-state rival Bowling Green Friday. Sophomore forward Colleen Hoban erased a late 2-1 Falcon lead with her eighth goal of the season with just 25 seconds remaining in regulation. The two teams played through a scoreless first extra session before Hoban struck again in the 103rd minute as the Buckeyes claimed a 3-2 win and concluded its best regular season in program history at 12-3-3.

Ohio State has celebrated its 10th anniversary season in grand fashion as the Buckeyes have posted their best regular season mark in program history at 12-3-3, a .750 winning percentage. The previous best campaign came in 1996 when the Buckeyes won 14 of 20 regular season matches, which served as a .700 win percentage.

Ohio State fell one spot to No. 17 in this week’s poll following the victory over Bowling Green. The Buckeyes also fell one spot in the NSCAA/addidas poll to No.20. also lists OSU at No. 17.

There was no change for the Buckeyes in either regional poll this week. They remained at No. 3 in both respective polls behind No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 2 Illinois.

Ohio State claimed its first-ever Big Ten tournament crown in 2002 with consecutive overtime penalty kick shootout wins over nationally-ranked Michigan and Purdue in the first and second rounds last season before topping Wisconsin in the championship match 2-1.

The Buckeyes matched the Wolverines and Boilermakers at 1-1 through 110 minutes in each contest before outscoring the NCAA tournament-bound clubs in the extra session shootouts.

The Buckeyes then defeated Wisconsin, the host of the tournament this season, on goals from Lindsay Eckles and Emily Gilbert and held off a late push by the Badgers to claim a 2-1 triumph and OSU’s first trip to the NCAA tournament.

Ohio State not only walked away with the tournament trophy, but also with individual awards for Most Outstanding Offensive Player in Lisa Grubb, Most Outstanding Defensive Player in Jen Miller , while OSU head coach Lori Walker earned Coach of the Tournament honors.

Ohio State enters the Big Ten tournament seeded in the No. 5 spot, falling just one point shy of Michigan in the final standings. The Buckeyes enter as one of three nationally-ranked Big Ten teams. Joining OSU as nationally recognized programs are 2003 Big Ten regular season champions Penn State and runner-up Illinois, while third place Purdue and fourth place Michigan are receiving votes in at least one of the recognized polls.

The Nittany Lions currently hold a No. 5 standing in the rankings with Illinois falling in at No. 12 in both SoccerBuzz and in the NSCAA polls. The Buckeyes round out the ranked field at No. 17 in the SoccerBuzz and Soccertimes polls.

Michigan enters the 2003 tournament after a upending No. 2 ranked Notre Dame 3-2 in South Bend, Ind. to close out the regular season at 7-6-6.

Rounding out the tourament field are sixth-seed Indiana, No. 7 Michigan State and the host Wisconsin at No. 8.

The Wolverines enter Thursday’s opening round match with the Buckeyes following a stunning upset of then-No. 2 ranked Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. by a 3-2 score. The win sets Michigan’s regular season record at 7-6-6, which includes a 4-2-4 mark in Big Ten play.

One of UM’s four draws came in Columbus on Oct. 3, when the Buckeyes and Wolverines played to a 1-1 stalemate. The match is the second straight meeting where Ohio State and Michigan have extended to at least 110 minutes as the meeting in the 2002 conference tournament went to a shootout, where Ohio State advanced by a 5-4 count.

Leading the Wolverine’s this season is senior forward Stephanie Chavez. Chavez, leads Michigan with five goals, three assists and 13 points. Against Notre Dame, Chavez netted the game-winning goal.

The goalkeeper for Michigan is a former Big Ten co-defensive player of the week recipient, freshman Megan Tuura. Tuura has tallied over 1,000 minutes, allowed only seven goals and compiled a GAA of 0.60. Against Notre Dame, Tuura posted a career high eight saves. Tuura has posted a 4-2-5 record with two shuouts.

The Wolverines are led by 10th-year head coach Debbie Rademacher. Rademacher, owns a 125-72-19 record with the Wolverines. Last year Radenmacher led Michigan to a 16-7-1 mark which was capped by reaching the quarterfinal round of the NCAA tournament. Rademacher has guided the Michigan soccer team to six-consecutive NCAA tournament appearances and has coached two teams to Big Ten Championships (1999 and 1997).

On Oct. 3 Ohio State and Michigan battled to a 1-1 draw at at rain soaked Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.

Michigan struck on a Stephanie Chavez goal, which slipped past Ohio State goalkeeper Emily Haynam.

