COLUMBUS, Ohio – Austin McAnena scored the game-winning goal in the 27th minute to propel the Ohio State men’s soccer team to a 1-0 win over Indiana at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in the regular-season finale for both squads. With the win, the Buckeyes improve to 10-5-2 overall, 4-2-0 in the Big Ten and an undefeated 7-0-1 on the Jesse field, marking the first clean slate at home since 1974.
The Hoosiers, already the 2010 Big Ten regular-season champion, take their first loss in conference play this season and drop to 9-6-2 overall, 4-1-1 in league play. This is just the seventh time in Indiana program history its team has lost to an opponent in three-consecutive meetings after the Buckeyes also swept the Hoosiers in Bloomington a year ago.
“I’m really happy,” head coach John Bluem said after the game. “It was a very important game for the seniors. I think the team pulled together for those three guys and the seniors have led us all year. It’s great to get a win for our seniors. It’s the first time in a long time we’ve been undefeated all season at home.”
The match will air at 7 p.m. tonight on the Big Ten Network with Chris Doran and Richard Broad calling the action.
The deciding factor in the Buckeyes’ 14th one-goal game of the year came late in the 27th minute Chris Hegngi played McAnena the ball just outside the right edge line of the goal box. The sophomore from Laguna Niguel, Calif., sent his shot towards the middle of the mouth, but a misdirection from an IU defender instead sent the ball into the upper right corner for a 1-0 OSU lead and McAnena’s first goal since Oct. 3 vs. Michigan State.
“[Chris Hegngi] saw me on the outside,” McAnena said of his goal. “I was just looking for a chance and got lucky to be honest. But we’ll take what we can get. We’ve been unfortunate in scoring goals this year so I guess in that case it was fortunate it went in.”
McAnena is now second on the team in scoring with 11 points off four goals and three assists, trailing senior co-captain Konrad Warzycha’s 14 points (7g). With the assist, Hegngi earns his fourth helper of the year to go with three goals of his own.
The one-goal lead remained intact by the play from Ohio State defense – David Tiemstra and Chris Gomez in the middle, with Dalton Summers and Sage Gardner on the flanks – who were stifling to say the least vs. the Hoosiers. Alec Purdie tallied IU’s first shot of the match midway through the 11th minute and the Hoosiers would not get off another for nearly 59 minutes of play until a late rally in the second half.
Behind the defense, Matt Lampson earned his Big Ten-leading ninth shutout of the year and inched closer to third place all-time in career clean sheets with 18 over the last two seasons. The sophomore from nearby Hilliard, Ohio, needs one to tie Dave Sheer (1985-88) for
Lampson was forced to make three saves in the contest, while his counterpart Luis Soffner had five. The Buckeyes finished the day with 14-9 margin in shots, including an 8-1 advantage in the first half, and a narrow 3-2 edge in corners.
The game Sunday was the final regular-season home game for Warzycha, Sam Scales and Matt Gold, who make up one of the most successful classes in Ohio State history. Over the last four years, the trio has earned 49 wins, tied for the second most of any four-year class, and are poised to become the first senior class to go to the NCAA Tournament all four years. The 2007 seniors lead the way with 51 wins after garnering 17 victories their final year en route to the national championship game.
Gold, Scales, Warzycha and the rest of the Buckeyes will look to add to their win total beginning Thursday at the Big Ten Tournament, hosted by Penn State in University Park, Pa., Nov. 11-14. The official seeds and bracket will be released by the conference tonight.
“I think we just need to keep playing with this intensity [in the Big Ten Tournament] because we were up for this game,” McAnena said. “Our seniors played out of their minds tonight. We need to keep playing physical and at that level and we can win.”