The Ohio State field hockey team (8-7, 4-3) couldn’t manage to keep pace with a high-powered Northwestern team (11–6, 4-3) during its second-to-last home game of the season on Friday.
With an aggressive offensive edge, Northwestern’s Isabel Flens and Pascale Massey each scored once during both periods, respectively, to end the game with a final score of 2-0.
Despite the tough loss and being outshot 29-2, the Buckeyes made it a priority to reel in the Wildcats through a strong defensive approach.
Sophomore goalie Liz Tamburro tallied 15 total saves, giving her a total of 220 for her career, while sophomore back Caroline Rath added two defensive saves into the mix.
The Wildcats’ quick reactions and confidence with ball possession never came to a standstill throughout the entirety of the game. However, the Buckeyes defense made it a priority to halt Northwestern’s movement back upfield with the score staying stagnant at 1-0 going into halftime.
OSU coach Anne Wilkinson said that once Northwestern scored nearly 25 minutes in, it was hard to regain momentum.
“Northwestern had a great gameplan coming in. They stepped up and played with confidence while we were a step behind,” Wilkinson said. “Once they got into a rhythm, they got us … (going forward) we need to find new ways to attack.”
With most of the movement staying on Northwestern’s offensive side for the second half, it was difficult for the Buckeyes to break through for a scoring opportunity.
The Buckeyes’ focus on defense wasn’t enough to stop Northwestern from scoring the second and final goal of the game 58 minutes in due to an unassisted shot off rebound from Massey.
OSU sophomore forward/midfielder Maddy Humphrey said the team’s mental motivation had begun to dwindle down as the game neared the end.
“We were mentally prepared in the beginning, but once we let them start to play their own game we just sat back and didn’t play ours,” Humphrey said. “I think we lost mentally in the end more than anything.”
With the final home game of the season approaching on Sunday, the Buckeyes will need a quick turnaround to evaluate their approach moving forward.
Senior co-captain Emma Royce said she thinks creativity could be a catalyst for the quick turnaround.
“Credit to Northwestern, I think they scouted us very very well and knew what to expect,” Royce said. “We need to understand (going forward) that the teams are going to know what Ohio State does. We have very specific patents and plays and we need to throw in new creativity and imagination.”
Now tied with Northwestern in Big Ten standings for fourth place, OSU has one conference game remaining: No. 11 Michigan on Oct. 31.
The Buckeyes are scheduled to host California for the last home game of the season on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Buckeye Varsity Field, with senior honors occurring before the match starts.