COLUMBUS, Ohio–Ohio State welcomed nine new players when the team reported for the start of preseason camp on Monday. The group of newcomers in Columbus consists of players from two states and a pair of foreign countries.
The Buckeye coaches will be ushering in four freshmen up front and three midfielders, hoping to provide some more scoring punch and stability after losing two 35-goal scorers and a 27-goal scorer to graduation over the past three years.
A pair of teammates from the Canadian U-17 National Team, Tiffany Cameron and Lauren Granberg, are already familiar with each other and look to add to the Buckeye attack. Dublin native Kellen Shields and spring quarter enrollee Kayla Eckman round out the list of freshman forwards.
Cameron, from Mississauga, Ontario, is a quick and athletic forward with goal-scoring ability. A runner-up for the 2007 Canadian Soccer Association Junior Player of the Year Award, Tiffany has significant international experience that includes playing in four matches in the U-17 World Cup last fall. Her national team teammate Granberg also has extensive international experience. Despite playing primarily center back in the U-17 World Cup, the Edmonton, Alberta native is a natural forward with great athleticism and a knack for putting the ball in the back of the net.
Eckman, from Freeport, Pa., and Shields, the Dublin Jerome product, are both excellent back-to-goal players with great work ethics. Eckman helped her club team, Beadling, to the ODP regional semifinals twice and state cup championship once and was named the 29th-best senior by the ESPN/Rise soccer rankings. Shields helped Ohio Premier to the 2007 OSYSA state cup finals and to three additional state cup semifinal appearances in addition to being named Ohio Capital Conference Player of the Year in 2008.
A trio of midfielders join one of the most experienced parts of the Buckeye roster. Karin Sendel, Kendyl Reed and Lauren Amyx look to provide speed, quickness and play-making ability to an already strong midfield.
Sendel, from Kiryat Tivon, Israel, was a member of the Israeli U-19 National Team for five years before joining the Israeli Senior National Team this past year. Her vision and ability to make the final pass make her a candidate to make a strong contribution in 2009.
Reed, a two-time Ohio Capital Conference Player of the Year from Worthington Kilbourne, is a versatile hard worker who should strengthen the lineup. The speedy midfielder was named first team All-Ohio in 2008 and helped her club team, Ohio Premier, to the state cup final four in 2008. Amyx, who has the versatility to play multiple positions, has played on six Ohio state cup teams and helped St. Ursula Academy to the 2007 and 2008 Division I state championship. She was also named first team All-GGCL in 2008.
Aly Walker, a defender from Pittsburgh, and Jessie Greenberg, a goalkeeper from Beachwood, round out the 2009 freshmen class for the Buckeyes.
Walker was a captain for her Beadling Soccer Club teams for seven years, during which time she helped lead Beadling to the ODP regional semifinals twice and to the state cup championship twice. The athletic, hard-nosed defender was named first team all-state in Pennsylvania in 2008. Greenberg, a four-year starter and a captain as a senior in 2008 for Beachwood, will be counted on to provide quality depth to the goalkeeper position. Her club team, CSA Impact, won the Northern Ohio Cup championship in 2008.
Cameron and Granberg are not the only pair of Buckeye newcomers with previous playing experience alongside each other. Eckman and Walker were teammates with Beadling, their club team in Pennsylvania, and Reed and Shields have been teammates on the Ohio Premier club team.
This familiarity, along with the talent and experience the Buckeye newcomers possess, should make 2009 a year to remember for the new members of the team and the Buckeyes.