Oct. 28, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s soccer team battled back from a two-goal deficit in the second half to force overtime and come away with a 4-4 draw Sunday afternoon at Jeffrey Field in University Park, Pa. The Buckeyes’ record moves to 6-9-2 overall and 0-4-1 in the Big Ten, while the Nittany Lions are now 9-4-3 on the season and 3-1-2 in conference play.
Kenny Cunningham, Chris Hegngi and Louie Berra accounted for the Buckeye scores, while Brady Wahl added a pair of assists in the first half. The four goals tie Ohio State’s season high and the eight combined tallies stand as a single-match high in any game with a Big Ten team this season.
“We are happy with the guys and the way they were able to come from behind twice today,” John Bluem, Ohio State head coach, said. “They never gave up, which is what we are looking for from them right now as we try to get everything we can get out of this season.”
The Buckeyes, who trailed by two in the second half, took their match into overtime for the fourth time this season and out-shot the Nittany Lions 4-1 in extra time. No opportunity was closer than Joshua Breto’s header late in the first bonus session though as the senior forward sent the attempt inches wide left. Goalkeeper Alex Wimmer stopped the only PSU shot in overtime, a blast by Hasani Sinclair from close range in the 109th minute.
The first four goals came within the opening 30 minutes of action, as Penn State struck first at the start of the 10th minute, but Ohio State fired back with two goals to take the lead by the 24:09 mark. Cunningham had the initial equalizer, connecting on an assist by Wahl from seven yards out for his third of the year and Hegngi had the go-ahead score just over 10 minutes later. Wahl had the assist on that one as well, feeding Hegngi from the right side of the penalty area for the Hermann Trophy candidate to stuff in to the middle of the goal.
The Nittany Lions leveled the score at 2-all at the close of the 29th minute with a Marvin Ledgister tally, closing scoring in the period for both sides. Momentum continued in favor of PSU in the second half, however, as the Lions built a 4-2 lead by midway through the stanza. Julian Cardona took Alex Wimmer on 1v1 and was able to beat the OSU goalkeeper and send his team-leading sixth goal into the open net in the 65th minute. Less than six minutes later, it became a two-goal game off a header by Daniel Parr after movement in the box following a PSU corner.
“Penn State killed us on restarts today,” Bluem said after the match. “Three of their four goals came off corners and after the last one, we decided to make some changes and get some fresh legs in there.”
Minutes after making a flurry of substitutions, the Buckeye comeback began. Berra entered the game in the 80th minute and less than two minutes later found the right corner of the goal from 23 yards out for his third of the season. Six minutes later, it became a tied game for the second time as a PSU defender misplayed the ball following an Alex Bujenovic throw-in into the six-yard box.
The Buckeyes produced a trio of opportunities in the final minute of regulation, with Breto and Cunningham each having point-blank shots stopped by the keeper and a third chance thwarted with a delayed offsides call with 17 seconds left to play.
Penn State finished with an 18-14 advantage in shots, though Ohio State was on top 4-1 in OT, and had a 6-5 edge in corners. Both goalkeepers came up with five saves, while also matching season highs for goals allowed with four.
The Buckeyes conclude the regular season at 1 p.m. next Sunday against Wisconsin in Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The game will be Senior Day for the team’s four-year players and also will feature a giveaway of Ohio State seat cushions to the first 200 fans. The Badgers are 6-7-4 overall and 1-3-1 in the Big Ten after tying Northwestern Sunday afternoon in Madison, Wis.