Oct. 9, 2002

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COLUMBUS, Ohio– The Ohio State Women’s soccer team (3-7-1, 1-3-1) returns home to the friendly confines of Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium this weekend for a pair of matches versus the Iowa Hawkeyes (6-4-1, 1-3-1) and the Illinois Fighting Illini (6-6-0, 2-3-0). The “‘eyes” have at it on Friday night as the Buckeyes and the Hawkeyes take the field at 7:30 p.m. OSU will face the Illini Sunday for the weekend finale beginning at 2 p.m.

Ohio State has been an active competitor in Big Ten women’s soccer since 1993 and has amassed an overall conference record of 29-60-5 (.335). 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 a 3-1 loss at the hands of the Indiana Hoosiers on Sept. 29th.

Ohio State women’s soccer head coach Lori Walker signed a new three-year contract on October 4th that will keep her at the helm of the Buckeye program through the 2006 season.

“The three-year contract exemplifies the commitment Ohio State has to the women’s soccer program and the trust that the athletics department has in my goals for the program and the direction we are headed.” Walker said. “That sense of trust validates our pursuit of being a national contender for years to come. The new contract will definitely help us in recruiting.” Ohio State director of athletics Andy Geiger is pleased to extend coach Walker’s tenure at the university.

“We are delighted to have Lori continue her work in building the Ohio State women’s soccer program into a Big Ten and national contender.” Geiger said.

Now in her sixth season as head coach, Walker has amassed a 53-52-6 record (.505) with OSU, including two 12-plus win campaigns. She is 18-30-5 (.394) in Big Ten play and stands 66-75-7 (.470) overall as a collegiate coach following a two-year stint at Kansas.

Ohio State finds itself mired in a three-game losing skid as it dropped a pair of one-goal contests to both Michigan State, a 3-2 setback in a soggy match Friday, and suffered another tough defeat at the hands of a nationally-ranked opponent on Sunday in a hard fought 1-0 decision to No. 13 (NSCAA poll) Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Ohio State lost the MSU match despite out-shooting the Spartans 23-10 and holding a 16-8 edge in the shots on goal department. In all, 11 different Buckeyes recorded shots on goal in the match compared to six from the Spartan squad.

Michigan’s high-powered offense could muster just one goal against OSU on Sunday, but it proved to be all the Wolverines would need as OSU fell to another ranked opponent. Michigan forward Andrea Kayal scored the game-winner following a corner kick from the left side. Michigan defender Amy Sullivant lofted her corner kick to the opposite side of the six-yard box where Kayal headed a shot past OSU senior keeper Jen Heaney for the 1-0 advantage.

Iowa started the 2002 season with three straight wins before falling to Boston College 2-1 and proceeded to drop its first three Big Ten matches to Michigan, Michigan State and Northwestern. The Hawkeyes got back on track this past weekend with a 1-0 win over Minnesota and a 1-1 tie versus Wisconsin.

Leading the way for the Hawkeyes is senior forward Sarah Lynch, who became the school’s all-time leading scorer earlier this season. She tallied four goals and two assists for a total of 10 points this season. Sophomore goalkeeper Britta Vogele will direct the Hawkeye defense. She currently leads the Big Ten in saves per game with an average of 6.8 per contest.

Carla Baker is serving her first year as the women’s head soccer coach after assistant coaching stints at Notre Dame and Cornell.

OSU and Iowa enter Friday’s game in a tie for eighth place in Big Ten play. The Buckeyes hold a 3-2 edge in the current series and have claimed wins in each of the last two meetings. Iowa seeks its first-ever win at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.

Illinois enters play this weekend having split each of its first dozen contests in 2002. The Illini, 2-3 in Big Ten play, have won three of their last four and look to claim their first road victory of the season.

The Illini are lead by the Big Ten’s fourth-leading goal scorer in sophomore forward Tara Hurless. Hurless has amassed 17 points on eight goals and one assist so far this season.

The Illinois defense is led by a tandem of netminders who rank fourth and fifth in the conference in saves per game. Leisha Alcia has started seven contests and holds a 4.44 saves per game average, while Rachel Frank has started three matches and posted 4.67 saves per game.

The Illini are guided by first-year head coach Janet Reyfield, who most recently served the U.S. National Staff team in the same capacity.

The Illini have won three of the five overall meetings between the schools and look to claim their first win in Columbus since Sept. of 1998. The Buckeyes took last year’s meeting in Champagne by a 3-1 count.

Senior forward Lindsay Eckles, a Hilliard, Ohio native, set the school record for career shot attempts in OSU’s 2-1 victory over Northwestern on Sept. 22.

Eckles, who registered three shots during the match, set the mark with her initial shot of the first period. Eckles entered the game tied with former Buckeye great Lisa Sutmiller (1994-97) with 204 career strikes and has now staked claim to the top spot with a career ledger of 213.

Despite being out shot on Sunday in the 1-0 loss to Michigan, Ohio State holds the edge over its opponents in shot attempts on the season by a 157-113 margin, including a season-high 23-10 figure in favor of OSU in the loss at Michigan State.

Ohio State has tallied nearly twice as many shots on goal as their opponents, 88-53. The Buckeyes are averaging 14.3 shots per game compared to their counterparts at 10.3.

OSU has five nationally-ranked opponents in the NSCAA and SoccerBuzz preseason polls slated for the 2002 schedule. The match with Michigan on Sunday marked the fifth contest of the season versus a nationally-ranked opponent. So far OSU is 0-4-1 versus the country’s elite, but has held each contest to within two goals or less.

The Buckeyes performed 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 semifinal.

A handful of career records are in jeopardy of falling in the 2002 season as senior Lindsay 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.

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 takes to the road again next week for matches at Wisconsin and Minnesota. OSU will battle the Badgers on Friday, Oct. 18 at 5:30 p.m. (CDT) in Madison and will face Minnesota on Sunday at 1 p.m. (CDT).