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Women’s soccer looking to raise the bar

The Ohio State women’s soccer team won its first Big Ten Championship in 2010, but as spring scrimmages and offseason workouts are taking place, coach Lori Walker is determined to keep her players focused on what lies ahead.

“What was, was,” Walker said after a 2-2 tie in a scrimmage against Louisville on Saturday. “It’s real easy to get caught in the trap of wanting to be in last year, and we’re not.”

The team lost five seniors after last year, and as defender Danielle Scoliere enters her senior season, she said she knows it’s time to increase her role, as well as prepare her younger teammates to do the same.

“It’s really time to step up and be a leader,” she said. “I’m trying to make sure some of the younger girls do that as well.”

Scoliere scored the team’s second and final goal in the first half of Saturday’s scrimmage. The first goal came from defender Aly Walker on an assist from forward Paige Maxwell.

Maxwell, the 2010 Big Ten Player of the Year, is also working to improve her roles with the team.

“(I want to) focus on the things I’m not comfortable with and not be afraid to make mistakes,” Maxwell said. “I’m trying to do my job well and have my team be able to rely on me.”

Both Maxwell and Scoliere stressed that improving fitness is a must during the spring and summer. Goalie Katie Baumgardner, who didn’t allow a goal during her time on the field Saturday, has found some extra motivation to continue improving her physical conditioning.

Baumgardner, along with teammates Walker and defender Colleen Brady, is planning to run in the Capital City Half Marathon, which takes place May 7. Both Baumgardner and Brady are seniors going into the fall. Walker will be a junior.

“We’ve been running a lot,” Baumgardner said. “We do it all the time, so we figure we might as well put it to use and have a little bit of motivation.

“We’re doing a good job of communicating and growing with the team. We’re connecting. We’re starting to look more like an early-season team going into the fall.”

The team’s next spring game will take place at 1 p.m. Saturday when it takes on Notre Dame in Xenia, Ohio.

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