Around The Oval

By Jeremy Birmingham on November 15, 2011 at 5:00 pm
Buckeyes don't shake hands, Buckeye gotta hug!

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.

Welcome back, Buckeye fans. After another disappointing loss by the football team this weekend, it's great to be able to take a look at some of the school's other programs, and this past week saw a lot of positives for the university as a whole.

Let's get started on the ice, where the Buckeye hockey team, off to their best start in a nearly a decade, took on the 14th ranked Wildcats of Northern Michigan for a two game set.

buckeye ICERS LOOK to extend unbeaten streak to seven

Last season, on their way to a 15-18-4 record, Ohio State dropped two one goal decisions to Northern Michigan in late October. In fact, 9 of the Buckeyes 18 losses were by that same narrow margin. This year, things have been a bit different for the Buckeye hockey club.

As they prepared to face the Wildcats last Friday afternoon, Ohio State did so riding a five game unbeaten streak, and with that an increased level of confidence in their young, but talented roster. Conventional wisdom dictated that Northern would be a stern test for the Buckeyes.

Northern Michigan vs. Ohio State With all the momentum they had, you might imagine that Ohio State would come out guns blazin', but that was not how this contest would begin. The Buckeyes struggled to find any sort of offensive push in an opening period that saw them muster only five shots against NMU's Reid Ellingson, and although the defense only allowed six shots on Cal Heeter; Ohio State found themselves heading into the second period trailing 1-0. Northern's Stephan Vigler lit the lamp with four minutes left in the opening period, and it was regroup time in Columbus.

After 44 shots on goal in their previous game, it seemed likely that the Buckeyes would find a way to get the offense cranking, and the second period provided them that opportunity. It didn't take long for the increased offensive pressure to pay off, as Danny Dries found Alex Szczechura who scored his third goal of the year, beating Ellingson with a wrap-around to knot the score at 1-1. Ohio State would stay active, but could not get the go-ahead goal, despite outshooting the Wildcats 12-3 in the second period.

The third period saw the Buckeyes turn up the pressure even more, this time peppering the net, forcing the tempo and finally breaking through on a Chris Crane power-play goal at 11:03. Six and a half minutes later, Corey Schneider would add some insurance for the Buckeyes with second goal of the season. Two minutes later, Schneider would make it 4-1 Buckeyes, scoring on an empty net, and that was all she wrote. Game one saw the Buckeyes outshoot Northern Michigan 38-13 on their way to a 4-1 victory, their 4th straight win.

In Saturday's series finale, the Buckeyes picked up right where they left off Friday afternoon, controlling the pace right out of the gate, outshooting the Wildcats 14-6 in the opening period. Danny Dries scored his team-leading 8th goal of the season at the mid-way point of the first, and the Buckeyes were on their way to a 5th straight victory. In the second period, Nick Oddo extended the Buckeye advantage to two goals, and that would be enough for Ohio State and Heeter.

Two more Buckeyes added their names to the  "Goals" column on the season stat-sheet in the final period, as Curtis Gedig and Alex Lippincott rounded out the scoring. Once again, the Buckeyes knocked off Northern Michigan, 4-1, and in doing so, impressed their opponents head coach, Walt Kyle.

"Ohio State is a good hockey team. I don't know if people know how good they are. They were owning the game."

The Buckeyes hot play has gotten them some national attention, as they have entered the national rankings for the first time this season, debuting at #14 in the polls. Now mired in a three way tie for first place in the CCHA and riding a 7 game unbeaten streak, the Buckeyes will travel to Ann Arbor this weekend for an important two game series against the rival Wolverines this Friday and Saturday.

If you can't get enough of the Puckeyes, check out this blog entry from Danny Dries, as he talks about the team, and perhaps most importantly, which players are winning the battle of Movember.

If you're considering being a part of Buckeye hockey history and want to see them take on Michigan at Cleveland's Progressive Field in January's Frozen Diamond Faceoff, tickets went on sale yesterday morning. You can purchase tickets here.


After a promising start to their season, the Ohio State ladies soccer team appeared to have played themselves into an early finish to their season. Struggling to score, and unable to break .500 in the conference, the Buckeyes hopes of a post-season berth seemed to have dimmed. A first round B1G tournament loss to Illinois lowered those odds even further.

