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Women’s Soccer: Ohio State returns home for two Big Ten games

Ohio State freshman defender Izzy Rodriguez passes the ball during the second half of the Buckeyes’ 7-0 win against Illinois at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on Sept. 14, 2017. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Former Sports Editor

Returning home to play at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, the Ohio State women’s soccer team (5-4 2-1 Big Ten) is ready to carry on its momentum of last week, defeating No. 21 Northwestern and Illinois with two consecutive shutouts.

Following the pair of games in Illinois, senior goalkeeper Devon Kerr collected her third-career  Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Week award, while sophomore defender Izzy Rodriguez earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week, notching the game-winner in an overtime battle against the Wildcats.

Freshmen forward Emaly Vatne said Ohio State’s win against Northwestern meant a lot to the Buckeyes as a whole.

“We competed through the entire match and stayed focus to do our jobs,” Vatne said. “There were definitely positives to take away from being able to find a way to win in overtime. Izzy’s goal was awesome and we’re thrilled she was able to step up to score such a great goal to win the game.”

Iowa (5-4-2. 1-2-1 Big Ten) is coming off of its first Big Ten win of the season with a 3-1 win against the Hoosiers.

The last time Ohio State matched up against Iowa, the Buckeyes came away with the 2-0 victory in Iowa City, Iowa.

Ohio State head coach Lori Walker-Hock said that it’s all about making sure the players are arriving to defend, and forcing opponents to play faster than they want to play.

“First and foremost, we started looking at the goal,” Walker-Hock said. “And while our shots might not have had the velocity behind them at all times that we wanted, players are starting to recognize hey I was able to get that shot off, and now organizing their feet better and striking the ball with more purpose would be the next phase of that.”

Walker-Hock said with a young group of forwards, it’s important for the players to understand the value of trusting themselves enough to take a shot as the first step, and then putting more of an emphasis on finishing the shot with authority.

Looking ahead to Nebraska, the Cornhuskers (7-3-2, 3-0-1 Big Ten) recently ended its previous match with a 1-0 win versus Purdue, marking its third-consecutive win in a row of the season.

Nebraska will look to find success on Sunday in Columbus after falling 1-0 to the Buckeyes last season at home. Meanwhile, Ohio State will try to continue its winning streak after back-to-back wins in Illinois.

Ohio State will face Iowa at home at 7 p.m. on Thursday at 7 p.m. and will take on at 2:30 p.m. Nebraska at home on Sunday.

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