The Ohio State field hockey team is set to hit the road this week for East Lansing, Michigan, to face off against Michigan State.
The Buckeyes and Spartans are scheduled to step on the field on Friday at 3 p.m. in the Big Ten opener.
After last Friday’s 3-2 home win against Ball State, OSU (3-2) is now on a two-game winning streak with an offense that has come on strong recently. However, OSU coach Anne Wilkinson said she is cautious about getting too confident heading into conference play.
“Once you get the Big Ten, it’s a whole new ballgame, and they know that,” Wilkinson said.
Following in the footsteps of last week’s recipient, sophomore goalie Liz Tamburro, senior forward Peanut Johnson was named Big Ten Player of the Week on Tuesday for her strong performance last week against Ball State.
Johnson earned her team five points by scoring twice and adding two assists, which brought the Dayton, Ohio, native’s season total to 10 points.
Johnson said she looks to the individual accolade as a welcome recognition, but she still sees the team as a support system and large factor in her triumph.
“It’s such an honor,” Johnson said. “But it’s definitely a team effort in the end, and I’m just really grateful.”
Johnson and her co-captain, senior back Emma Royce, said they see Friday’s first conference game as a chance for the Buckeyes to truly shine following their winning streak.
Royce said that when going up against the Spartans, the team has to be in the right mindset above anything else.
“The skills are all there, it’s a lot about mentality at this point,” Royce said. “We just know that Michigan State is a very passionate and aggressive team so we’re looking to win our individual matchups and 50-50 balls.”
Wilkinson said she looks for Friday’s game to be an opportunity for the Buckeyes to work on locking down the ball.
“Possession is really going to be key,” Wilkinson said. “Michigan has a style where they really like to break up your plays…because we’re a fast team, they like to break that up so we need to work on playing small but opening up also.”
Michigan State will go into the game tied for sixth place in the Big Ten alongside Maryland after their loss to Columbia last Sunday, bringing them to 3-3 overall on the season.
Last season’s matchup between the Buckeyes and Spartans ended in overtime at 4-3, with Michigan State taking the victory on a goal by forward Abby Barker.
Players to watch
While Tamburro and Johnson hold the consecutive titles of Big Ten Player of the Week, sophomore forward Maddy Humphrey holds team leads for Buckeyes with 12 points (five goals, two assists).