Around The Oval

By Jeremy Birmingham on October 4, 2011 at 5:11 pm

Ohio State operates the NCAA's second-largest athletic department. Eleven Warriors is committed to keeping you informed of what's happening with those sports that make Ohio State athletics more than just football and basketball. Around the Oval will be your weekly update on these teams.

My goodness it's good to be back here after a little time off.

My wife had to  arrange an express delivery of our secondary laptop from Phoenix to me here in LA, but fortunately everything went as expected, and I am officially off my technologically-imposed hiatus. I can not say thank you enough to Luke and Jason who picked my slack last week. (Feel free to dock my pay, guys) I would also like to announce that if you own an HP Pavilion (one of the ones with the fan undernear the laptop housing) that I feel for you, since you either already experienced what I went through last week (or you will soon, trust me).

Any how, as we prepare for normalcy around here, it's important to note

that none of the players I am about to write about have ever been suspended for receiving improper benefts from a booster. Apparently the fellas with the deep pockets aren't quite as interested in the fiscal well-being of the kids they are less likely to get something in return from if they become professional athletes.

Fields good, man

The Ohio State field hockey team started the season ranked sixth in the nation and with hopes as high as Mario Manningham, but as the season got underway, reality hit the Buckeyes harder than Marlon Jackson with a .40 of O.E; and the Buckeyes quickly fell out of the top 25. At 2-5, the Buckeyes looked a bit lost. It appears, at least for now, that they have found themselves again.

After winning four straight, including a 2-1 win over an 11th-ranked Michigan team, followed up by a 5-0 thrashing of David Lettermen U, the Buckeyes, now ranked 20th, faced #13 Indiana in a huge Big Ten match-up. Ohio State jumped out to a quick lead, as Danica Deckard scored just under 10 minutes into the game, three minutes later she was joined in the scoring column by Paula Pastor-Pitarque, and the home team would take that 2-0 lead into the half.

The Hoosiers didn't lay down, however, and came out hot in the second half; tightening the game on a Morgan Fleetwood goal in 15 minutes. Ohio State's Jenn Sciuli struck back almost immediately, scoring 42 seconds later to put the Buckeyes back up two. Indiana continued to pressure Ohio State's Ally Tunitis, notching their second goal with less than three minutes remaining in the game, but Tunitis and the Buckeyes held on to win, 3-2.

"I thought we played a strong first half that really set the tempo of the game," head coach Anne Wilkinson said. "Indiana is a great team that is very structured. They put the pressure on us at the end and I thought Ally Tunitis made some key saves for us. This is a great win for the Buckeyes."

Ohio State hosted #19 Louisville today at 3pm.  Results from that contest will be forthcoming.

the puck starts here

After a long off-season, the Ohio State men's hockey team begins their season this upcoming weekend, welcoming Quinnipiac to Ohio for a pair for games Friday and Saturday.  Ohio State is coming off a 15-18 season a year ago, good for ninth in the CCHA. As this season begins, head coach Mark Osiecki will look to his veterans to lead a  squad that welcomes 13 newcomers. Fifteen returning lettermen, including goalie Cal Heeter, will provide the Bucks some experience to go with the influx of youth.

Ohio State names  icer captains for 2011-2012

Ohio State seniors Sean Duddy and Cory Schneider will wear the "captain's C" this year for the Buckeyes.  Duddy, an Ann Arbor native, becomes the 12th Ohio State player to serve as a captain for multiple years. The defensivemen was an academic All-Big Ten selection the past two seasons.  Schneider was the voted the most-improved player by his teammates a year ago, and looks to continue his upward trajectory. He too has been an academic All-Big Ten choice the last two seasons for the Buckeyes.

Danny Dries, a senior from Lake Orion, Michigan is the leading returning scorer for the Buckeyes. Last year, Dries played in 36 of 37 games for the Buckeyes, and notched 15 goals to go along with 12 assists, putting him as the third-leading scorer on the squad. His 15 goals were good for second on the team behind the departing Sergio Somma.

Ohio State played its lone exhibition slate this past weekend against Windsor, and escaped with a 6-5 win after leading 5-1. Osiecki saw some positives, but couldn't help but be frustrated with penalties, something comes with inexperience.

"We'll take some things away," second-year head coach Mark Osiecki said. "We did a lot of good things tonight. We still have to work on chemistry. We have some, but we have a long way to go, and you'll have that with 13 new guys...."We have to cut down on the penalties...We were not very disciplined tonight and it showed. There are a lot of things we can work on eliminating."

