Ohio State’s field hockey team is set to take to the field against two ranked squads as it heads to Syracuse, N.Y., to play No. 7 Massachusetts and No. 6 Syracuse.
The team dominated in its home opener against Missouri State, winning 5-1, but fell in overtime to Bucknell 3-2 last weekend as part of the Buckeye Classic.
Coach Anne Wilkinson said the team has stepped up in practice and has been preparing well for this weekend’s matchups.
“This week I saw some improvements,” Wilkinson said. “We kind of took a step back this weekend against Bucknell. I think that was definitely a game we could have won … but we’ve been working hard this week.”
Despite the improvement Wilkinson said the team still needs to work to be better in other areas.
“I think our ball movement, and to control what we can control, and how we move the ball whether it is out of the back or through the midfield, finding different options and being creative, we were working on that,” Wilkinson said. “We were also working on our deep defense, being really responsible for your mark and stepping up and playing low.”
Sophomore back Emma Royce said the team is looking at different angles of the game in order to be ready for their top 10 opponents.
“We’ve been preparing, just like building up out of the back and now that we are a few games in, we just have that experience under our belts,” Royce said. “We are looking to just hit the main stream of our season.”
The Buckeyes are also looking at this weekend in a different way than they have with their previous opponents. Senior midfielder Mona Frommhold said they are going to handle the games with a more relaxed approach.
“I think we should calm down,” Frommold said. “The last games we were too sure we were going to win, so since both teams are very good, we should just focus on our game.”
Royce said the team is looking forward to the upcoming games and believe they are prepared to handle the competition.
“UMass and Syracuse have a really good record, and I’m just like, excited to play some really top teams,” Royce said. “They both have a reputation of having a fighting spirit, so I’m really looking forward to it.”
The Buckeyes will take on UMass Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and Syracuse Sunday at 2 p.m.