Ohio State field hockey trying to keep momentum at home against Ball

Sophomore midfielder Morgan Kile (8) battles for the ball in a game against Saint Louis on Aug. 28 at Buckeye Varsity Field. OSU won 5-0. Credit: Kevin Stankiewicz / Asst. Sports EditorOhio State field hockey is set to take on Ball State after coming off a packed yet successful weekend, playing two games in less than 24 hours. The Buckeyes and the Cardinals are set to compete Friday at the Buckeye Varsity Field at 3:30 p.m.With its 3-2 overtime loss Friday against No. 11 Wake Forest and 5-0 victory against Missouri State this weekend, OSU (2-2) has been gaining momentum this week, both on and off the field. Sophomore forward/midfielder Maddy Humphrey has been off to a fast start offensively, leading the team with nine goals, including finding the back of the net in each of the Scarlet and Gray’s four games.Coach Anne Wilkinson, who captured her 302nd career win last Saturday against Missouri State, says she enjoys seeing the team work as a unit in order to promote individual successes.“(Humphrey) is just is a great finisher, she loves to score … and I’m excited when she scores a goal too,” said WIlkinson. “You can just see the whole team really finding each other well on the field and doing a good job setting each other up.”Another standout player from last weekend was sophomore midfielder Morgan Kile, who registered three assists, resulting in her first three points on the season. Kile says she looks to keep up the positive energy from last weekend when squaring off against Ball State.“We need to go into this game keeping our momentum from playing successfully thus far,” Kile said. “I think a team like Ball State is going to come in hard against us … but (in practice) we make each other better every day. There’s an uphill incline happening in our skills and our games together.”Sophomore goalie Liz Tamburro goes into Friday’s game humble, holding a new accolade after being named Big Ten’s defensive player of the week on Tuesday. The Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, native  — who ranks 19th on OSU’s all-time list for career saves with 137 — credits her team’s support for why she is able to have such success.“I feel really honored by it,” Tamburro said. “It’s all due to (the help) of my teammates.”Friday’s game against Ball State is set to be the first meeting between the two teams since last year when the Cardinals knocked off the Buckeyes in overtime, 4-3. Ball State has struggled thus far as it heads to Columbus winless in five attempts. The team’s leading scorer, junior forward/midfielder Lexi Kavanaugh, returns to the field with four points, scoring one goal to go along with dishing out two assists.Wilkinson is looking for OSU to continue passing the ball well to make it hard for the Cardinals and other teams to press them.“We need to see some discipline within our system,” Wilkinson said. “To perform the basic skills with pressure and speed and not getting caught up in making a mistake and going rogue … we need to continue to play together.”Defense holding strongAlong with Tamburro’s defensive accomplishments thus far, senior back Emma Royce alongside a pair of freshmen — back Hannah Pany and midfield/back Courtney Daniels — as well as redshirt sophomore midfield/back Carolina Vergroesen — are successfully safeguarding the field. Thus far, opponents are averaging only 1.5 goals and 9.2 shots per game.OSU stands tall in Big Ten statsThe Buckeyes are faring well amongst their Big Ten foes so far in 2015, and the numbers are there to prove it.Humphrey is tops in the conference for shots per game, with 5.25. She is tied for the lead in both goals (four) and goals per game (one). She also ranks second in points, with nine.Kile holds a share of the conference lead in assists, with three.After the CardinalsFollowing the Buckeyes’ game Friday, the team has a week off before traveling to East Lansing, Michigan, to kick off Big Ten play against Michigan State. The game is set to begin at 3 p.m.

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