Following their 5-0 season-opening shutout victory over St. Louis on Friday, the Ohio State field hockey team (1-1) was dealt its first loss of the season by No. 7 Albany on Sunday by a score of 3-1, wrapping up the opening weekend.
The first half of the game was controlled by Albany junior midfielder Paula Heuser, the reigning national player of the year, who scored two goals before the halftime buzzer.
Despite the Buckeyes’ slow start, they came out with a different fire during the the second half, totaling 13 second-half shots compared to Albany’s five.
“We were stuck trying to build the ball up out of the back, and we were very hesitant,” OSU coach Anne Wilkinson said of the initial game play. “But once we started to play very fast, be more aggressive and take some chances, it gave people freedom to move.”
The single goal for OSU was scored by sophomore forward/midfielder Maddy Humphrey through a tip-in off a shot by senior center back Emma Royce early in the second half.
“Regardless of what happened with goals, if they went our way or theirs … we were just going to give this relentless effort and keep going after every ball, whereas I think they just got a bit complacent,” Royce said of the Buckeyes’ high-energy second half.
The team’s positive mindset and determination to get after the ball is what drives them to their success on the field, Humphrey said.
“We looked at what we had against our opponents and we made a different game plan, and we worked together and kept a positive attitude,” Humphrey said. “We need to keep that energy and intensity that we just played with because we know that’s the standard we’re able to (perform) at.”
OSU sophomore goalkeeper Liz Tamburro turned in a strong defensive performance in the cage against an offensively imposing opponent. Tamburro stopped five shots in the first half alone and followed with three in the second for a total of eight saves.
“Liz in goalie did a nice job,” Wilkinson said. “(Albany) is very scrappy in front of the goal, so she had great composure and defense.”
Looking forward to practice for the next week, Wilkinson said the team plans to focus on coverage of each other as well as continuing to play fast and working on support of the ball.
The Buckeyes are scheduled to step back on the field in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to face off against Wake Forest on Friday and then Missouri State on Saturday.