Ohio State would even the game at 1-1 in the second half when Kathy Fulk blasted a shot past UM goalie Suzie Grech.

Ohio State defeated the Wolverines 5-4 on penalty kicks in the second round of the Big Ten tournament. After playing four scoreless periods, the game was sent to decide the victor via shootout. Junior Lisa Grubb scored Ohio State’s game-winning shot in the fifth round and junior Emily Haynam blocked a Laura Tanchon attempt to seal the victory and send the Buckeyes to the semifinal match.

Ohio State is 4-8-1 all-time against the Wolverines. Michigan holds a 3-2-1 advantage in Columbus and a 3-1 record in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines lead the series on neutral turf and in postseason matches two games to one.

Despite tight losses to No. 5 Penn State Oct. 24 and No. 23 Illinois on Oct. 10, the Buckeyes have had success in matches with ranked opponents so far in 2003. The Buckeyes downed then-No. 6 Virginia Sept. 5 by a 1-0 score at home and conquered Purdue for the fifth straight meeting by a 2-1 count in West Lafayette, Ind.

Overall, the Buckeyes boast a 4-3 record in their last seven meetings with ranked teams.

So far this season the Buckeye defense has posted the best goals against average by an Ohio State team in program history. OSU boasts an impressive 0.64 GAA, which bests the previous mark set by the 1998 team that allowed just 0.86 goals per game in 22 contests that season.

The Buckeyes are on pace to shatter the old mark of 19 goals allowed in a season by the 1996 and 1998 teams, as the Buckeyes have allowed just 12 goals in 18 matches.

Overall, the Ohio State defense has allowed just two of 18 opponents to score more than one goal in a match this season.

Ohio State posted its eighth shutout this season in the 4-0 win at Loyola-Chicago Oct. 27. The eight shutouts are just one blanking shy of the program’s all-time mark of nine shutouts set in 1998.

The Buckeyes have enjoyed marked success when stepping outside the Big Ten conference in 2003 as they have posted an unblemised 8-0 mark against non-conference foes.

Included in the eight victories are five shutouts, featuring a 1-0 win over then-No. 6 Virginia in Columbus and a 2-0 victory at perrenial Conference USA power Cincinnati.

Most recently, Ohio State traveled to Loyola-Chicago and blanked the Ramblers by a 4-0 count and edged Bowling Green 3-2, which upped the OSU scoring advantage in non-conference matches to 28-4.

The Ohio State attack has been a balanced affair this season as 17 Buckeyes have posted at least one point in 2003, which includes five individuals – Colleen Hoban (22), Kathy Fulk (12), Heather Miller (11), Emily Gilbert (11), Danielle Dietrich (10) and Liz Mumley (10) – who all have notched double figures in points.

Additionally, two Buckeyes stand on the door step of double figure points as assists leader Paige Harrision completed the regular season with nine points, while freshman Jackie Lafond is just one goal shy of 10 points on the season with eight.

Also worthy of note is the distribution of shots across the Buckeye attack as Miller leads the squad with 36 and is followed closely by Hoban with 35, Dietrich with 34 and Fulk with 32 strikes. Gilbert and Mumley are not far off with 27 and 26 shots, respectively.

This season Ohio State owns an 12-0-1 record when scoring the first goal of a match. The only blemish occurred when Iowa tied the Buckeyes late in the second half Sept. 19 for a 1-1 stalemate. Last season, the Buckeyes boasted a perfect 10-0 mark when scoring first. Over the last two seasons, Ohio State has won 22 of 23 games when scoring first.

The Buckeyes have enjoyed a lead at halftime in nine of the 18 contests this season and have walked away with a win on eight occasions. The Iowa contest once again serves as the only flaw on Ohio State’s 8-0-1 ledger when leading at the half.

Ohio State’s 12-3-3 mark serves as the sixth time in 10 seasons the Buckeyes have recorded double digits in victories, which includes four of the last five seasons and the fifth in head coach Lori Walker’s seven-year tenure at Ohio State.

The previous OSU squads to post at least 10 wins came first in 1996 (14-7) and was followed in 1998 (13-8-1), 1999 (12-6-2), 2001 (10-9-1) and last season with a 10-11-1 mark. Ohio State has narrowly missed 10-win seasons on three occasion, collecting nine wins in each of the 1994, 1996 and 1997 campaigns.

Six separate Buckeyes have netted two goals in a match this season. The latest occured Oct. 31 as sophomore Colleen Hoban accounted for the game-tying and match-winning scores in Ohio State’s 3-2 win at Bowling Green.

