Courtesy of Ohio State athletic department
A slow start might have been disastrous for the Ohio State women’s soccer team.
But senior forward Tiffany Cameron said the team’s early morning wake-up calls helped the Buckeyes recover from losses in each of their first two games.
“We started off the season pretty slow, and then we got punished for that and we had to wake up at 6 a.m. for practice, it was crazy,” Cameron said. “Coach wanted to show us the will to win and what it takes to win and we just snapped out of it.”
OSU has won the last seven of eight games and coach Lori Walker is pleased with the team’s growth and thinks they are improving a little more every day.
“Our goal is to get a little bit better every single day and so I would say we have made a lot of progress,” Walker said. “The challenges we are presented with game to game are different because the opponents present different challenges, and we’ve finally gotten to a place where we are reading problems as they are thrown to us on the field and doing a much better job of solving them.”
Similarly, junior midfielder Danica Wu said she thinks they are doing a great job connecting as a team.
“We are getting better every game and we are connecting much better,” Wu said. “We give it our all and learn from our games and hopefully we keep doing that.”
Cameron said the team’s biggest strength has been its will to win.
“We have came out to every game ready to play and work our hardest,” Cameron said. “We are at a really good place right now.”
Cameron, a Mississauga, Ontario, product, has scored nine of the team’s 14 goals this season.
The hot start puts her at 28 goals and 68 points in her career, which stand seventh and tied for 6th, respectively, in OSU history.
“I set a goal for myself to score at least 20 goals this season,” Cameron said. “I want to break the record and I can’t do that without our team and coming out hard everyday and practice.”
As the Buckeyes prepare for their 8 p.m. game Thursday against Penn State, Cameron said the strategy against the Nittany Lions is to keep the team connected.
“This practice we worked on being on the same page and finding open space because they play with three back,” Cameron said. “We need to have a lot of wide space to expose them.”
Walker said the game will be a back-and-forth battle.
“You need to contain your opponents’ top personalities and certainly Penn State has many and we need to make sure we have our attack as well,” Walker said. “The piece about Penn State is that they are scoring a lot of goals but they are also vulnerable and giving up some goals.”
Cameron, a senior, said she’s especially ready for this year’s contest.
“It’s my senior year, we always come out to battle and they are the best in our conference besides us,” Cameron said. “We always give them a run for their money.”
The Buckeyes’ matchup against the Nittany Lions at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium will be televised live on Big Ten Network.