Despite a 2014 season marred by a disappointing 5-12 record — and not a single victory in seven conference matches — the Ohio State field hockey team enters the new year believing that a refocused mindset and added experience can lead to better on-field results.
OSU is set is to host two non-conference opponents this weekend at Buckeye Varsity Field. The Buckeyes are scheduled to play Saint Louis on Friday at 3 p.m. followed by a noon game on Sunday against Albany.
OSU coach Anne Wilkinson, who is entering her 20th season in Columbus, said she believes having a large sophomore class integrated into the team can help the overall playing dynamic.
“This past spring was a great growing period for us,” Wilkinson said. “We had a big freshman class last year, so now that they’re sophomores, they have a good year under their belt. There are high expectations, but that’s because everyone’s worked really hard.”
Wilkinson said the team is looking forward to the season and plans to put all of the pieces together on the field in order to play the best game possible.
The team’s co-captains — senior forward Peanut Johnson and senior back Emma Royce — agreed that the team’s cohesive progress and hard work leading up to the first game could pay off this weekend.
Johnson said the team wants the home opener to be a continuation of how well the preseason went.
“We had a great preseason. This year we plan on playing tough on every ball,“ Johnson said. “That, combined with our speed, are definitely things we can use to our advantage.”
Royce said the individual differences of each line set OSU apart from its competitors.
“We play as a unit, but we each have our own flair and something special which makes us stand out,“ Royce said. “We’re not predictable.”
The Buckeyes also enter the season with 2014’s top scorer in tow — sophomore forward/midfielder Maddy Humphrey — along with two all-region choices and 16 letterwinners.
After this weekend’s home games against Saint Louis and Albany, OSU is scheduled to head to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to play Wake Forest at 4 p.m. on Sept. 4.