In its season finale on Thursday at Buckeye Field, two goals weren’t enough for the Ohio State field hockey team to fend off No. 15 Iowa.
The Buckeyes (6-11, 1-7 Big Ten) started off the match strong with a quick goal from sophomore forward Irene Fritschy in the fifth minute of the game. Junior midfielder Maddy Humphrey padded the OSU lead roughly fifteen minutes later with a solo breakaway shot.
However, Iowa (12-6, 4-4) stormed back to avoid the upset. Senior defender and midfielder Chandler Ackers put the Hawkeyes on the board with 13 minutes to go in the half, trimming the deficit heading into halftime.
Humphrey said that the energy from the two goals motivated the Buckeyes to continue playing aggressively.
“I think it was great the way we played (in the first half),” Humphrey said. “We came out strong … and we just wanted to keep that going.”
The second half was a battle for both OSU’s offense and defense. Despite a strong force from the Scarlet and Gray, the Hawkeyes tied the score off a penalty corner and kept the momentum going from there.
Iowa’s redshirt senior forward Natalie Cafone, the leading scorer in the Big Ten, was able to find a way around OSU junior goalkeeper Liz Tamburro in the 60th minute of play, securing a victory for the Hawkeyes.
Coach Anne Wilkinson said while the Buckeyes played a tough second half, their downfall was the lack of scoring opportunities.
“I think we had some opportunities in the second half, but we just didn’t have the space that we had in the first half,” she said. “We were able to create goals off of creating space for ourselves. Second half, we didn’t have a lot of space to work with.”
Regardless of the game’s heartbreaking result, a handful of Buckeyes walk away from the season with new personal records.
Tamburro entered the game as the leader in saves and saves per game in the Big Ten. She finished the year with 101 saves, marking the third year in a row she’s reached triple digit stops.
Humphrey walked away as the Buckeyes’ leading scorer with 32 points — an eight-point jump from the previous year’s record of 24 points.
Wilkinson said while the season was a particularly taxing one, she looks forward to working with the squad again next year.
“This is one of the best teams I’ve had the opportunity to work with thus far, in how they handle themselves on the field and off the field,” Wilkinson said. “They really work well together… they’re creating a lot of opportunities, but we’ll be working on a lot of goal scoring and finishing in the spring.”