The Buckeyes seek to keep their recent momentum going against rival Michigan this weekend.
The No. 18 Ohio State field hockey team (6-4, 1-2 Big Ten) faces off against the No. 11 Michigan Wolverines (8-3, 2-1) Friday in Columbus, and both head into the matchup with a two-game winning streak.
“When Ohio State plays Michigan, there’s a little more added to the game, a little more added to the fire,” head coach Jarred Martin said.
The Buckeyes lead the Big Ten with four goals per game. Freshman midfielder Mackenzie Allessie, senior midfielder Esther Clotet Alsina and junior forward Nikki Trzaska spearhead Ohio State’s attack. All three players rank top five in the Big Ten for goals per game. Combined, they account for 25 goals — 62 percent of all Buckeye goals scored.
Allessie has scored in five of her last six games, and her 0.89 goals per game is No. 2 in the Big Ten and No. 15 nationally. She was named Big Ten Freshman Player of the Week for her three-goal performance against Ohio University this past week.
Michigan ranks No. 4 out of the nine Big Ten teams with 2.82 goals per game.
Michigan’s offense is led by senior midfielder Fay Keijer. She has six goals and three assists for a team-high 15 points. Martin emphasized midfield play as a key for the Buckeyes this weekend.
“If they can control the tempo of the game, we’re going to be following them around a lot. We don’t want to do that, so I think the more we can control that midfield, the better it’s going to be for us,” Martin said.
Martin said he has been happy with the young team’s consistency through both halves in recent games. He said he addressed this during practice by making drills 15 minutes long followed by short breaks to mimic the flow of a game.
“They’ve been doing really well. I feel like the last two weeks I’ve seen a definitive attempt, I think, to change that and make it possible,” Martin said. “And it’s showing up in our play in practice, and hopefully this weekend will show it.”
Ohio State has 40 goals and 27 assists; Michigan has 33 goals and 28 assists, giving the Wolverines a higher assist-to-goal ratio.
“We do score a lot of goals off of corners and straight shots from the top, so you won’t get many assists from that,” Allessie said.
Overall, the Buckeyes are 24-43-2 against the Wolverines. Michigan won its 2018 matchup 2-1 in double overtime after both teams scored with less than 10 minutes left in regulation.
“All the games we’ve played, overtimes, one goal, have been some really good games between the two sides. I’m expecting a similar one on Friday,” Martin said.
The opening faceoff between the Buckeyes and Wolverines will take place at 4 p.m. Friday at Buckeye Varsity Field.