Entering its game against Florida, the Ohio State women’s soccer team had high expectations to bounce back after coming off of a pair of losses in the beginning of the season.
Those expectations turned into freshmen Buckeyes, forward Kayla Fischer, forward Emaly Vatne and midfielder Blair Cowan scoring the game-winners against Florida, Morehead State and Notre Dame, respectively.
Vatne said having freshmen score game-winners three games in a row displays a vast testament to the freshmen class.
“The freshmen have really stepped up and taken on a big role of scoring goals,” Vatne said. “The seniors have been teaching us a lot and believing in us, so that’s played a huge part in why we’ve been able to step up and score.”
After two consecutive losses to Duke and North Carolina on the road, Fischer led the Buckeyes to a 1-0 win over then-No. 5 Florida, firing a left-footed strike from 12 yards for her first career goal, bringing Ohio State to its first win of the season.
Fischer said her goal against Florida increased her confidence after the losses to start the season.
“It kind of brings you down when you don’t score,” Fischer said. “The Florida game definitely boosted our confidence and showed us that we can score.”
Following her performance in Gainesville, Florida, Fischer received Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week and Co-Freshman of the Week honors.
After facing Florida on the road, shortly to return home to a canceled match against Duquesne, Ohio State picked up its second-straight win of the year in a dominant fashion, defeating Morehead State 8-0 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
In the 41st, 68th and 73rd minutes of the game against Morehead State, Vatne notched three goals and scored the 15th hat trick in Ohio State history, earning her the Big Ten Freshman of the Week honor.
Vatne said every soccer player hopes to score goals on game day, but she never expected to score a hat trick.
“It’s something everyone wants to do coming in,” Vatne said. “You kind of hope for that. But everyone is so good at this level so it’s kind of just an expectation to contribute your best and then see what happens from there. So, yeah, I wouldn’t really say that I expected to come in and score three goals in the game, but it still was cool nonetheless.”
After the back-to-back wins, the Buckeyes came away with another victory in a 1-0 win over Notre Dame.
Cowan scored her first collegiate goal in the game against the Fighting Irish, marking the third straight game-winner by a Buckeye rookie.
“I expected the college game to be a lot faster than high school and club,” Cowan said. “And it has taken some time to get used to. I’m trying to do whatever I can to help the team win.”
With a season full of ups and downs thus far, the Buckeyes, and the three freshmen who have impressed to this point, enter Big Ten play this weekend and will look to upset Penn State, as they travel to Pennsylvania to take on the Nittany Lions at 6 p.m. on Friday.