August 12, 2022

OSU Defenders One of the Top Lines in the B1G


COLUMBUS, Ohio – One of the strengths of Ohio State’s team will be the talented unit of defenders.

The Buckeyes return a pair of starters on the back line in senior Talani Barnett and sophomore Sydney Jones. Graduate Maddy Lowe also brings a veteran presence as will graduate transfer Olivia Sensky. The rest of the group is comprised of potential breakout stars.

Barnett has been a stalwart on the Buckeye back line for four seasons. She has appeared in 69 games which is the most of any player on the team. She has a pair of goals and three assists in her career. Jones started all 20 games last season and was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team. She was also invited to the USA U20 Training Camp this summer.

Lowe has played in 50 games over parts of three seasons but missed last year after a knee injury in the preseason. Sensky played the last four seasons at Ohio and didn’t miss a game over the past three seasons. She earned first team All-MAC honors in 2021 and was part of 24 shutouts and 34 wins over her four years as a Bobcat.

Redshirt-sophomore Nina LeFlore also suffered a season-ending injury during the preseason last year but rehabbed well and looks to be back to form. Junior Caitlin Foley appeared in eight games last fall in her first season as a Buckeye, getting the starting nod in the Big Ten and NCAA Tournament games.

The defensive newcomers will all make in impact this season. Mirann Gacioch was a standout for Western New York Flash Academy and her speed at outside back will make her a threat. Brooke Otto is from nearby Centerburg, Ohio and was one of the top players in the ECNL for Ohio Premier. She defends well in the center of the field and already has a spring under her belt as she joined the program in January of 2022. Sophia Louder is a versatile back from Liberty Township, Ohio. She has the ability to play multiple positions and will give Walker-Hock significant versatility on the back line.

Assistant coach Gavin MacLeod’s thoughts on the defenders

Talani Barnett
Talani is one of the most talented central defenders in the country and returns to lead the team this season. An All-Big Ten defender, Talani is a threat on both sides of the ball. She has the ability to read the game and break-up opposition attacks, as well as the vision and technical attributes to set off the Buckeye offense. After a 2021 campaign where she played all but 4 minutes of the season, Talani is set to play an integral role in her final season as a Buckeye.

Sydney Jones
After an outstanding freshman season that saw her named to the All-Big Ten Freshman team and the U.S. U20 women’s national team, Sydney will look to continue her impressive form in year two. An outside back who poses a great attacking threat paired with an impressive defensive instinct; Sydney showed her versatility with some standout performances as a central defender last season. Now with a year of experience, the Cincinnati, Ohio native looks set to be a big player for the Buckeyes in the upcoming season.

Maddy Lowe
A true all-rounder, Maddy has shone in many different positions in her career as a Buckeye. She looks set to continue as the glue in the Ohio State defensive unit after an impressive season in the spring of 2021. With a tremendous ability to organize those around her, in addition to her quality on the ball, demand for high standards and experience at this level, Maddy will be a great example for our younger players while also pushing herself and her peers to new heights this fall.

Olivia Sensky
A transfer to Ohio State for the fall of 2022, the hometown player will add tremendous depth and experience to the Ohio State defense. After a standout career at Ohio University, the First Team All-MAC and First Team All-Midwest Region selection, will use her final season of eligibility with the Buckeyes as she begins her graduate degree. Olivia has tremendous presence on the field, communicates very well, is always in peak physical condition and has a tenacity in her defending that could see her make an immediate impact this fall.

Nina LeFlore
One of the most beloved members of the Ohio State team, Nina brings a fantastic outlook and energy to everything that she does. With her tremendous pace, strength and competitive spirit, Nina thrives in 1v1 situations and uses her fitness to be a dangerous weapon in moments of transition. Putting an unfortunate injury behind her, Nina is now ready to play the part and positively impact the team in the 2022 season.

Caitlin Foley
The Springfield, Ohio native is a versatile player with the ability to play anywhere along the back line as well as in the midfield. Possessing a tremendously competitive nature and willingness to do whatever is required to win, Caitlin has shown the ability to battle with some of the Big Ten’s best attacking players. After transferring in for the 2021 season, Caitlin has been ready when called upon and will continue to contribute to the Buckeyes’ success both on and off the field.

Mirann Gaccioch
Continuing Ohio State’s history with top players from the Western New York Flash ECNL club, Mirann comes in to the Big Ten ready to compete with and against some of the nation’s best players. With a boundless energy from outside back, Mirann can support the offence while also holding down her position in the defensive line. Her strength and speed will make her a very tough matchup as the new season begins.

Brooke Otto
Another player local to the area, Brooke was a standout during her club career with Ohio Premier in the ECNL. Her elite fitness level and outstanding technical ability are only surpassed by her desire to compete and push herself to be the best that she can be. Comfortable using both feet, Brooke has shown that she has the ability to be dangerous in possession and at set pieces. She is another player with great versatility as she can defend the central areas of the pitch and is also able to shut down players 1v1 in wide areas as well.

Sophia Louder
Coming from just down the road in Liberty Township, Ohio and from the Cincinnati United Premier club, Sophia will add to the strength of the Ohio State defensive core. Sophia relishes the moments when the game is on the line and pressure turned up. With a blend of physicality, fitness and technical acumen, Sophia will be ready to contribute in multiple positions for the Buckeyes as a freshman.