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Women’s Soccer: Ohio State concludes regular season with 2-1 win over No. 19 Wisconsin

Ohio State freshman forward Emaly Vatne (14) heads the ball down the field in the game against Florida Gulf Coast University on Sept. 7. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo Editor

After capturing a 2-1 win over Purdue on Thursday night, the Ohio State women’s soccer team clinched a 2-1 victory in its final match of the 2018 regular season against No. 19 Wisconsin on Sunday.

This win for the Buckeyes to finish off the 2018 regular season results with a 9-5-3 record, 6-2-3 in the Big Ten record while the Badgers drop to 12-3-3, and 6-2-3 in the conference.

Ohio State got off to a speedy start at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium with sophomore forward Marissa Birzon notching a goal from six yards, assisted by senior forward Eleanor Gabriel, to lead Wisconsin 1-0 early.

Birzon said that this win was major for the team for the team’s final regular season game.  

“I think we came out really strong in the first half,” Birzon said. “And that carried all the way through the game.”

The Badgers weren’t out of the game yet.

A quick response came from Wisconsin junior forward Dani Rhodes, who made a shot from eight yards in the 18th minute of the match assisted by senior midfielder Victoria Pickett, knotting the game at 1-1.

Then, an unexpected goal came in the 29th minute of the match.   

Buckeye senior midfielder Sarah Roberts played a cross through the box, but a Wisconsin defender was there to deflect and the ball. The ball went into its own net instead, extending the lead to 2-1 for the Buckeyes on the Badgers’ own goal.

In the first 45 minutes of the match, Ohio State secured a 4-3 advantage in shots, while Wisconsin held a 3-1 edge in corner kicks over the Buckeyes.

The best opportunity for the Badgers to tie the game up once again came in the 57th minute, when sophomore forward Lauren Rice attempted a left-footed strike from the top of the box, but was then cleared away by Buckeye senior goalkeeper Devon Kerr.

After several attempted shots by each team at its opponents’ net, the Buckeyes were able to hold the lead for the rest of the game.

Senior forward Eleanor Gabriel said today’s victory over the Badgers was a collective team effort.

“I know we’ve had some struggles during the season,” Gabriel said. “We’ve had a lot of adversity thrown our way, so I think this is a good quality win against a top opponent and I think we all came together today.”

In the final 45 minutes of the match, Wisconsin came away with a 13-6 lead in shots and an 8-2 lead in corner kicks. Meanwhile, Ohio State managed to tally four total saves over the Badgers’ two, with Kerr making three of the four saves for the Buckeyes.

Gabriel said coming out on top today felt great, especially being a senior player on the team.  

“I know the days here are limited,” Gabriel said. “So I think that everybody rallied together and winning our last regular season home game was a big win for us.”

After finishing their regular season, the Ohio State women’s soccer team will prepare for the Big Ten tournament. The tournament starts on Oct. 28.

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