The Northwestern Wildcats Women’s Soccer team improved to 4-4-1 on the season as it defeated Ohio State (6-2-1, 1-1) Sunday afternoon at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
In the 37th minute, a corner from Wildcat junior midfielder Marisa Viggiano found the head of junior defender Kayla Sharples, who drilled the ball over the right shoulder of Ohio State junior goalkeeper Devon Kerr and into the back of the net to give the Wildcats the 1-0 lead. The Buckeyes could not find an answer for Northwestern’s fast-paced attack.
The game ended with both teams having nine shots on goal and three saves by each goalie. Ohio State earned seven corners to Northwestern’s two, but was unable to capitalize on their opportunities.
The Buckeyes fell to 0-2 when the opponent scores first. The loss was Ohio State’s second this season and first in conference play.
It was a series of quick drives and changes of possession for the first 10 minutes of the game as both teams sought to find a rhythm early.
Wildcat freshman midfielder Kylie Fisher was the first player to provide action as she blasted a chest-high shot at Kerr, who was able to successfully hold onto the shot for her first save of the day.
The Buckeyes began their push in the 20th minute, earning themselves a series of dangerous crosses that kept forcing Wildcat goalie Lauren Clem to punch the ball to safety. Northwestern responded by slowing its play in an effort to control the ball, and successfully kept possession, even through the first half.
Wildcat senior forward Maria Fayeulle controlled the ball at the top of the box in the 29th minute, evading defenders and threatening the goal before being stripped of the ball in the middle of the box and losing possession of the ball.
A quality cross for Northwestern came from freshman forward Nia Harris in the 33rd minute, forcing Kerr to drop to her knees and punch the ball upward in an effort to keep the game scoreless. Buckeye senior midfielder Nikki Walts then cleared the ball from continuing to dangerously float across the zone.
The Buckeyes responded with a quick offensive push earning a corner from Walts, but struggled to maintain possession for the rest of the half as they trailed going into halftime.
The Buckeyes went to the locker room searching for energy after being outshot 7-1 in the first half, showing their eagerness to improve as they came out of the locker room early for warm-ups.
“We were just disappointed in what we put in the first half and knew that our backs were against the wall, we only had the second half to put in a goal and we fell short unfortunately,” senior defender Morgan Wolcott said. “We just kind of went back and looked at our basics and talked up a game-plan to get after it in the second half.”
Ohio State spent the first 25 minutes of the second half on a constant push towards the goal resulting in several corner kicks, but was unable to capitalize on any of the crosses as they all floated across the box.
The Buckeyes were finally able to get two quality shots on goal in the 71st minute, challenging Northwestern senior goalie Lauren Clem as a shot off of a cross lead to a rebound shot that she was able to hold onto.
Tension built in the stands as the final 15 minutes of the game approached, home fans knowing the Buckeyes would need to score soon if they wanted to pull out a victory.
The Buckeyes made a strong push in the last 10 minutes as Wolcott danced her way around defenders on her way to a blasted shot inside the box that would be saved by the block of two Wildcats. The team then began a frantic push towards the end line, knowing its opportunity to even the game was quickly running out.
The air seemingly left the stadium as sophomore forward Meghan Kammerdeiner sent a last second prayer from 30 yards out that failed to connect, ending the hard fought game.
“If we face them again, we’re going to want to have a better result. If we would’ve played the first half the same way we did in the second then it would’ve been a different game,” Wolcott said..
The Ohio State women’s soccer team next faces off against Nebraska Friday in Lincoln, Nebraska.