The smiling eyes of the NCAA selection committee gave the Buckeys a chance despite their first round ouster in the Big Ten tournament, and the Ohio State women's soccer team was given an at-large invitation to the NCAA tournament, where they would travel to Knoxville to take on the 23rd ranked Tennessee Volunteers on their home field.

It was likely to be a short tournament run for the Buckeyes, who, at 3-6 in their previous nine games, had struggled to find an offensive identity; scoring only five goals in that stretch. Tennessee, who had outscored their opponents by a 2-1 margin this season, (42 goals for, 21 against) entered the tournament 7-3 in their last ten games and hoped to continue their hot play with a quick dispatching of a struggling opponent.

Someone forgot to give the Buckeyes the memo that they had no chance to win.

Ohio State upset the Volunteers in Knoxville on Saturday

The Buckeyes offense, dormant for much of the last two months, finally came out of hibernation with a flurry of offensive pressure that caught the normally aggressive Volunteers off-guard.

Led by junior Tiffany Cameron, who scored her 7th and 8th goals of the season, Ohio State toppled Tennessee 3-0 on Saturday afternoon in Knoxville to advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

It didn't take long for Ohio State to set the Vols to upset alert mode. Off a pass from Kendyl Reed, Cameron got the Buckeyes on the board with a 10 foot goal at 8:26 of the first half, and the Buckeyes stayed in command from that point forward. The Cameron goal would be the only score in a first half that saw the Buckeyes regularly challenging Tennessee goalkeeper Julie Eckel, who kept the game close with four saves in the first half. Tennessee was unable to put any regular pressure on Ohio State's defense, but when they did, OSU's Katie Baumgardner was steady in net, making two saves of her own in the first 45 minutes.

The last 45 minutes saw more pressure from Ohio State, and more inability to slow it down from Tennessee. Ohio State was only able to get three of their nine shots on net, but Kristen Neiderhaus and Cameron made sure they counted with two quick goals at 67:08 and 73:07, respectively. Neiderhaus' goal was her first of the year and it gave the Buckeyes an insurmountable two goal lead with 23 minutes remaining. Tennessee was unable to mount any serious threat the rest of the way as their season ended at the hands of the Buckeyes.

Ohio State wil get ready to face the 15th ranked University of Milwaukee in Durham, NC on Friday evening. The Panthers, 19-2 on the season, avenged one of their two losses by defeating Illinois State 3-0 Saturday.

Buckeye bits

The Buckeyes 13th ranked wrestling team continued their early season dominance, wiping the mat with their three opponents this weekend at the Second Annual Wrestle for a Cure Duals in Harrisburg, Pa. In a mere six hours, the Buckeyes grapplers dismantled Utah Valley (36-0), Old Dominion (30-3) and North Carolina (36-6). The Buckeyes lost only two matches on the afternoon and dominated their opponents in every weight class.

Ohio State's home schedule begins this upcoming weekend against Virginia Tech. Fans are encouraged to wear black for a "Black Out", and will have an opportunity to meet and greet the team following the meet in an autograph session.

The second seeded Buckeye men's soccer team fell in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament to seventh seed Penn State, 2-0 last Wednesday in Ann Arbor. The Buckeyes, who finished the season 10-7-2 waited all day Monday for an announcement regarding their invitation to the NCAA Tournament, but unfortunately found themselves on the outside looking in; their season is over. 

The Buckeyes did receive some good news at the Big Ten Tournament Banquet, however, as Chris Hegngi and David Tiemstra were to the All Big Ten first team, and they were named B1G Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, respectively. Hegngi is the first Buckeye to win the offensive POY award, and Tiemstra is the third straight Buckeye to win the defensive POY.  Matt Lampson, Parnell Hegngi and Austn McAnena were named to the All-Conference second team. Two Buckeye freshman, Brady Wahl and Kenny Cunningham, were named to the All-Freshman team. It would appear the future is bright for the Buckeye soccer club.

The Ohio State's women's volleyball team continues to struggle in conference play. They dropped two matches this weekend, first to Northwestern 3-2 (25-22, 21-25, 25-22, 25-27, 15-13), and then losing at #7 Illinois 3-1 (25-18, 24-26, 26-24, 25-17). The Buckeyes fall to 7-9 in the B1G, and will try to break their second three match losing streak of the year when they take on Purdue this weekend in Columbus. The Boilermakers are 5th in the nation at 24-3, and handed the Buckeyes a four set defeat on October 15th.

Go Bucks!

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