One-hundred ten minutes of play couldn’t produce a goal on Senior Day for the Buckeyes or the Fighting Illini Sunday.
In its last regular season home game, the Ohio State women’s soccer team (4-8-4, 2-4-3) fought to a scoreless tie in a double-overtime match against Illinois (8-7-1, 2-6-1) at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
Both teams are still vying for playoff contention, as the Buckeyes are currently ranked No. 10 in the Big Ten Conference and Illinois is No. 12. Only the top eight teams move forward into the conference playoffs.
“You’ve got to find a way to score one goal and not give one up, and it needs to stay that simple,” head coach Lori Walker-Hock said. “We managed to get a point out of it. We managed to get a shutout out of it, and I’m really proud of them for the effort that they continue to put forward. The soccer gods are keeping us alive right now. We’re not dead yet.”
Ohio State’s best scoring opportunities came from a goal kick by junior defender Izzy Rodriguez that was barely saved by Illinois senior goalkeeper Jaelyn Cunnigham and a missed header by junior midfielder Olivia Petit in the first overtime period.
Freshman forward Emma Sears also had a great chance to score in the second overtime period, but Cunningham dove for the save.
The offense was once again without its leading scorer, sophomore forward Kayla Fischer, due to a head injury. Sears and redshirt junior forward Meghan Kammerdeiner tallied 115 minutes combined to account for Fischer’s usual 90.
“We love playing against a 3-5-2 like they played, and I think getting in those wide channels and utilizing what we have out wide was our game plan,” Rodriguez said. “We created a lot of chances, and we got into the places we needed to be in. We were just missing the final pieces.”
The Buckeye backfield, led by seniors Haley Walker-Robinson and Marike Mousset, pressured the Illinois attackers. They allowed only five shots on goal, right around the Fighting Illini’s season average of 4.9 despite the extra 20 minutes of play.
Ohio State junior goalkeeper Bailey Kolinski and redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Jordan Silkowitz shined — Kolinski tipped a ball to barely keep it out of the goal early in the game, while Silkowitz made multiple crucial stops, especially in overtime, to keep Ohio State alive. They combined for three total saves on goal.
“I think our team’s working hard out there for us trying to get goals, so we’re doing our job in the box to keep us in the game,” Silkowitz said. “We knew that Illinois had a strong front three coming in, so we were trying to shut them down and get our team on the attack.”
Though scoreless, the game was not without excitement — Sears and Illinois redshirt freshman defender Kendra Pasquale got into a scuffle that resulted in yellow cards on both sides. A few minutes later, Mousset was also yellow carded after decking an Illinois forward.
“I’m really proud of our team. Overtime on a Sunday is one of the hardest things physically and mentally to endure,” Walker-Hock said. “Scoring goals is a hard part of this game. We have worked on our movements and how we want to attack, but we need somebody who can finish the ball.”
The Buckeyes will make one final effort to qualify for playoffs on a road trip to Iowa at 2 p.m. Oct. 27 and Wisconsin at 4 p.m. Oct. 30.