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Ohio State field hockey prepares for final regular-season game against Michigan

OSU sophomore midfield/back Carolina Vergroessen (28) tries to defend the ball from California freshman forward Janaye Sakkas (20) during a field hockey game on Oct. 25, 2015, at Buckeye Varsity Field. OSU won 6-3.

OSU sophomore midfield/back Carolina Vergroessen (28) tries to defend the ball from California freshman forward Janaye Sakkas (20) during a field hockey game on Oct. 25, 2015, at Buckeye Varsity Field. OSU won 6-3. Credit: Robert Scarpinito /Copy Chief

The women of the Ohio State field hockey team are set to compete in their final regular-season game this weekend before the Big Ten tournament begins.

It’s no surprise that the pressure will be on as OSU (9-8, 4-3) goes head to head against its rival, No. 11 Michigan (14-3, 6-1), on Saturday.

The Big Ten tournament consists of eight out of nine conference teams competing over the course of three days. OSU is currently tied for fourth place with Indiana.

A victory against the Wolverines would keep OSU secure with a winning season overall, and sophomore forward/midfielder Maddy Humphrey said she sees the game as a last chance to bring 100 percent of the team’s hard work to the field.

“Goals for Michigan are to be at full strength for the first game in a long time,” Humphrey said. “We’ve had at least one starter out (due to injury) for the last eight games, so I’m excited for all of the us to be back on the field playing together and playing hard against them.”

OSU’s last victory against Michigan was in 2011 when the Buckeyes came out on top 2-1. This year, the Wolverines are led by Shannon Scavelli with nine goals, three assists and 21 points followed by Lauren Thomas with eight goals, four assists and 20 points. The team is coming off a 5-0 shutout win against Michigan State.

With the competition and rivalry fresh in her mind, senior forward Peanut Johnson said she plans to put it all on the line Saturday to ensure one last victory in her final collegiate regular-season contest.

“For me personally, I will do whatever it takes to get the team win,” Johnson said. “Being my last regular-season game ever, I want to leave it all out there.”

OSU enters the game with three of the top quality players in the Big Ten in Johnson, Humphrey and sophomore goalie Liz Tamburro. Looking past individual successes, however, Johnson said she believes every single player on the team is a vital component in the grand scheme of things.

“Oftentimes a goal is scored as the result of our incredible defense making a save, getting possession and clearing it out of our circle, distributing it up to our (midfielders), who fight for position and feed it to the forwards,” Johnson said. “It’s also the girls that may not get to play often, but practice with us every day and push us and support us through thick and thin. We win and lose as a team, and I think that is the most important thing.”

Humphrey, who stands at fourth place in Big Ten standings in total points (29), agreed, adding that the team’s support has improved her personal season.

“(Looking forward) I want to continue to stay healthy, work with my team hard in practice and encourage each other to play at our best abilities for every game and practice in the near future. Our team is very united this year and it has shaped me into a better player.”

OSU and Michigan are set to finish out the regular season at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Johnson selected for NFHCA Senior All-Star Game

Johnson, OSU’s top scorer, is one of 38 seniors from Division 1 teams nationwide to be selected to compete in Victory Sports Tours/National Field Hockey Coaches Association Division I Senior Game. With 72 career games and 93 total points under her belt, Johnson’s biggest game was on senior day last Sunday against California when she racked up a career-high seven points through a hat trick and an assist.

Johnson said that playing in the game with fellow seniors from around the country is the perfect way to wrap up her field hockey career.

“I am so thrilled and honored to be selected to play this year,” Johnson said. “Having this opportunity to play one last time with these incredible athletes is truly an honor.”

OSU vs. Michigan: Five-year history

11/2/14: Michigan 2, Ohio State 1 (Columbus, Ohio)
10/20/13: Michigan 2, Ohio State 1 (OT) (Columbus, Ohio)
11/1/12: Michigan 1, Ohio State 0 (Iowa City, Iowa)
10/14/12: Michigan 3, Ohio State 1 (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
9/23/11: Ohio State 2, Michigan 1 (Columbus, Ohio)

After the Wolverines

After Saturday’s tilt against Michigan, OSU will have a few days off before the Big Ten tournament begins on Thursday in Bloomington, Indiana. The Buckeyes’ opponent has yet to be determined.

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