Ohio State and Michigan State women’s soccer were knotted at a scoreless tie through 76 minutes Thursday, until sophomore forward Kayla Fischer put the Buckeyes on the board with the game-winning goal.
The goal gave the Buckeyes (3-4-1, 1-0 Big Ten) their third consecutive win as they opened up Big Ten play with a 1-0 win over the Michigan State (7-2, 0-1 Big Ten) at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
After a scoreless first half, Fischer’s right-footer got past Spartan redshirt freshman goalkeeper Lauren Kozal, and was assisted by junior midfielder Olivia Petit. With her fourth goal of the season, Fischer now leads the Buckeyes in scoring as well as assists (3).
“It feels good to help our team get the first win in the Big Ten,” Fischer said. “We need to keep looking forward as we head into more conference play, not looking at our nonconference games and just keep looking to win.”
Ohio State didn’t win any of its first five nonconference games to begin the season, but the Buckeyes are picking up steam after rattling off three straight wins as conference play gets underway.
On the defensive end, senior defenders Marike Mousset and Haley Walker-Robinson, junior defender Izzy Rodriguz and freshman defender Aliyah El-Naggar pressured the Spartan offense to the tune of just five allowed shot attempts.
Junior goalkeeper Bailey Kolinski started the game, and redshirt freshman goalkeeper Jordan Silkowitz garnered one late save to sustain the result for Ohio State.
“[Michigan State] is very strong up front, they’re very dangerous with it and we as the defense had to be calm in order to keep the front lines calm,” Rodriguz said. “We wanted to set the play for the offense and focus on moving the ball.”
Ohio State head coach Lori Walker-Hock said she wants to see her team play more dynamically, particularly in regards to getting through defenses.
“Whenever you start conference play, you pretty much wipe the slate clean—who they’ve been and who we’ve been up until this point is not the most relevant piece,” Walker-Hock said. “Every conference game is difficult, you have to figure out a way to grind through it and that’s what we did.”
The Buckeyes will host Michigan Sunday at 2 p.m., followed by a two game road-trip versus Big Ten rivals Minnesota and Wisconsin.