Columbus bound for matchup against powerhouse Ohio St

By Robert Janish

Senior Sports Writer

The Griffs are heading out to Columbus, Ohio to face the nationally-ranked Buckeyes of Ohio State University. Currently sitting at 6-1, the Buckeyes could perhaps be their greatest challenge yet, adding into consideration the road atmosphere a game such as that would bring.

However, before they could go to Ohio, they first had some business to tend to here at home against the sixth ranked Louisville Cardinals. While they put on quite a valiant effort in the second half, the 12-3 score put up in the first half by the Cardinals was too much to overcome. Senior Taylor Giglio led the Griffs with three goals, while Sophomore Rebecca VanLaeken earned 13 saves in the loss. The final score was 7-15 in favor of the Cardinals

The main focus for the Griffs now is Columbus and facing the powerhouse Buckeyes. They are looking to avenge the 21-14 loss that the Buckeyes handed the Griffs at home last year.

Head coach Scott Teeter said that Ohio State is a top team, yet “little bit different team than they have been in the past,” citing the youth factor they have, “but they’re still talented, I think they’re ranked 17th or 18th in the nation that we have to bring it.”

“We played them well, we played them tough, we were still on the losing end of that last season, but we know we can compete with them, and that will be the main message,” Teeter said. He plans to also address the past matchups where they upset the Buckeyes and use it as motivation this time around.

Teeter stressed the important difference between this year’s Ohio State team and those of the past, stating “last year, they were senior loaded, they’ll have other players that are stepping up for them this year, and they’re sort of an up-and-down team this year.”

Sophomore Erica Evans said the team will focus on Ohio State through video, scouting, and through practice as well, in order to “go through the flow of what our game plan is for when we go play Ohio State.” Evans added “they’re a very good team and it’s going to be a tough drive there and play them.”

“I think we worry about ourselves in a game like that,” Teeter added. “We have to bring it for a whole 60 minutes, we have to do the dirty work and then it comes down to valuing the ball and execution.”

Teeter went on to speak about the depth Ohio State has on their team.”They’re very deep in terms of bodies on their roster, so you got to neutralize their main threats and we need to attack their secondary players.” He adds the team must play a complete game in order to be successful against a team nationally-ranked like Ohio State

“He just pushes us every practice, every game; he wants us to be the best and get better,” Evans added about coach Teeter and his methods to improve the team. She says Teeter wants the team to enjoy playing the game, but to also not lose focus and be aggressive.

Freshman attacker Tessa Chad, however added that, while it may be known how good teams like Louisville and Ohio State are, “no one really knows how real of a team we are, so I think these two next games will put us more in the spotlight, and people will be more aware of how great we are.”

“I think we’ll take the mistakes that we made and try to correct them,” said Chad. “I think we have a lot of talent to capitalize on those mistakes and hopefully, we’ll come out with a win.”

“The first few games are kind of like build-up games,” said Evans. She adds those are good preparation games so the team can be ready against teams like Ohio State or Louisville.

“I think playing teams like Ohio State and Louisville, they get us very prepared for our MAAC play,” Evans said. “Because they’re very strong teams and we can find our weaknesses during those games, pinpoint them and get them prepared for when we do play MAAC play.”

“My goal for myself is to be aggressive, want the ball, get my other teammates wide open so they can have the opportunity to drive and score,” Evans said. Another goal of hers is to get more assists rather than be focused on scoring.

“When we get into MAAC games we’re ready,” Teeter said about the importance of a challenging non-conference schedule for this team. “We’re ready that the games, we can react a lot quicker, we did this in previous years and had a lot of success with it and it’s going to continue.”

Teeter also uses these matchups against nationally-ranked powerhouses as measuring sticks for recruiting players for his team, but also wishes “that we upset a ranked team, and once you upset a ranked team once, you’re on the map and then it happens more frequently.”

“I feel that if we can do well against Ohio State, play like I know we can play, I think it just proves that we are a strong team and the other teams in the MAAC should just be aware of us,” said Evans.

“We’ve been playing a lot of high-ranked teams before we got into conference, so I think those will prepare us,” Chad said. She also says their speed and skill will help them in conference play and believes the tough non-conference gives them an advantage in the Metro Atlantic Athletic conference as well.

“I think these will really set the tone for the rest of the season,” Chad said about the impact of these games going forward. “These next games will really make a statement for us and will show us where we are as a team heading into the middle of the season.”

“Anytime you got a marquee program like OSU and you get them on your schedule, that’s opportunity, and you don’t want to let an opportunity slip away” Teeter said. “Some of our nonconference schedule that’s remaining, you got OSU, then we go into a tough Columbia team right after that has been beating good teams and they’re finding a way to win.”

Other programs such as the Bonnies of St. Bonaventure “that definitely will prepare us in a different way” and another national powerhouse in the Syracuse Orange “coming in right around as well too, which, for me, is interesting playing these nationally ranked teams later in the year, not opening up against them, like we did in previous years,” Teeter said.

This weekend, the Griffs look to pull off a major upset in Columbus before heading to New York and play the Columbia Lions before beginning MAAC play next Friday at home against the Fairfield Stags.

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