Nov. 2, 2012

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The No. 2 seed Ohio State women’s soccer team held on to defeat No. 3 seed Michigan, 2-1, in a Big Ten semifinal Friday afternoon at Armstrong Stadium. With the win, the Buckeyes move to 15-4-1 on the season and will take on No. 5 seed Illinois, who upset top-seeded Penn State, at noon Sunday in Bloomington.

The win is the eighth in a row for the Buckeyes, one shy of the program record set in 2004. The championship game Sunday will mark the first for the Buckeyes since 2007.

“We came out and played with a lot of energy this afternoon,” head coach Lori Walker said. “The team is playing for one another and the result is good combinational play and swarm defending. It’s fun to watch and the team is really enjoying what they’re doing.”

Ohio State took the early 1-0 lead on a penalty kick in the third minute. After Lauren Granberg was taken down in the box by a Michigan defender, Ashley Gruenbaum beat Haley Kopmeyer for her first career goal on the penalty kick to give the Buckeyes the advantage.

The Buckeyes added to their lead in the 12th minute Megan Fuller’s corner headed toward Granberg glanced off the head of a Michigan defender and into the net for an own goal and a 2-0 Ohio State advantage.

Ohio State controlled possession for much of the remainder of the first half but neither side was able to generate another quality chance as the Buckeyes took a 2-0 lead into the break. The Buckeyes held a 7-4 advantage in shots, including 3-0 on goal, over the first 45 minutes. Each team tallied four corner kicks.

The Buckeyes had an opportunity to increase the lead in the 61st minute but a left-footed strike by Tiffany Cameron caromed off the right post and Marisa Wolf was offside on the rebound attempt as the score remained 2-0.

Michigan almost cut into the Buckeye lead in the 68th minute when Nkem Ezurike possessed inside the box, turned and fired a shot but Ohio State goalkeeper Jillian McVicker made a leaping save to keep the Wolverines off the board.

Less than five minutes later, Ezurike controlled a long ball at the top of the box, dribbled past a Buckeye defender and finished from 10 yards to make it a 2-1 Ohio State advantage but the Buckeyes were able to hold on to the lead to advance to the Big Ten Tournament championship game Sunday.

For the game, Ohio State held a 14-12 advantage in shots, including 4-3 on goal. Cameron led the Buckeyes with four shots while McVicker tallied a pair of saves in the win.

Sunday will mark the second time this season the Buckeyes will square off with the Illini after Illinois won, 1-0, Sept. 21 in Champaign.