After splitting a pair of road matches to start the season, losing 4-1 to Temple and beating New Hampshire 3-2, the Ohio State field hockey team returns home to host Missouri State.
Coach Anne Wilkinson and the players were pleased with the team’s win, but wanted to focus on areas they could improve.
Freshman midfielder and co-Big Ten Player of the Week Paige Hamilton said they have been focusing more on fitness in practice this week.
“We are focusing on using our speed and strength against our opponents,” Hamilton said. “It was a really big team win and exciting for us, so I think we are going to use our fitness and what we have been working on throughout the week against Missouri State.”
Wilkinson said the team has been working on the its ability to execute during the games.
“We just want to be able to play fast. Start to play a lot faster on both sides of the ball, counter attack, as well as get back on defense,” Wilkinson said. “So a lot of our focus has been to really kick up the tempo.”
Wilkinson said she was impressed with how well the whole team handled the pressure of a shootout. She said the team’s communication has improved and they have been working on the different angles of teamwork.
“Last week, we were just trying to connect them more on the field with the stick and ball and passing, and I think this week, they did a lot more verbal communication,” Wilkinson said.
Junior goalkeeper and co-Big Ten Player of the Week for the Buckeyes, Sarah Lemieux, said it is important for the players to talk and listen to each other to help her as goalkeeper.
“They obviously have to listen because we do a lot of communication through the back. There has to be a lot of support,” Lemieux said. “Being able to call each other on and off the ball is huge.”
Senior midfielder and co-captain Nora Murer said the focus for Friday will come from executing what they have learned in practice and previous games. She explained areas they needed to work on included corner penalty shots and attacking the ball.
“I think for Friday, it’s just really important to begin and pull the team together, work on one string and have everyone on the same page,” Murer said.
The match, which is part of the 2013 Buckeye Classic, is set for 3 p.m. Friday at Buckeye Varsity Field.
The Buckeyes will close out the classic at noon Sunday against Bucknell.