The Ohio State field hockey team (5-11, 0-5) is set to conclude regular season play against No. 12 Northwestern Friday in Evanston, Ill., in what will be the team’s last chance to claim its first conference win.
Three of the Buckeyes’ five Big Ten opponents were ranked in the top 20 of the National Field Hockey Coaches Association poll when OSU faced them, with earlier matches against then-No.8 Penn State, then-No.18 Iowa and then-No. 19 Michigan.
Coach Anne Wilkinson said her team is ready to compete against another talented team in the Wildcats (14-4, 4-1), who have recorded six shutouts this season.
“After the Indiana game, they are really inspired to go out and compete,” Wilkinson said. “It’s been great that they have been giving 100 percent every time they are out there … the games are close and they are ready to win.”
The Buckeyes fell to the Hoosiers, 5-4, in overtime Oct. 26.
Sophomore forward Peanut Johnson said she is looking forward to having one more match to show just how strong the team is.
“It’s our last chance to make a huge statement and I think we are just really excited to just come out with a big win,” Johnson said. “We just want to come out with a lot of fire, like we did last game, and stay connected as a team and not try to do too much individually.”
Wilkinson said her team needs to be aware of Northwestern’s style of play and how to deal with the different matchups on the field.
“There are a couple players we really need to be able to manage. They have a lot of speed and great stick skills, so I think the first phase of the game will be us managing matchups, trying to get people in the right spots,” Wilkinson said. “It’s really just trying to tactically see what they come up with and see how we make our adjustment from that too.”
Junior midfielder Nina Laudahn said she is confident OSU can secure the win.
“I’m really excited. I hope and I think we will win,” Laudahn said. “Now we are ready to win after the last game in overtime. It was unlucky, but now I think we are ready.”
Johnson agreed, adding that having a week to prepare for Northwestern helped them regain their focus after the tough loss.
“Coming off that last game, I think we just needed some time to come together as a team and we just needed some time to forget about Indiana and get ready for Northwestern,” Johnson said.
The Buckeyes and Wildcats are scheduled to face off at 3 p.m.