Oct. 2, 2002

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COLUMBUS, Ohio– The Ohio State Women’s soccer team (3-5-1, 1-1-1) continues a rugged Big Ten slate with a trip to the state of Michigan for matches with both Michigan State (7-2-0, 3-1-0) and Michigan (8-1-0, 3-1-0). The Buckeyes face the Spartans, ranked 5th in the Sept. 30 NSCAA Great Lakes regional poll, Friday at 4 p.m. and will do battle with the Wolverines, slotted in the 13th position in the lastest NSCAA national poll and 14th in the last SoccerBuzz rankings, Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. Michigan will mark the 5th ranked opponent OSU has faced in the early going this season.

Ohio State has been an active competitor in Big Ten women’s soccer since 1993 and has amassed an overall conferece record of 29-58-5 (.342). The Buckeyes concluded the Big Ten regular season in 2001 with a five-game unbeaten streak with the only blemish coming in a scoreless tie versus Wisconsin and continued that streak into this season with a 2-1 win at Northwestern and a 0-0 draw with Purdue. However, OSU saw its run come to an end with Sunday’s 3-1 loss at the hands of the Indiana Hoosiers. During the string, OSU also recorded victories at Illinois and at Iowa, over Northwestern and Penn State in the 2001 season. The Nittany Lions, at the time, had been ranked No. 4 in the nation.

With the win at Northwestern on Sept. 22 the Buckeyes have won their last four road contests in conference play. The streak also includes wins at Purdue, Illinois and Indiana by a combined score of 7-2. Prior to the streak, Ohio State had totalled just four road wins in the Big Ten over their first seven seasons of existence. WALKER AT THE HELM
Now in her sixth season as head coach, Lori Walker has amassed a 53-50-6 record (.514) with OSU, including two 12-plus win campaigns. She is 18-28-5 (.402) in Big Ten play and stands 66-73-7 (.476) overall as a collegiate coach following a two-year stint at Kansas.

The Buckeyes opened the 2002 Big Ten home slate with matches versus Purdue and Indiana at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.

On Friday, OSU fought then-No. 19 Purdue for 110 minutes and a scoreless tie. The Buckeyes held off two furious Purdue rallies in the first overtime to keep the score deadlocked at 0-0. Buckeye senior defender and co-captian Jen Miller helped hold the Purdue attack at bay with two spectacular defensive plays in the second half. She cleared a dangerous Purdue threat in the 57th minute and blocked a Boilermaker shot near the OSU net at the 79:15 mark of the match.

OSU concluded the weekend home series with a tough 3-1 loss to the Indiana Hoosiers. Once again, Miller led the way as she scored on a penalty kick in the 85th minute of play.

Michigan State kicked-off its 2002 Big Ten schedule with three straight shutout wins over Iowa, Illinois and at Minnesota, but stumbled on Sunday in a 3-1 loss to Wisconsin in Madison.

Leading the way for the Spartans is junior Tiffany Laskowski and freshman Emma Harris who comprise one of the top forward tandems in the league. Laskowski is currently tied for fifth in the Big Ten ranks with five goals, while Harris joins six others with four goals for 10th place in the conference. Both currently stand tied for eighth in league scoring with 11 points.

Now in his 12th year with the Green and White, MSU head coach Jeff Saxton is the senior member among Big Ten coaches and has compiled a 109-100-17 record.

The series between MSU and OSU is currently knotted-up at 4-4, with the Spartans prevailing in each of the last two contests. MSU also holds a 3-0 edge in matches played in East Lansing. The series has been a tight one recently as just one match in the last six meetings has been decided by more than one goal.

The Wolverines also started the 2002 Big Ten schedule at 3-0 with wins over Illinois, Iowa and at Wisconsin, but faltered Sunday at Minnesota by a 4-0 count. UM totaled 26 shots in the loss to the Golden Gophers but failed to tally a scoring strike for its first loss since suffering a 1-0 setback to Georgia on Sept. 15th.

Michigan, who has climbed as high as 8th in the national polls, is lead by the Big Ten’s leading scorer Abby Crupmton. Crumpton, a senior forward from Rochester, Mich., has registered 22 points on eight goals and six assists. She is complimented by freshman forward Theresa Heaton who has tallied 12 points on four goals and four assists.

The Wolverines lead the all-time series 7-3 over Ohio State and have claimed the last seven meetings.

Senior forward Lindsay Eckles tied the school record for career shot attempts in last Sunday’s 1-0 victory over Pittsburgh. She contributed five shots to an offense that tallied a season-high 22 strikes in the shutout victory.

Eckles, who missed parts of the 2002 season with a knee injury, now stands along with former Buckeye forward Lisa Suttmiller (1994-97) at the top of the OSU career charts in shots. Eckles entered the 2002 season with 188 career shots and now looks to pass Suttmiller this Sunday in the Big Ten opener at Northwestern.

A SHOOTOUT Despite being outshot on the weekend by both Purdue and Indiana, each by a 15-12 figure, Ohio State holds the edge over its opponents in shotattempts on the season by a 123-89 margin.

Ohio State has tallied nearly twice as many shots on goal as their opponents, 66-39. The Buckeyes are averaging 13.7 shots per game compared to their counterparts at 9.9.

OSU has five nationally ranked opponents in the NSCAA and SoccerBuzz preseason polls slated for the 2002 schedule. The match with Michigan on Sunday will mark the fifth contest of the season versus a nationally-ranked opponent. So far OSU is 0-3-1 versus the country’s elite, but has held each contest to within two goals.

The Buckeyes faired well against the nation’s top programs during the 2001 season, collecting a 2-2 record that featured wins at No. 9 Connecticut and over No. 4 Penn State. In addition, OSU pushed top-ranked North Carolina last November as the Tarheels escaped Columbus with a tightly contested 2-0 victory. The Buckeyes ended their season with a 2-0 loss to Penn State in the Big Ten Tourney semi-final.

The Buckeyes epitomized the term “student-athlete” in 2001 as 12 individuals on the team earned OSU Scholar-Athlete status, included were five members who acheived Academic All-Big Ten honors. Stacia Daum, current seniors Shelly Besson, Lindsay Eckles, Kiley Enmark and Jen Miller were recognized by Big Ten officials for there academic efforts.

A handful of career records are in jeopardy of falling in the 2002 season as senior Lindsay Eckles, who is currently tied for most shot attempts in school history, eyes the top spot for career goals as well. Eckles, a Hilliard, Ohio native, needs just four goals to take over the top spot from Lisa Suttmiller (1994-97), who finished her Buckeye career with 30 goals. In addition, Eckles is just eight points shy of overtaking second place on the all-time points list.

Sophomore Lisa Grubb will also be knocking on the door of the top spots in the record books very soon. Following just one season with OSU, Grubb is already ranked as the eighth all-time career scorer and is currently slotted in the seventh position in school history in career goals.

Jen Miller also has a shot to climb up the OSU charts in career assists. She is currently tied for fifth all-time with 10 career marks and needs seven this season to take over as second in assists in Buckeye history.

Ohio State returns home to Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium for a weekend series against Iowa and Illinois. The Iowa match is set for Friday evening at 7:30 p.m., while the Illini invade Columbus on Sunday at 2 p.m.