Danielle Dietrich led the Buckeyes to a 2-1 win over Purdue with a two-goal effort Sept. 28.

In addition to Dietrich’s, freshman Jackie Lafond set a career-high with two goals in the Youngstown State win.

Junior midfielder Emily Gilbert fueled Ohio State’s 3-1 win over Coastal Carolina with her first two-goal performance of her career, as the Cincinnati native netted a header in both the first and second halves the contest. Gilbert also set a career-best in assists in one game, as she played a hand on three scores in the 4-1 triumph at Wright State.

Fellow junior Liz Mumley also established a career-high when she netted two goals in the Buckeye win over Wright State on August 31.

In the first match of the season, Ohio State junior Lisa Grubb posted two goals in Ohio State’s 4-1 win over Indiana State en route to being named Big Ten offensive player of the week for Sept. 1.

Ohio State continues to stand near the top of many Big Ten statistical categories. The Buckeyes are fourth in the Big Ten in goals allowed (eight) and fourth in goals against average (0.80) in 10 conference games and are currently second in corner kicks with 118 in all games. They also are third in the Big Ten in shots with 272.

Junior Paige Harrison is third in the conference in assists per game with 0.33, while sophomore Danielle Dietrich’s three assists is good enough for third among the Big Ten in conference play only.

On the season, the Buckeyes hold a 37-12 advantage in goals. The 25-goal margin is OSU’s largest this season. Previously, OSU held an 24-goal advantage through 17 games.

Included in Ohio State’s offensive dominance is an 43-15 advantage in assists.

With its 43 assists as a team in 2003, the Buckeyes eclipsed the former Ohio State all-time season high for assist (38) in 1996.

The Buckeyes opened the 2003 season with wins in each of its first five matches, equalling OSU’s longest all-time win streak set by the 1996 and 1998 squads.

Ohio State owns an astounding 118-60 ledger in corner kicks through 18 games this season, highlighted by three matches – Iowa, Youngstown State and Minnesota – where the Buckeyes shutout the Hawkeyes, Penguins and Golden Gophers in the corner kick department. In those three matches, the Buckeyes held a 30-0 advantage.

Ohio State’s goal box has been occupied by a trio of solid keepers in 2003. Juniors Jen Heaney and Emily Haynam and freshman Staci Sinkway all have shared the net in a majority of the matches this season.

Leading the way is Sinkway, who has logged over 710 minutes and has posted a 5-2-1 record, including a pair of shutouts. Sinkway has posted a sparkling GAA of 0.51 with 40 saves. She also leads her teammates with a save percentage of .907.

Haynam has started 12 of the 18 contests played this season and posts a 0.83 GAA with 41 saves and an .854 save percentage, while collecting four wins vs. one loss and two ties in a team-high 762 minutes.

Heaney, who has started two games this season, has claimed three victories and has allowed zero goals and posts a stellar 0.00 GAA. Heaney also has seen action in the Buckeye frontline.

This season the Buckeyes have enjoyed a decided advantage inside the confines of Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. With the latest wins over Wisconsin and Minnesota the Buckeyes remained unbeaten, claiming wins No. 6 and 7 at home against two ties heading into a match with No. 5 Penn State Oct. 24.

The Buckeyes dropped their first home contest to the Nittany Lions 1-0, setting the final home record at program best 7-1-2 for the season.

The Buckeyes have dominated the Jesse Owens Stadium scoreboard, holding a 21-5 advantage in goals, while also dominating the corner kick department by an astounding 107-43 ledger. Included in the corner kick advantage are three contests – Youngstown State, Iowa and Minnesota – where the Buckeyes have held their opponents to zero corner kick opportunities.

The OSU defense has thrived when protecting its goal at JOMS as the unit boasts an 0.50 goals against average in leading Ohio State to a 3-1-2 mark in conference home games.

The Buckeyes have played into overtime on five occasions this season, prevailing over BGSU in two extra sessions and Minnesota in single overtime, while matching Iowa, Michigan and Northwestern to double-overtime draws. The five extra session matches are the most in a single season for Ohio State since the 1994 campaign when the Buckeyes also extended five matches into extra frames.

The 1994 team posted a 1-2-2 mark in those matches. Thus far in 2003, Ohio State is 2-0-3, upping its all-time record in overtime matches to 14-8-12.

Ohio State’s noted academic success reaches deep into head coach Lori Walker’s tenure, as she has mentored 36 student-athletes to Academic All-Big Ten selections, including a program-best 11 honorees in 2002. The program also boasts 62 OSU Scholar-Athlete selections and the collegiate academic award in 2002.