Aug. 23, 2006

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s soccer program will begin its 14th season in 2006 when it hosts two games this weekend at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.

OSU will match up against Kent State at 2:30 p.m. Friday and will wrap up the weekend with a Sunday game vs. Xavier at 6 p.m.

Ohio State was picked by the Big Ten coaches to finish fourth in the conference the league office announced Monday. The Buckeyes, who added 11 freshmen to their roster during the offseason, will be led by six seniors, including OSU career goals leader (31) Lisa Grubb.

Additionally, a junior class comprised of scoring threat Lara Dickenmann returns, as well as 2005 goals (13) and points (29) leader Lisa Collison.

2006 Big Ten Women’s Soccer Preseason Poll
1. Penn State
2. Illinois
3. Purdue
4. Ohio State
5. Michigan State
6. Michigan
7. Minnesota
8. Wisconsin
9. Indiana
10. Northwestern
11. Iowa

Head coach Lori Walker will seek her 100th Buckeye victory this weekend. Walker’s OSU mark stands at 99-74-14 after nine seasons. The Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2001, Walker’s career record is 112-97-15. Before arriving in Columbus, Walker spent two seasons with Kansas.

The matches vs. Kent State and Xavier are a part of a six-match weekend at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The Buckeye men’s squad will host The Bert and Iris Wolstein Soccer Classic Friday and Sunday, welcoming Furman, Hartwick and Penn State.

The Buckeyes played two exhibition matches in preparation for the 2006 season. Ohio State received its first tune up of the year when it played No. 23 Wake Forest to a 5-5 tie Aug. 16 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. OSU followed that performance with a 1-1 draw vs. No. 9 Texas A&M Aug. 18 at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.

In the first match vs. the Demon Deacons, senior tri-captain Lisa Grubb scored two goals upon her return to the Buckeye lineup after missing the entire 2005 season with a knee injury. Also scoring for the Scarlet and Gray were Amanda Ball, Melissa Miller and Carla Arbulu.

Against the Aggies, Miller scored her second goal of the preseason for the tie.

Emily Francis, Lisa Grubb and Melissa Miller were named 2006 team tri-captains by their teammates during the offseason.

“Our three captains carry a vast level of experience,” Lori Walker, who is entering her 10th season as head coach, said. “Each has participated at the highest level in soccer and has seen the highs and lows of our program. They have a very clear and united vision for the 2006 Buckeye team, as well as understand and respect the challenges of competing for championships. They are three of our most consistent and our toughest competitors who have learned to strive for excellence in every aspect of the game while maintaining balance in their lives. They will link the coaching staff with the players and will communicate and guide others along the way. “

A native of Alliance, Ohio, Francis will serve her second-consecutive season as captain, as she was voted captain by her teammates a year ago as a junior. Francis has started 63 of a possible 65 games in her three-year career at Ohio State.

Grubb will enter her sixth year of eligibility for the Buckeyes after suffering season-ending injuries in 2003 and 2005. Currently, the OSU all-time leader in goals with 31, Grubb also was a 2005 co-captain with Francis.

Miller, who redshirted her freshman year and is entering her fifth year at Ohio State, is the only current Buckeye to start every game since 2003 (65). Miller’s 65 consecutive starts is second behind former Buckeye Erica Nollen’s 89. In 2005, Miller was a Great Lakes Region and All-Big Ten honoree.

During the offseason, Lisa Collison and Lara Dickenmann competed with their respective national teams in preparation for international play.

Collison attended residency camp with the Canadian U-20 National Team in preparation for the U-20 Women’s World Championship in St. Petersburg, Russia, Aug. 17-Sept. 3.

Dickenmann continued to play for the Swiss National Team, which is trying to qualify for the 2007 Women’s World Cup.

Buckeye head coach Lori Walker was named to the U.S. Under-20 selection and evaluation committee for the CONCACAF qualifying tournament held Jan. 18-27 in Veracruz and Córdoba, Mexico.

Walker assisted in the selection of 20 team members from a national pool of 30 to represent a United States squad that defeated defending champion Canada, which featured Buckeye Lisa Collison, in the championship match.

With the win, the United States qualified for the U-20 Women’s World Championship in St. Petersburg, Russia, Aug. 17-Sept. 3.

Ohio State’s record at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium is 79-38-9 and it will play 10 matches at JOMS in 2006. the golden flashes

Kent State is coming off a 2005 season in which it posted a 9-8-5 overall record and Mid-American Conference mark of 5-4-2, which tied it for sixth place in the league.

Embarking upon their 2006 campaign, the Golden Flashes return 2005 goals (6) and points (15) leader Catharine Marosszeky, one of nine returning starters.

Head coach for KSU is Rob Marinaro (Clemson, 1992), who is entering his sixth year. During his tenure with the Golden Flashes, Marinaro has compiled a 44-38-15 record, which also stands as his career mark.

Ohio State owns a spotless 4-0 record against Kent State that includes a 2-1 victory last season in Kent, Ohio.

