Ohio State field hockey is stepping away from Big Ten play this weekend, hosting in-state competitor Kent State before traveling to Muncie, Indiana, to face off against the Ball State Cardinals.
Since starting Big Ten play, the Buckeyes (3-7, 0-3) have lost four straight games, including two matches against top-10 teams. Still, OSU possesses a competitive group of players, both on the offensive and defensive lines.
Junior midfielder Maddy Humphrey leads the Scarlet and Gray in nearly every statistical category. She has scored seven goals and tallied three assists this season for a total of 17 points. Freshmen midfielders Esther Clotet Alsina and Adelaide Penzone, who collectively have eight goals and two assists, follow Humphrey in team statistics with a combined 18 points.
Junior goalkeeper Liz Tamburro leads the Big Ten with 51 saves and an average of 5.1 saves per game. Tamburro is assisted by junior back Caroline Rath, who has a team-high four defensive saves this season.
Junior midfielder Morgan Kile said the Buckeyes have really been pushing each other the extra mile this past week in practice because they know how important non-conference games can be in the middle of the season.
“Non-conference games … give the team momentum,” Kile said in an email. “Pulling out two wins this weekend would mean we can move forward (in the season) with strength and confidence.”
Kent State (6-4, 2-0 MAC) enters the weekend on a high note after a 3-2 win over Longwood in overtime last Sunday. Redshirt junior Alison Harmatz leads the Golden Flashes with six goals, equaling 12 points. Juniors Silvia Figa Malgosa and Shannon Talbot, along with senior Krysti Lober follow Harmatz with nine points each. Senior goalkeeper Andrea Rinehart has a .661 save percentage and a total of 41 saves this season, including one shut out against the University of California.
Ball State (4-6, 0-1 MAC) heads into the match after having lost its last four games, most recently in a competition against Ohio. Seniors Mikayla Mooney and Lexi Kavanaugh lead the offense with nine points each, made up from seven goals and four assists collectively. Senior goalkeeper Jordan Dues has a total of 61 saves this season as well as a .701 save percentage.
Junior midfielder Maddy Humphrey said in an email that after OSU’s recent losses, this weekend’s games could prove to be very important in terms of preparing for the rest of the season.
“This is very vital weekend for our team,” Humphrey said. “We have to come together now and win the weekend. Our team is great when we play together and at our best, so our mentality has to be strong this weekend against these two competitive opponents.”
The Buckeyes will take on Kent State on Friday at 3:30 p.m. at Buckeye Varsity Field. OSU will then travel to Ball State to play the Cardinals on Monday at 3 p.m.
OSU vs. Kent State history
The Buckeyes lead the series against the Golden Flashes with a commanding 22-7 record. Kent State emerged victorious in the most recent match-up of the series, which began in 1978. Previous games include:
10/27/15: Kent State 3, Ohio State 1 (Kent, Ohio)
10/21/14: Kent State 1, Ohio State 3 (Columbus, Ohio)
9/24/13: Kent State 3, Ohio State 4 (Kent, Ohio)
9/19/12: Kent State 2, Ohio State 8 (Columbus, Ohio)
9/18/11: Kent State 1, Ohio State 4 (Kent, Ohio)
OSU vs. Ball State history
OSU holds a 15-7 record in the series against Ball State, which dates back to 1983. The Scarlet and Gray have not lost to the Cardinals since 2007 and have won 15 of the last 17 games. The most recent matches include:
9/11/15: Ball State 2, Ohio State 3 (Muncie, Indiana)
9/14/14: Ball State 2, Ohio State 3 OT (Columbus, Ohio)
10/23/13: Ball State 1, Ohio State 2 (Muncie, Indiana)
10/07/12: Ball State 1, Ohio State 9 (Columbus, Ohio)
9/27/11: Ball State 0, Ohio State 5 (Muncie, Indiana)