When late-August rolls around, nearly every Columbus native has their eye fixed to a TV screen to tune into the latest update on Ohio State football. However, there are a slew of other sports at the university that may not get the mainstream attention, yet provide equally enthralling drama and storylines for fans to follow. Catch up on the latest with the sports at Ohio State that you may have overlooked down below.
A team entering the season ranked No. 1 in the nation is not expected to be bounced from the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Ohio State men’s hockey defied expectations by winning just one of its final seven games to end the season 20-11-5, a disappointment considering its Frozen Four semifinals run the season prior.
Now without forward Mason Jobst, who led the team with 36 points in his senior season and became the program’s first-ever Hobey Baker finalist, senior forward Tanner Lacyznski will be the focal point of the Buckeyes’ offensive attack. Lacyznski was a second team All-America selection two years ago, and managed to have a team second-best 30 points this past season despite missing nine games.
Junior goalie Tommy Nappier began gaining ground on now-graduated goalie Sean Romeo this past season, earning Big Ten Goaltender of the Year honors with the No. 4 save percentage in the nation at .934. Romeo started 17 games in his senior year, but Nappier will take over as the full-time starter for a season during which Ohio State will return a lot of talent and seek to prove that another Frozen Four appearance is still within reach.
Following its worst season since 1999-00, Ohio State women’s basketball will center around breakout star Dorka Juhasz as eight new players join the roster.
Juhasz, a 6-foot-4 sophomore forward, led the Buckeyes with 11.7 points and 9 rebounds per game in a standout rookie campaign that afforded her second team All-Big Ten honors. However, Juhasz would have been only the fourth leading scorer on the 2017-18 team that featured the program’s all-time leading scorer, Kelsey Mitchell.
Scoring was a glaring issue for the Buckeyes last season, as they finished last in the Big Ten in scoring offense with 62.1 points per game. In the last two seasons, both of which featured Ohio State as Big Ten champions, the Buckeyes put up 85 on average.
Seventh-year head coach Kevin McGuff has brought on seven freshmen to fill out the roster, including 6-foot-3 freshman forward Rebeka Mikulasikova from Slovakia who could give the Buckeyes more size and depth down low to complement Juhasz.
For Ohio State softball, success in the upcoming season will be predicated on how well Ohio State can replace the dominance of shortstop Lilli Piper and second baseman Emily Clark.
The pair were named second and third team All-Americans respectively last season, and were the top two players on the team in batting average, hits, runs, home runs and slugging percentage. Piper is top five in program history in batting average and home runs, while Clark is top five in home runs and RBIs.
A pair of sophomores in infielder Ashley Prange and outfielder Kaitlyn Coffman will likely step up to shoulder the slack left over by Piper and Clark after standout freshman seasons. Prange hit a team third-best .565 slugging percentage, with a second-best 39 RBIs. Coffman tied Piper for the second-most home runs on the team with 10 in her first season with the Buckeyes.
Ohio State also loses the ace of its pitching staff in Morgan Ray, who started 28 games in the Buckeyes’ 35-18 season wherein they lost in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament for the fourth straight season. Already holding the program record for most consecutive tournament appearances, losing so much talent means head coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly could face an uphill battle getting to a fifth straight.
When Ohio State baseball became the lowest seed to ever win the Big Ten tournament this past season, it put the conference on notice.
That notice may go short served, as the Buckeyes will lose their top two hitters in All-Big Ten performers Brady Cherry and Dominic Canzone.
Canzone, a third team All-America selection, will forgo his final season with the Buckeyes after being drafted by the MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks. Canzone led the Big Ten with 88 hits and a .620 slugging percentage, batting a Buckeye-best .345 average with 16 home runs this past season.
Cherry, who was the only other Buckeye with a batting average above .300, tied Canzone for a team-leading 16 home runs in his final year with Ohio State.
Ohio State will maintain some stability in its pitching staff with returning redshirt sophomore pitcher Seth Lonsway, who was named second team freshman All-American after leading all Division I freshmen with 126 strikeouts this past season.
Ohio State will also return its next three best hitters outside of Cherry and Canzone while six new recruits enter the program as the Buckeyes build toward the future.
Out of 14 Big Ten teams, Ohio State women’s volleyball finished No. 13 in the conference in the 2018 season.
The Buckeyes ended the season on a 12-game losing skid to finish the season 12-20, which matches their lowest win total since 2008, when head coach Geoff Carlston took over the program. In terms of wins, Ohio State has only had three worse years since its initial season, all of which took place 16 years ago or longer.
Ohio State loses its assists leader in Olivia Dailey, but the program added six freshman and a senior graduate transfer for the upcoming season. They will join Vanja Bukilic, a 6-foot-6 sophomore outside hitter, whose freshman campaign saw her lead the team with 406.5 points and 358 kills.
The 2019 Buckeyes will return five seniors, while last year saw just two on the roster. That experience along with a slew of incoming young talent should figure into turning around a program that qualified for the Sweet 16 just two seasons ago.
After a 1-0 win over Hofstra in its second game of this past season, Ohio State men’s soccer found itself with a 1-1 record. The team would not win another game for the rest of the year.
Brian Maisonneuve’s first year as head coach yielded a 1-15-2 record, the worst season for Ohio State men’s soccer since 1972, when the Buckeyes went winless. However, a large roster overhaul may contribute to more wins this season.
Eleven players from the 2018 roster have left the program, and the Buckeyes have brought on 10 new players, including five freshmen, and transfers from Kentucky, Belmont, Xavier and Air Force.
Ohio State had a Big Ten-worst eight goals in 2018, but it returns the only two players with multiple scores on the team in redshirt junior forward Devyn Etling and redshirt senior midfielder Jake Scheper. The pair combined for five goals on the year.
The Buckeyes are in a rebuilding phase, but losing only six seniors after the upcoming season should allow the team to build cohesion in the future.
The Buckeyes have been NCAA Championship runner up for three consecutive years, with Penn State beating them out each time. A few key names depart, but Ohio State still looks to compete at a national level while restocking its program.
Myles Martin, a one-time national champion and four-time All-American, graduates with 141-pounder and three-time All-American Joey McKenna. Micah Jordan is also gone after making an NCAA title match for the first time in his career, and joining McKenna as a three-time All-American.
Redshirt senior 197-pounder Kollin Moore leads the Buckeyes into the 2019-2020 season, fresh off a second-place finish at the NCAA tournament. He’s joined by senior 133-pounder Luke Pletcher, a two-time All-American, who may move up to 141 pounds.
Outside of those two names, young or otherwise unproven talent fills out the lineup for the team. Redshirt sophomore heavyweight Chase Singletary is back after finishing last year 19-7, joining redshirt sophomore 174-pounder Ethan Smith, who went 18-11. The Buckeyes signed the No. 1 recruiting class according to InterMat’s rankings, and are hoping some of those recruits can fill the remaining holes.