It was a tough home opener for the Ohio State women’s soccer team Sunday evening. After allowing three first-half goals, the Buckeyes fell, 3-1, to the No. 4 Virginia Tech Hokies.
“Virginia Tech has an outstanding attack and they put us under a tremendous amount of duress in the first half,” OSU coach Lori Walker said. “Their motion and their shape was extremely strong and we struggled.”
The Buckeyes’ record fell to 1-2-0 as they could not create an offensive rhythm against their third-consecutive ranked opponent.
Junior midfielder Michela Paradiso notched the Buckeyes’ lone goal, and shot on target, of the evening. OSU was outshot 19-8, marking the third time this season that it has trailed in that category.
Scoring opened in the 12th minute when Virginia Tech sophomore forward Bria Dixon curled a left-footed shot from the top of the penalty box behind Buckeye redshirt-freshman goalkeeper Megan Geldernick.
The Hokies stretched their lead to 2-0 in the 31st minute when sophomore midfielder Candace Cephers unleashed a shot 25 yards from the goal that deflected off an OSU defender and careened into the net.
Geldernick made four saves in the first half, but was left flat-footed in the 45th minute when Virginia Tech freshman midfielder Laila Gray caught a pass behind the Buckeye defense and slotted it past Geldernick for the Hokies’ third goal of the night.
Halftime adjustments stopped the bleeding, but the Buckeyes could not generate enough offense to change the game’s outcome.
“I think in the second half, we started to combine a lot better and use our width and our speed to our advantage,” OSU senior midfielder Ellyn Gruber said.
Paradiso made it 3-1 in the 53rd minute after receiving a pass from freshman forward Sammy Edwards and burying it in the far corner of the net.
The goal was the that first Hokie junior goalkeeper Caroline Kelly had allowed this season.
Following the game, the Buckeyes stretched with a noticeable sense of relief. Their difficult opening schedule is set to soften when the team travels to play Toledo on Tuesday.
“We’ve played a very tough schedule at the beginning of the season for a reason,” Walker said. “It’s seasoned us.”
The Toledo Rockets are 2-1-1 following a 1-0 victory against Xavier University on Sunday.
In its next game, OSU needs to focus on connecting passes to develop an offensive flow, Paradiso said.
“Our timing was off a little bit,” Paradiso said. ‘We’re still trying to work out some things as far as our attack.”
The Buckeyes have registered only six shots on goal through their first three games of the season.
Staged to play an unranked opponent for the first time this season, Gruber said OSU wants to control more of the game in Toledo.
“I think that we can use our strengths a little better and we can play our game,” Gruber said. “We can actually get after a team and play the way we want to play.”
The Buckeyes have reached the midway point of their non-conference schedule and are set to kickoff against Toledo at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.