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Ohio State women’s soccer bound for NCAA tourney

Cody Cousino / Photo editor

When the 64-team field for the 2011 NCAA women’s soccer tournament was announced Monday, the Ohio State women’s soccer team was included, giving the Buckeyes a chance to follow up last season’s run to the national semifinals.

The unseeded Buckeyes (10-8-2, 5-5-1) will take on regional No. 4 seed Tennessee at 2 p.m. Nov. 12 in a first-round matchup hosted by the Volunteers (15-6-0).

OSU’s postseason hopes seemed to be in some doubt after the team suffered a first-round loss to Illinois in the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday.

Coming in as the No. 7 seed, the Buckeyes lost, 4-2, on penalty kicks after regulation and two overtime periods resulted in a tie, 1-1. The second-seeded Fighting Illini eventually went on to win the tournament.

The Buckeyes concluded the regular season 10-8-1, with a 5-5-1 mark within the conference. A couple of program milestones highlighted the season.

The team recorded the 200th victory in program history on Sept. 23 with a 2-1 win against Illinois at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. That mark was eclipsed on the team’s alumni weekend.

“I’m really happy with where the program is and what we’ve been able to do over the years,” coach Lori Walker, who was at the helm of 164 of the 200 wins to that point, said at the time. “It’s nice to recognize this milestone because it includes everyone who has been a part of it.”

The 2011 senior class won its 49th game with a 3-0 triumph against Indiana on Senior Day at Jesse Owens. The victory moved that class into a tie with the 2006 class for the second-most wins for a four-year group in program history.

“From top to bottom I think they’re just some of the nicest people I’ve ever worked with,” Walker said. “Anytime you can have nine seniors go from the beginning to the end together, it’s a testament to their strength.”

Senior forward Caitlyn Martin, who tallied a goal in the victory, spoke about the close-knit relationships within the team.

“We have a great senior group and we’re really close, so it was really special to go out on our last day in the Jesse and get a win and play for each other,” Martin said. “It was a great team effort.”

The low point of the season was a stretch from Sept. 29 to Oct. 23, in which the team lost five of seven games, prompting Walker to say the offense was “in the crapper” following an Oct. 16 loss to Nebraska. It was during this slide that the Buckeyes let their postseason hopes almost slip away.

In the end, the Buckeyes made the national tournament for the third straight season while several OSU players garnered postseason honors.

Senior defender Danielle Scoliere followed up last week’s first-team All-Big Ten honors by being named to the conference’s all-tournament team last Sunday, while sophomore midfielder Danica Wu was named to the second-team All-Big Ten.

Senior defender Liz Sullivan was OSU’s Big Ten sportsmanship honoree and also joined senior goalie Katie Baumgardner on the all-district academic third team, announced Monday.

The winner between OSU and Tennessee will go on to the second round to play the winner between Illinois State and Milwaukee.

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