The score remained tied between the Buckeyes and Wildcats after 90 minutes of soccer Thursday, and not even two ensuing overtimes could decide a winner.
Ohio State women’s soccer (4-8-3, 2-4-2 Big Ten) and Northwestern (5-7-3, 3-3-2) ended in a 1-1 draw at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, extending the Buckeyes’ winless streak to four.
Redshirt sophomore midfielder Maddy Lowe scored the Buckeyes’ lone goal –– her first collegiate score –– in the 31st minute of play, assisted by junior midfielder Olivia Petit.
Lowe, accompanied by midfielders Petit, redshirt junior Alyssa Baumbick and freshman Kitty Jones-Black, has stepped back into the midfield after recently playing on defense for an injured Haley Walker-Robinson, who returned to play against Purdue.
“The plan for tonight was to attack what they had in the backfield. They have a very young back line, so we were looking to figure out their inexperience,” Lowe said. “We need to take care of business the next few games. We’re playing for our seniors now, so we want to extend the season and give them as many games as possible.”
While the Buckeye offensive dominated possession in the first half, they lost their momentum in the second.
Northwestern freshman defender Marianna Annest found the net in the 73rd minute with assists from graduate student defender Taylor Hallmon and junior forward Mikayla Hampton. Unable to bring back the energy from the first half, the Buckeyes went scoreless for the rest of the game.
“The first 45 minutes were some of the best soccer we’ve played all year,” Ohio State head coach Lori Walker-Hock said. “We had good rhythm, we had good tempo, we were defending really well and together as a unit. Unfortunately, the game’s 90 minutes and we have to replicate that in the second half.”
The Buckeyes were also missing a key component of their game — star sophomore forward Kayla Fischer was sidelined with a head laceration.
Fischer has accumulated 11 points for the Buckeyes this season, leading her team in both goals and points. The front line missed her speed against the Wildcat defense, yet still garnered 15 shots on goal.
“We’re a young team and we’ve gotta figure out how to gut through something like overtime,” Walker-Hock said. “When you have mature teams, they know that, it’s normal for them. There’s a fine line between panic and being calm within chaos, and we have to find that line where, as things get chaotic, we can stay calm.”
Defensively, the back line allowed only four shots in the first half — yet gave up 17 more in the other 65 minutes. Junior goalkeeper Bailey Kolinski shut out the Wildcats in the first half, but the Wildcat front line was able to pressure redshirt freshman Jordan Silkowitz in the second, who tallied six saves and gave up a goal.
“Our motto is to play as a unit and I think collectively and consecutively, we do a good job of that,” Robinson said. “We always talk to each other left and right. We knew which areas to exploit and today was one of the best times we did that.”
With multiple injuries, Ohio State relied heavily on its bench, particularly its young players. Freshmen defenders Aliyah El-Naggar and Kitty Jones-Black; forward Emma Sears and midfielder Brittany Duncan combined for 298 minutes.
“Every game, there’s a lot that you learn,” Walker-Hock said. “This team is continually having to figure out that it takes more than what we’re doing right now –– from each individual –– they’ve gotta reach inside themselves and find just a little bit more.”
Ohio State continues to look for a win as they take on the Fighting Illini of Illinois for its final home game of the regular season Sunday at 2 p.m.