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Ohio State advances to Sweet 16 following a pair of overtime thrillers

It took 216 minutes and a set of penalty kicks, but the Ohio State women’s soccer team found a way to escape the weekend and advance to its first Sweet 16 appearance since 2004.

The Buckeyes dominated the ball in their first-round matchup with St. Francis (Pa.) on Friday, attempting 38 shots to St. Francis’ two, but it wasn’t until Danielle Scoliere scored her first career goal six minutes into the second overtime that the Buckeyes sealed the 1-0 win.

“There were moments in the game where we could have gone over the edge and become really frustrated, and I’ve got to credit my team because I thought they stayed very positive. We really did believe that it was just a matter of time,” OSU coach Lori Walker said. “This team for some reason likes to wait until the bitter end, but we absolutely dominated the game.”

In their second-round matchup, neither OSU nor the Dayton Flyers found a way to score during regulation or the two subsequent overtime periods. With the game declared a tie, the teams went to a round of penalty kicks to determine who would advance to the Sweet 16.

Both OSU and Dayton made their first two penalty kicks, with Lauren Beachy and Danica Wu scoring for OSU, and Kelly Blumenschein and Kelsey Miller scoring for Dayton. After Colleen Brady successfully converted the Buckeyes’ third penalty attempt, Dayton’s Nicole Peterson pushed the ball wide-left past the goal as OSU goalie Katie Baumgardner guessed wrong and dove right.

“I try not to guess. The way her body was shaped, I was pretty confident in the way I chose,” Baumgardner said. “It was certainly a relief to have it go wide. I thought it went in.”

OSU’s Courtney Jenkins made the Buckeyes’ fourth straight penalty kick, and Baumgardner blocked Dayton’s Juliana Libertin’s kick, sending the Buckeyes to the Sweet 16.

OSU’s successful shootout was a relief after the Buckeyes failed to capitalize on several scoring opportunities throughout overtime and regulation, including a shot attempt by Wu right in front of the goal with less than two minutes remaining in the first overtime. The shot was blocked by a diving save from Dayton goalie Lisa Rodgers.

The Buckeyes will now leave the comfort of home, as they will travel to Virginia to face the University of Virginia, the No. 2 seed in the Buckeyes’ tournament region.

Walker said her team’s latest victory is just another chapter in a Buckeyes season that has been full of nail-biting moments.

“It is a special season and we’ve really just been focusing on living every single moment,” Walker said. “No matter how it goes, it’s a pretty special experience.”

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