COLUMBUS, Ohio There’s spring football at Ohio State and there’s spring futbol at Ohio State. Both sports’ spring drills are opportunities for coaching staffs to run players through drills and skills, and the drills are an opportunity for the student athletes to shine…or get shiners.

While the football team wraps up tomorrow with its spring game at Ohio Stadium, the women’s soccer team will conclude its spring campaign with an exhibition game Saturday against West Virginia in Morgantown, W. Va. And leading the way will be tough and talented goalkeeper Lauren Robertson, sporting a black eye that would be the envy of anyone who can appreciate a good black eye.

“It’s no big deal and it’s nothing unusual for me,” Robertson, who couldn’t even put a number on the black eyes she has received playing sports, said after practice Friday. “It is just another day at the office.”

That “other day at the office” the other day included Robertson’s right eyebrow meeting the foot of Brooke Taylor during another intense practice session for the Buckeyes. That’s soccer, though. Or should we say, that’s being a soccer goalkeeper.

Moront Walloped, Too
Forward Taylor Moront will be on the trip to West Virginia but she’ll sit the game out. That’s because Moront took a ricocheted ball squarely in the face from about four feet away during practice Tuesday. She was quite dazed from the hit, but she’s doing fine.

The Home of the Brave
There’s no better way to describe the 12-yard area in front of the goalkeepers. To the casual observer, it seems one would have to be mighty brave to choose GK as a position and to be stationed in front of elite athletes trying drive or blast that 27-inch-15-ounce soccer ball around or through you.   

Ohio State’s three goalkeepers Robertson, Katie Baumgardner and Kendall Maxwell are brave. Promise! Anyone watching an Ohio State practice sees this bravery…every day.

Take Friday, for instance. These three young ladies intelligent young ladies; Robertson is majoring in psychology, Baumgardner is thinking of becoming a teacher and Maxwell may choose a marketing career were rotating over and over into a drill called three-tiered shooting. One rotation inside “the home of the brave” includes stopping/facing a shot from 20 yards to one side followed by a 20-yard rocket from straight away and, then as play continues, facing one and sometimes two more shots from point blank range. 

There were lots of balls scoring. Lots were slamming off the posts, cross bar and the back wall of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. And lots were being saved. Intimidating stuff…for those watching. Not for the Ohio State goalkeepers, though. Way to Go GK Bucks!

Get Well Soon, Liz
Liz Sullivan appears to be recovering nicely from knee surgery in early April. She was full of smiles watching practice Friday. She had just finished a soothing treatment administered by Ohio State soccer’s two expert and professional athletic trainers: Kristen Bretz and Katie Kneisel, two of the best in sports.

Good Luck Katie
Katie Kneisel, the student athletic trainer for the soccer team the past year, will conclude her work with the Buckeyes once spring drills are over. But that just means that her career as an athletic trainer is only going to get better. She has accepted a graduate assistantship position with Northern Colorado, located in Greely, Colo., and she’ll be moving out west sometime soon after she graduates in June. All the best to you, Katie.

Calm, Cool Cassie
Assistant captain Cassie Dickerson, who is back on the playing fields in a limited capacity after knee surgery last fall, will try not to be a nervous wreck on the bus ride back home to Columbus after the West Virginia game. What’s got her buzzing? Her super significant friend, Donald Washington, is expected to be drafted sometime during the NFL Draft, which starts Saturday at noon.

“Oh my gosh,” Dickerson said rushing out of practice to get to class. “I’m going be on a bus with no connection to the outside world. I’ll get a million text messages, though.”

Once back in Columbus, Dickerson will join up with Washington and his family at his place. And they can wait together, for the call that will chart the next moves for the talented Washington, a cornerback/safety for the Buckeyes for the past three years.