Junior midfielder Peyton McNamara scored twice in the first half on Sunday, helping the No. 22 Buckeyes to a 2-1 win over Kent State on senior night.
McNamara scored a pair of goals for the second time in four games as Ohio State (5-1-1) held off the Golden Flashes (0-5-2) for its second win in three games.
“I just knew we had to put them away early, get some in early, so I just did my best to get as close to the goal as possible,” McNamara said. “My teammates all helped me get there, so I couldn’t have done it without them.”
McNamara opened the scoring with an unassisted goal in the ninth minute. She ran into the penalty area and kicked the ball down the middle for the score.
The Norwalk, Connecticut native found the back of the net in the 17th minute as McNamara blasted her way past Kent State senior goaltender Sarah Melén and netted her second goal of the first half.
McNamara played five games last season before an ankle injury cut short her campaign, but head coach Lori Walker-Hock says the third-year midfielder has made good progress on her return until now this year.
“She’s worked really hard to get back to a place where she’s able to contribute a lot of minutes for us,” Walker-Hock said. “I think she’s really finding her form.”
Ohio State had 12 shots, including four on goal. Senior striker Emma Sears recorded a record five shots in 88 minutes of play.
The Buckeyes limited the Golden Flashes to two shots in the second half, allowing six overall and four on goal.
Kent State capitalized in the 20th minute, as sophomore defender Tori Copfer scored her first goal of the season after receiving an assist from sophomore midfielder Alisa Arthur. It was the Golden Flashes’ second goal of the season and first since their season opener on August 18.
Ohio State completed its seven-game non-conference slate, going 4-0 on the road and then holding No. 18 Texas A&M to a scoreless tie on Sept. 4.
The Buckeyes picked up back-to-back wins after beating Brown 3-2 on Thursday, which saw them score three goals in the first half and register 17 shots.
“Something we’re working on is just building relationships on all sides of the pitch with defenders, midfielders or forwards,” Sears said. “We have a system of play that we try to stick to in conference games so we can tear teams up both on offense and defense.”
Protect the network
Graduate goaltender Kat Robinson played all 90 minutes against Kent State for the first time this season. Robinson and first-year goaltender Molly Pritchard have split the duties evenly in the six games so far.
Robinson saved two shots against the Golden Flashes, including one in the 86th minute in which Kent State freshman midfielder Taylor English kicked the ball down the right side of the net.
“Really, it’s only in the final seconds that we have to dig in,” Robinson said. “It’s a team effort, and my team was putting themselves on the line, so it was my turn to do the same.”
Seniors Day Celebrations
Ohio State recognized eight Buckeyes before the game as the program hosted a senior day in the final non-conference game of the season.
Forwards Kayla Fischer, Sears and Emaly Vatne along with defenders Talani Barnett, Kitty Jones-Black, Olivia Sensky, midfielder Maddy Lowe and Robinson took part in the pre-match ceremony.
“Before we played in the conference, we wanted to get a win,” Sears said. “There was no better night to do it than senior night, so it meant a lot to all of us as seniors.”
The Buckeyes will then start Big Ten play on September 18 when they travel to Rutgers.