After managing to score one goal in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, it was an offensive explosion that propeled the No. 3-seeded Ohio State women’s soccer team (16-4-2) to the Elite Eight as it knocked off No. 2-seeded Virginia Cavaliers, 3-2.
Playing on the road for the first time in the tournament and despite being out-shot 22-6, the Buckeyes made the most of their opportunities as they jumped out to a 3-0 lead with goals from Tiffany Cameron, Danica Wu and Lauren Steuer. Both Cameron and Wu’s goals came in the first half, and Steuer found the back of the net in the 57th minute.
OSU defender Liz Sullivan said scoring first was key in the victory.
“It was a huge boost of confidence,” Sullivan said. “We knew this was going to be one of the hardest games of the entire season.”
OSU held off the Cavaliers’ offensive onslaught, which included second-half goals from Sinead Farrelly and Gloria Douglas.
Douglas’ goal cut the Buckeyes’ lead to 3-2 with less than eight minutes remaining, and the Cavaliers nearly tied the game when Colleen Flanagan’s shot off of a loose ball missed right. Two minutes later, OSU was headed to the Elite Eight.
“We knew it was going to be a heck of a battle,” OSU coach Lori Walker said. “I was really proud of how we defended, and the clock couldn’t have moved any quicker.”
The win puts the Buckeyes in the Elite Eight for the second time in program history, with their first appearance coming in 2004 when OSU came up short in a match against UCLA.
With the No. 1 seed in OSU’s region having been eliminated last weekend, the Buckeyes will host Georgetown on Friday night at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. A win against the Hoyas would give the Buckeyes their first Final Four appearance in program history.
“It’s just great. It’s what you look to do in the NCAA Tournament, you know, survive and advance and find a way,” Walker said. “And this group did.”