In the win at Kent State Soccer Field in 2005, then-freshman Lisa Collison scored her first collegiate goal to give OSU the 1-0 lead. After KSU tied the match at 1-all, it was former Buckeye Danielle Dietrich who notched the gamewinner in the 70th minute to permanently put the Scarlet and Gray ahead.

Both Ohio State and Kent State will meet Wright State this season. The Buckeyes will face the Raiders at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 11. KSU will match up against Wright State first when both teams meet Sept. 8.

Xavier is under the direction of second-year head coach Alvin Alexander (Midwestern State, 1999). During his first season with the Musketeers in 2005, Alexander’s squad notched a 9-7-2 overall record and a 4-3-2 ledger in the Atlantic 10 (eighth).

The Musketeers return team points leaders Sara Doutt (7g, 3a) and Amber Silvis (6g, 5a) to a squad that will return nine starters.

With the all-time series even at 3-3-1 in 2005, the Buckeyes took the lead in last season’s matchup with a 3-0 win in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Last year, Carla Arbulu and Lisa Collison scored a goal a piece after the Buckeyes took a 1-0 lead on a Xavier own goal.

OSU assistant Greg Miller, who has entered his sixth year with the Buckeye program, played collegiate soccer at Xavier between 1989-1992.

In 2006, the Buckeyes will match up against seven teams that advanced to the 2005 NCAA tournament – Pepperdine, California, Purdue, Wisconsin, Illinois, Penn State and Michigan State – signaling a season of strong competition. Ohio State’s 2006 opposition also is comprised of three teams – Penn State – No. 1, Cal – No. 9 and Purdue – No. 20 – that finished the 2005 campaign in the Top 25 of the final NSCAA/adidas poll, as well as one that received votes (Michigan State).

Furthermore, the Buckeyes’ schedule is complete with squads from eight major conferences in the Atlantic Coast Conference, Atlantic-10, Big 12, Horizon League, Mid-American Conference, Southeastern Conference, Pac-10, and the West Coast Conference.

Most notable is the Scarlet and Gray’s home record at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The Buckeyes own a 79-38-9 record at JOMS, which is good news for a team that will play 10 matches in the six-year-old stadium.

Ohio State kicks off the regular season vs. MAC contender Kent State Aug. 25 at JOMS and will wrap up the weekend homestand two days later (Aug. 27) against Xavier of the A-10. Both games will be a part of a six-match weekend at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, as the Buckeye men’s soccer team will be hosting The Bert and Iris Wolstein Soccer Classic.

OSU then will make an appearance on the West Coast, as it will participate in the Puma Classic in Malibu, Calif., Sept. 1-3. The Buckeyes will face two strong WCC opponents in Pepperdine and San Diego during the weekend, before they travel to Lexington, Ky., to face Kentucky (SEC) Sept. 8.

The Scarlet and Gray return to Columbus Sept. 15-17 to host the Ohio State Tournament, where it will welcome California and Washington, along with co-tournament host Dayton. The Buckeyes will match-up against the two Pac-10 powerhouses Golden Bears and Huskies.

“When scheduling, we try to bring teams to the Jesse that showcase college soccer at its highest level,” Walker said. “By hosting teams that are at the top of their respective conference, we will gain both experience in playing various styles and also gain in our strength of schedule. It also will be a fantastic environment for our fans and our seniors to host such worthy opponents.”

OSU returns to the road to open its Big Ten schedule against Purdue and Indiana. While in the Hoosier state, Ohio State will face the Boilermakers Sept. 22 and the Hoosiers Sept. 24. The Buckeyes follow their road trip with a weekend homestand vs. 2005 Big Ten Tournament Champion Wisconsin and Northwestern, Sept. 29 and Oct. 1, respectively.

OSU plays its fourth and fifth road conference games of the year when it travels to Iowa City, Iowa, to face Iowa and Champaign, Ill., to take on Illinois. The Buckeyes then will take a break from conference and weekend action, hosting Wright State Wed., Oct. 11.

Ohio State’s final road game is vs. 2005 Big Ten Champion Penn State, Oct. 15 and then the Buckeyes will wrap up their regular-season schedule at JOMS vs. Michigan State Oct. 20, Michigan Oct. 22 and Minnesota Oct. 27.

“Big Ten conference play is always a tight race,” Walker said. “Many of the top teams graduated large classes last year. Some will be rebuilding and some traditional powers will be exposed by youth as they search for new identities,” Walker said.

The Big Ten tournament, which will feature eight of 11 league teams, is Nov. 2-5 in State College, Pa.

“We certainly are comfortable with the Big Ten tournament being at Penn State,” Walker said. “If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best. There is no better way to test that philosophy and compete than in their house. We must be able to perform at the highest level. Penn State always host a first class event and we are very excited to have the opportunity to compete there.”

Ohio State will travel to the Puma Classic at Tari Frahm Rokus Field. Hosted by Pepperdine University, the tournament will run Sept. 1 and Sept. 3. On the first day of competition, the Buckeyes will match up against San Diego at 4 p.m. EST. OSU will meet Pepperdine at 5 p.m. EST.