Following two consecutive losses against top-15 competition, the Ohio State field hockey team heads to the state of Michigan to do battle with two Big Ten rivals.
The Buckeyes (3-5, 0-1) suffered a 5-1 loss at the hands of No. 11 Northwestern (6-2, 1-0), followed by a 2-1 defeat at No. 7 Louisville (7-1, 0-1 ACC). Despite the unfavorable outcomes, the weekend’s competitions provided a few Buckeyes with career milestones.
Junior goalkeeper Liz Tamburro had 13 saves between the two matches, giving her 41 saves in the first eight games, which leads the Big Ten. Freshmen midfielders Esther Clotet-Alsina and Adelaide Penzone continue to lead the Buckeye field hockey newcomers in points with seven goals and one assist collectively.
Friday’s match between Michigan (6-1, 1-0) and OSU will bring a decades-old rivalry to life. While the Buckeyes have not defeated the Wolverines since 2011, junior midfielder Carolina Vergroesen said the rivalry is sure to drive OSU to showcase the height of its abilities.
“I think Michigan is always a game where it doesn’t really matter what either team’s done up to that time,” Vergroesen said. “It’s kind of nice because we bring out the best in each other because we’re all so hyped up for the game. It’ll be interesting to see where it takes us.”
The Wolverines enter the weekend on a high note after commanding wins over Michigan State and Central Michigan the previous weekend. Senior Courtney Enge leads the offense with five goals, contributing to a team average of 3.5 goals per game. Junior goalkeeper Sam Swenson is third in the nation with a .818 save percentage, only allowing four goals in the last seven games.
Michigan State (4-3, 0-1) began Big Ten play last weekend with a 4-1 loss to Michigan. Still, the Spartans’ offensive line is a force to be reckoned with. The team averages 4.14 goals per game and is ranked second in the Big Ten for points and goals. Redshirt junior Kendal Anderson leads the offensive powerhouse with nine goals and seven assists for a total of 25 points. While Michigan State’s offensive edge differs greatly from Michigan’s defensive approach to the game, junior midfielder Morgan Kile said the Buckeyes’ edge is being able to modify their playing style from game to game.
“We’re very adaptive in how we play other teams … which I think helps us in our success,” Kile said. “With Michigan, if we need to play a more vigorous, attacking style, then that’s what we’ll do and … if we take away (Michigan State’s) speed, then I think we should have them.”
The Scarlet and Gray take on the Wolverines in Ann Arbor, Michigan on Friday at 7 p.m. The Buckeyes then travel to East Lansing, Michigan to face the Spartans on Sunday at 2 p.m.
OSU vs. No. 8 Michigan History 6-1, 1-0
Michigan holds a 35-26-2 advantage in the series against the Buckeyes, with the first game dating back to 1977. OSU has fallen to the Wolverines in the last five matchups, most recently a 3-0 shutout last October. Previous games include:
10/31/15: Michigan 3, OSU 0 (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
11/02/14: Michigan 2, OSU 1 (Columbus, Ohio)
10/20/13: Michigan 2, OSU 1 OT (Columbus, Ohio)
11/01/12: Michigan 1, OSU 0 (Iowa City, Iowa)
10/14/12: Michigan 3, OSU 1 (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
OSU vs. Michigan State History 4-3, 0-1
Sunday’s game will be the 61st time that the Buckeyes and Spartans have faced off. OSU leads the series with a 36-21-3 record, despite having only beaten Michigan State once in the past five years. Previous games include:
9/18/15: Michigan State 1, OSU 2 (East Lansing, Michigan)
9/18/14: Michigan State 4, OSU 3 OT (Columbus, Ohio)
11/08/13: Michigan State 2, OSU 1 2OT (Columbus, Ohio)
9/28/13: Michigan State 3, OSU 2 (East Lansing, Michigan)
10/05/16: Michigan State 1, OSU 0 (Columbus, Ohio)