The 3-6 Ohio State field hockey team is set to make its return to Buckeye Varsity Field Tuesday to take on Louisville in the team’s first home game since Sept. 14.
The Buckeyes lost their first Big Ten game Saturday, when they fell to Michigan State, 3-2.
OSU coach Anne Wilkinson said returning to the Buckeyes’ home field will hopefully relax the team and bring out the support the players need.
“We are excited to get home,” Wilkinson said. “It’s not that, we don’t mind being on the road, but to be in front of our own crowd, we’re hoping some people will come out tomorrow … it’s really important we get some support out here.”
She said her players are doing the basics of the game well — they just need to focus on executing what they know in pressure situations.
“Going back to our fundamentals, I think structurally we are doing a lot of the right things — we just need to focus on our basic skills, doing basic skills under pressure,” Wilkinson said. “We need to be able to handle that because Louisville is going to come with two or three people (to the ball at once), and we have got to be really sharp.”
Senior forward Sophia Pifer said she expects the team to come out hard against the competition and excite the crowd about the game.
“We are hoping to come out with a win,” Pifer said. “We are going to be on our home turf, so we want to come out and play strong and really represent what Ohio State field hockey is.”
Junior midfielder Kaitlyn Wagner said playing at home will bring comfort to the team, and they will be able to focus on their normal routine.
“I am excited to be home again because we’ve been away for so long, and always having to travel kind of ruins the moment,” Wagner said. “I think we always have an advantage playing at home because it is easier for us to get pumped up.”
Wagner said the focus of the Buckeyes’ offense and defense has been different after scouting Louisville and the team has been focusing on game situations to prepare.
“Offensively, we’ve focused on playing in numbers-down situations, which we have been struggling with the past few games,” Wagner said. “Defensively, we’ve been really focusing on strict and disciplined markings.”
Pifer said the team’s ability to work as a strong team will help them succeed in the games to come. She said the teamwork effort is ongoing and they all depend on each other for support throughout the game.
“We are really an excellent unit,” Pifer said. “We work really well on and off the field, and I think that has just continued to get better and better every game.”
Wilkinson said she does not want her players to complicate the game by forcing plays that are not easy. She wants her team to be in control through the whole match.
“We need to make the simple passes, not try to make killer passes all the time,” Wilkinson said. “Keep it simple and play fast.”
Tuesday’s match is scheduled for 3 p.m. The Buckeyes have another home game scheduled against Ohio University Sunday at 1 p.m.