After preparing all week for Iowa, the Ohio State women’s soccer team ran into an unexpected opponent Friday night: the weather.
The Buckeyes were able to overcome the Hawkeyes’ quick-strike offense and the pouring rain, coming away with a 3-2 victory. The victory did not come without occasional struggles, due in large part to the unfavorable weather.
“Our type of soccer is not good on a day like today,” coach Lori Walker said.
Perhaps the obvious difficulty brought on by the weather was the Buckeyes’ struggles on the defensive end. OSU came into the game only conceding six total goals over the course of its first 11 games before giving up two to Iowa.
The wet conditions caused problems for everyone on the field, but Walker said the rain was hardest on goalkeeper Lauren Robertson.
“It was so sloppy out there,” Walker said. “It makes it a difficult day for the goalkeeper.”
The first goal of the game came in the 19th minute off the foot of Iowa’s Alyssa Cosnek, giving the Hawkeyes a 1-0 lead.
It was the Buckeyes, however, who got the next two scores, both coming from midfielder Ashley Bowyer. The goals marked the first and second of the year for the OSU senior and co-captain.
“It felt good,” Bowyer said. “I’ve had some opportunities this year, so it was good to get one in.”
The OSU lead was short-lived, as the Buckeyes turned the ball over deep on their defensive end, resulting in an easy, game-tying goal just before halftime.
It was in the second half that the usually stout OSU defense returned to form, holding the Hawkeyes scoreless the rest of the game.
“We realized we had to make a change,” Robertson said.
It continued to be a night of firsts on the offensive end for OSU when junior Lauren Steuer got her first career goal in the 53rd minute. The goal gave OSU the lead for good as they earned their ninth win of the season, improving their record to 9-2-1 overall, 2-1 in the conference.
The team had little time to celebrate because they played Sunday at home against Northwestern.
The defense did not carry over its lackluster performance from Friday night’s first half. They held the Wildcats scoreless through the first 45 minutes.
“I think we had put Friday behind us,” Robertson said. “We decided to have a different level of intensity.”
The offense, however, coming off the three-goal game, was surprisingly stagnant. The Buckeyes played the majority of the half in their offensive zone but failed to capitalize on any of their six corner kicks in the first half. They went into halftime in a scoreless tie.
It was the Wildcats who came out attacking after halftime.
Northwestern played the first 15 minutes of the half almost exclusively on their offensive end but, much like the Buckeyes in the first half, failed to capitalize on any of the opportunities.
The remainder of the second half was played with limited opportunities for either team, and it was not until the last minute of regulation when the game’s first goal was scored.
The goal was set up by OSU sophomore Danielle Scoliere. She beat multiple Northwestern defenders deep in Wildcat territory, eventually earning the team its 11th and final corner of the game.
“I thought it was a fantastic effort by Danielle,” Walker said. “It was a great play by a defender who just works her tail off.”
The kick was taken by Lauren Steuer with 53 seconds remaining on the clock and finished by freshman Lauren Granberg for the game-winning goal.
“It was our last few seconds,” Granberg said. “It was make or break.”
The shutout performance marked the Buckeyes’ ninth of the year, tying a single-season team record. Robertson, the goalkeeper in each of the nine shutouts, was just happy to come away with a win.
“It was incredible,” Robertson said. “We were able to pull together at the end and get the win.”
The victory gave the Buckeyes their second big win of the weekend, moving them to 10-2-1 overall, 3-1 in the conference.