The Ohio State’s Women’s soccer team looks to beat Michigan in Ann Arbor for the first time since 2016 when the two rivals face off Thursday at 7 pm at UM Soccer Stadium.
Both teams are coming off of shutout road defeats in their first conference games of the season with Ohio State (5-2-1, 0-1-0 Big Ten) falling 2-0 to Rutgers Sunday and Michigan (5-3-1 , 0-1-0 Big Ten) losing 1-0 to Maryland Friday.
Head Coach Lori Walker-Hock said the Buckeyes aren’t putting extra focus on their matchup with the Wolverines or on the fact that the Buckeyes haven’t beaten Michigan on the road in six years.
Instead, Walker-Hock said she is focused on her team’s execution, especially in the attacking fourth of the field.
“There are three-fourths of our game that is fantastic,” Walker-Hock said. “It’s at the highest level that I’ve ever seen in this program. We got to start playing free and creating more Chaos in the final fourth, and we’ll be just fine.”
Taking advantage of chances will be key for the Buckeyes as Michigan has allowed just 11 goals over its first eight games of the season on 37 shots on goal, which is similar to the 12 goals on 43 shots on target that Ohio State has scored through its first eight games of the year.
Senior forward Emma Sears and junior defender Peyton McNamara have each scored four of Ohio State’s 12 goals this season and will look to get on the scoresheet again in Ann Arbor.
Graduate midfielder Maddy Lowe, who has been part of Ohio State teams that have gone 2-2-1 against Michigan in her career, said she isn’t lacking motivation heading into the game.
“It’s pretty easy getting up for that game,” Lowe said. “It’s going to be a battle, and they’re going to bring our best and we’re going to respect them and bring our best. So, I’m just excited for a really good game and a really good opponent.”
An intriguing Matchup on the field will be Michigan’s offense which is scoring 2.89 goals per game against Ohio State’s defense which is allowing just one goal per game.
Offensively, the Wolverines are led by junior forward Sammi Woods with seven goals and one assist, senior forward Lily Farkas with four goals and five assists, junior midfielder Kacey Lawrence with five goals and two assists, and Graduate midfielder Meredith Haakenson with three goals and five assists.
Senior defender Kitty Jones-Black said the Buckeyes know what to expect from Michigan, and if Ohio State can execute its gameplan, Thursday’s match will be a good one.
“We know they play hard, fast and physical,” Jones-Black said. “I really feel and believe that what we’re working on this week, and our special pieces that we can put together, once we put it together, it’s going to be a good match.”
Both teams will be looking for their first conference win of the season, and the Buckeyes seek to beat their rivals on the road for the first time in 2,161 days. The match will be streamed live on Big Ten Plus.