Nikki Walts scores twice in the win
Columbus, Ohio – Bert L. & Iris S. Wolstein Field at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium – Ohio State 6 (1-0-0), Illinois State 2 (0-1-0) – Attendance: 642
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s soccer team opened the 2015 season with a 6-2 victory over Illinois State Friday evening at Bert L. & Iris S. Wolstein Field at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The game marked the first time since a 6-1 victory over Northwestern on Oct. 20, 2013 that but Buckeyes found the back of the net six times.
“We were strong and saw improvement on a lot of the things we were working on in the preseason,” Lori Walker, Ohio State head coach, said. “On the critical side, we need to play faster. There were multiple times I saw us slow down tonight so we need to correct that.”
The Buckeyes wasted no time getting on the board, finding the back of the net twice in the first five minutes. Ohio State opened the scoring when Lindsay Agnew played a cross into the box from the left wing, Nichelle Prince flicked it on and Sammy Edwards beat Illinois State goalkeeper Vanessa Niestrom with a header from six yards for the 1-0 lead.
Just over a minute later, Michela Paradiso was taken down in the box and finished the penalty kick to extend the advantage to 2-0.
The Buckeyes then pushed the lead to 3-0 in the 19th minute when Illinois State was called for a handball and Nikki Walts finished the penalty kick.
After coming on as a substitute, Katelyn Kraft made it 4-0 in the 36th minute. Prince played a cross into the box that was centered by Bridget Skinner and the senior slotted it past the goalkeeper for her first-career goal.
Illinois State got one back less than a minute later when Ohio State goalkeeper Jillian McVicker was called for a yellow card and Hannah Rodgers scored on the Illinois State penalty kick to cut the lead to 4-1 heading into the half.
Through the first 45 minutes, Ohio State held an 8-3 lead in shots, including 6-1 on goal. Illinois State tallied the only corner kick of the half.
The Buckeyes almost made it 5-1 in the 59th minute when Paradiso played a cross in from the right wing but Edwards’ header from just outside the six-yard box sailed just high.
Six minutes later, Ohio State did extend its lead to 5-1 on a header by Morgan Wolcott. Walts played a short corner to Paradiso, who crossed it far post and the Buckeye defender headed it just below the crossbar from inside the six-yard box.
The Buckeyes almost notched their sixth goal of the game in the 76th minute when Nya Cason found Edwards in the middle of the box but the shot from the sophomore caromed off the crossbar and was cleared out of play.
Less than five minutes later, Walts controlled a pass from Arden Holden and fired a shot just inside the far post from 20 yards to make it 6-1.
Illinois State added another in the 87th minute on a goal by Keely Theobald but that’d be as close as the Redbirds would get as the Buckeyes opened the season with the victory.
For the game, Ohio State held a 14-7 advantage in shots, including 8-4 on goal. Six Buckeyes saw their first playing time in a regular season match.
Ohio State hosts No. 8 Florida at noon Sunday at Bert L. & Iris S. Wolstein Field at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.