This Buckeyes split last seasons against this weekend's opponent, Quinnipiac, losing 2-1 in the season opener before knocking off the Bobcats 4-0 the following night. 

win some, lose some

Inconsistency seems to be the only thing consistent with Ohio State sports these days, and the women's volleyball team has certainly not been an exception to that rule.

Hole gets up there

After starting the season with six wins, the Buckeyes lost three in a row, then dialed up seven straight dominating wins, then suffered a loss at #10 Nebraska. Following that loss, the Nebraska, the 24th-ranked Buckeyes came back home to host Minnesota, who was now ranked #10 in the country.  This time, the Buckeyes would not let the moment pass them by, dispatching of Goldy in a very tightly contested match, in straight sets, 3-0 (25-23, 25-20, 28-26). As has become routine, the Buckeyes were led by Mari Hole and Emily Danks, with 17 and 10.5 match points, respectively. Minnesota was right there with Ohio State the entire way, but the Buckeyes were able to make the big plays when need, and Hole was more often than not the hero for the scarlet and gray.

So, after the big win against Minnesota, the Buckeyes should have no problem with unranked Wisconsin Sunday in Columbus, right?

Wrong.  In a weekend full of Buckeye sports frustrations, the girls played as if they had spent a bit too much time on High Street lamenting Saturday's football disaster, and lost a four set match to Wisconsin, 3-1 (25-16, 25-20, 21-25, 25-10).  Ohio State strugged mightily the entire match, save for Hole and Danks again, committing 24 errors en route to the loss. 

Ohio State, now 12-5, look to get their grooves back this weekend, as the Land 'o Lincoln travels to the Heart of it All; first with with Illinois Friday, followed by Northwestern Saturday. 

soccer remains inconsistent, too

Two more Buckeye athletic programs are also plagued with the dreaded bug of inconsistent play; the soccer teams.

Akron zips by the Buckeyes

The Buckeye men played two last week, facing #4 Akron in a Wednesday night, AK-Ron showdown.  Nearly 6,000 people watched as Akron jumped out an early lead, scoring in the 20th minutes of the first half against Buckeye goalkeeper Matt Lampson.  Lampson stood tall for the Buckeyes, saving three shots in a first-half that saw Akron get eight shots to the Buckeyes two, but the Zips continued pressure and finally lit the lamp again to go up 2-0 in the 68th minute.

Ohio  State, who have come from behind multiple times to win games this year, finally got in the board as Sebastian Rivas scored five minutes later to cut the lead in half, but it was all they could muster, and Akron added a finishing move in the 81st minute, ending the Buckeyes hope of a comeback, and the game, 3-1

While the loss to Akron was a good measuring stick for the program, Sunday's game against Big Ten foe Michigan State was actually revelant to the Buckeyes Big Ten title hopes. The Buckeyes, winless on the road this season (0-2), looked to improve to 2-0 in conference play, while Sparty looked to hold serve at home.  In a furious first 15 minutes of the game, the Buckeyes and Spartans traded goals, culminating in a 2-1 Ohio State lead with only 14:43 off the clock.

In a back-and-forth game, those quick three goals would stand the test of time, as Buckeye goalie Matt Lamspon made five second half saves to secure the victory, 2-1. Chris Gomez started off the scoring for the Bucks, and Chris Hegngi ended it with his team-leading sixth goal, six minutes later.

"Every Big Ten game is a battle, especially on the road," John Bluem, who coached in his 300th game as head coach of the Buckeyes, said. "To come up with a win on the road and go up 2-0 in the conference is critical. I thought Michigan State played well in the second half and we are fortunate to come away with the win. The next two Big Ten games are at home, so let's hope we can keep the momentum going."

The Buckeye ladies soccer team also split last week, falling on the road to the Penn State Nittany Lions, 3-1 and knocking-off the league-leading Wisconsin Badgers, 1-0 in Madison.

Wisconsin had one 9 straight games at home, but Tiffany Cameron's goal in the 48th minute was all the Buckeyes would need, as Katie Baumgardner made three saves to blank Bucky.

buckeye bits

The #25 mens cross-country team and their female counterparts traveled to South Bend for the Notre Dame Invitational, where they placed 12th and 13th, respectively in rainy conditions...

The men's golf team only got in one round in Toledo at the Inverness Intercollegiate because of inclement weather, finishing in 11th place...

The lady duffers are currently in third place after the first two rounds of the Windy City Invitational, trailing second-place Arizona by a stroke heading into today's final round...

Men's tennis players Connor Smith and Nelson Vick advance to the to the second day of qualifying at the 2011 D’Novo/ITA All-American Championships for the six-time defending Big Ten Champion Buckeyes...


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