The No. 23 The Buckeyes field hockey team is back on the road this weekend to play two top-25 conference opponents, looking to bounce back from three straight losses.
Ohio State (3-3, 0-1 Big Ten) heads to Piscataway, New Jersey, to face off against No. 19 Rutgers (5-3, 1-0 Big Ten) Friday. Then, the Buckeyes stopped in State College, Pennsylvania, to take on No. 6 Penn State (6-1, 1-0 Big Ten) Sunday.
The Buckeyes lost to Maryland Sept.16 and Wake Forest Sunday, but senior back Delaney Lawler said the Buckeyes are encouraged by their performance against previous top-25 teams.
“We truly showed ourselves that we can compete with anybody,” Lawler said. “Two losses over the weekend are not the results we wanted, but come time when the results really, really will matter, we can play with anybody.”
The Scarlet Knights are coming off a 3-2 overtime win over Big Ten opponent Michigan State Friday and a 5-4 win against Delaware Sunday.
Rutgers redshirt sophomore goaltender Sophia Howard has 4.13 saves per game this season, which is third in the Big Ten. Buckeyes junior goaltender Abby Danson is ranked first in the Big Ten with 4.5 saves per game.
Rutgers’ top scorer is graduate midfielder Marique Dieudonne, with seven points, three goals and one assist on the season.
Head coach Jarred Martin said he realizes the importance of the games coming up this weekend.
“It’s early in Big Ten play,” Martin said. “These are key games coming up that I think are going to help kind of steer this season one way or another. I want to make sure that we’re leaving that field knowing we’ve prepared, we’re ready to go and we can execute against any of those opponents.”
The Nittany Lions are on a five-game winning streak and will play Michigan State Friday before hosting the Buckeyes Sunday.
Junior forward Sophia Gladieux is leading the Nittany Lions in their hot start with 19 points coming from eight goals and three assists. She ranks second in the Big Ten in goals scored this season.
Lawler said the Buckeyes are ready to prove themselves this weekend against two great teams.
“Maybe they’re kind of taking us a little bit lightly after the scores that we’ve put up,” Lawler said. “So just coming in knowing that we’re going to play hard, and we get into someone else’s home and kind of be the bad guy.”
The Buckeyes’ game against Rutgers will be Friday at 3 pm, and Ohio State will take on Penn State Sunday at noon. Both games will be available to watch on BTN+.