Oct. 17, 2004
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s soccer team took over first place in the Big Ten Sunday with a 3-0 shutout at No. 20 Penn State in University Park, Pa. Senior captain Justin Cook scored all three Buckeye goals, including two in the final minute, to collect his first career hat trick, while Ohio State head coach John Bluem collected his school-record 73rd win in the process.
Ohio State (6-4-2, 3-0-0 Big Ten) moves into sole possession of first place in the Big Ten thanks to Northwestern’s 1-0 win at Indiana, marking the Hoosier’s first Big Ten regular season loss since 1995.
“It’s a very big win,” Bluem said. “Our defending was super all day long. We still have three very difficult games ahead of us, but it’s nice to have put together some good results through the first half of the conference season. That will help with our confidence to know that we’re competitive and have a great chance at doing well in the Big Ten.”
The win for Bluem moves him past Al Bianco (1979-86) and Gary Avedikian (1987-96), who both had 72 wins during their tenures.
“We have had some great players at Ohio State and it’s an honor to hold that record at such a great institution,” Bluem said. “I have had the good fortune to work in a fully funded program and with great facilities. Ohio State has great tradition in soccer and has had some great coaches and to be at the top of that list is quite an honor.”
In the 60th minute, sophomore Jim Fisher (Worthington, Ohio/Thomas Worthington) sent a perfect free kick from near midfield all the way into the 6-yard box, where Cook (Winter Springs, Fla./Oviedo) headed it into the net put Ohio State up, 1-0. The assist was Fisher’s first of the season and came off of one of Penn State’s 29 fouls in the contest, the most of any OSU opponent this season. The Buckeyes were whistled for just 14 fouls. Then with time winding down and Penn State pushing forward in an attempt to tie the score, Cook came through with two goals in the final minute within 37 seconds of each other. He took a long pass and got behind the Nittany Lion defense in the middle of the field and beat PSU freshman goalkeeper Conrad Taylor at the 89:00 mark. Then just 37 seconds later he beat Taylor again as Cook collected the ball and, spotting Taylor out of position, chipped the ball over Taylor’s head for a goal from 35 yards out. Assists were not yet available on Cooks’ second and third goals.
Cook’s three goals marked his first career hat trick and give him 29 goals for his career, which moves him into third place in the OSU record books.
Junior goalkeeper Ray Burse Jr. (Prospect, Ky./St. Xavier) collected two saves in the contest to notch his fourth-consecutive shutout. The Ohio State defense has not given up a goal in the month of October and held Penn State to just seven total shots after the Nittany Lions had come off a stretch of three games in which they had scored nine goals, including a 4-1 win at Maryland Thursday.
Penn State had not suffered a three-goal loss at Jeffrey Field in 14 years, when Campbell beat the Nittany Lions 4-1 on Sept. 7, 1990.
Ohio State was ranked No. 10 in the Great Lakes regional poll last Tuesday, while Penn State was ranked No. 20 in the nation and No. 2 in the Middle Atlantic regional poll. The Nittany Lions had been ranked as high as No. 3 in the nation earlier this year. New polls will be released Tuesday.
Ohio State will return to action at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Oakland.
### GO BUCKS! ###