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Sept. 8, 2004

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SETTING THE SCENE
The Ohio State men’s soccer team travels to south central New York this weekend for the Mayor’s Cup Tournament in Oneonta, N.Y. The Buckeyes (0-2-0) are aiming to get into the win column for the first time in the regular season after dropping a pair of hard-fought matches to two Top 10 teams last weekend as hosts of the Ohio State Classic.

In the Mayor’s Cup Tournament, Ohio State will face host Oneonta State at 5 p.m. Friday in the first-ever meeting between these two schools. In the finale Saturday at 7:30 p.m., the Buckeyes will face Hartwick, the alma mater of OSU head coach John Bluem, which handed the Buckeyes a 1-0 loss last season.

The trip to New York marks the first of two consecutive weekends Ohio State will be on the road for tournaments. The Buckeyes will face Akron and Virginia Tech Sept. 17-19 at the Penn State/Nike Classic in State College, Pa.

BUCKEYES FALL TWICE TO TOP 10 FOES
Ohio State battled a pair of Top 10 teams in the Ohio State Classic last weekend and despite suffering a pair of defeats took many positives out of the tournament. The Buckeyes dropped a 2-0 decision to No. 8 Wake Forest Friday night but had three more shots on goal than the Demon Deacons (8 to 5). Sunday afternoon Ohio State allowed just two shots on goal to No. 6 North Carolina, but the Tar Heels made both of them count to down the Buckeyes, 2-1. OSU sophomores Dustin Kirby and Taylor Korpieski were named to the all-tournament team.

OSU POSTS 2-0-1 MARK IN PRESEASON
Ohio State played to a 2-2 draw vs. No. 12 Rutgers Aug. 27 in the College Cup Preview Match in Crew Stadium. The match brought to a conclusion the Buckeyes’ preseason exhibition schedule, which saw OSU post a 2-0-1 record and out-score its opponents 9-3.

Ohio State out-shot those three opponents a combined 44-16 and had 19 shots on goal compared to eight for their counterparts. The Buckeyes opened exhibition play with a 5-1 win vs. Robert Morris Aug. 21 and had a 2-0 shutout vs. Pittsburgh Aug. 24.

ANOTHER TOUGH SCHEDULE FOR OSU
The Buckeyes’ schedule in 2004 looks to be even tougher than their 2003 schedule, which was ranked as the eighth-toughest in the nation at the end of the season. Ohio State’s 2004 opponents posted a .627 winning percentage last year with an overall record of 195-106-49. Seven of those teams were among the 48-member 2003 NCAA Tournament field.

The Buckeyes faced 14 teams last season that at some point appeared in at least one of the national polls and two foes, Maryland and Indiana, that advanced to the College Cup. In 2003, Ohio State’s opponents posted a 215-126-47 record.

NOTING THE BUCKEYES
Freshman Xavier Balc converted on a penalty kick in the 24th minute of the North Carolina match Sunday to account for Ohio State’s one goal so far in the regular season. In the preseason, Balc, sophomore Taylor Korpieski and newcomer Kyle Veris all tied for the team lead in scoring with six points each. Korpieski had one shot in the opening weekend of play, while Veris had three, all of which were on goal. Veris sat out last season after transferring from Akron, while Korpieski was the first OSU freshman to lead the team in scoring since Justin Cook did it in 2000.

Cook, with 21 career goals and 11 assists, returns in 2004 after missing last season because of injury. He took three shots in the preseason but was held without a goal, although his play helped set up the Buckeyes’ offensive attack. He collected a team-high four shots last weekend, three of which were on goal.

Freshman goalkeeper Casey Latchem played all 180 minutes in the first two regular season matches, totaling three saves. Defensively, sophomore Dustin Kirby also played all 180 minutes, while freshman Ben Oliver logged 163 minutes of field time. Junior Reid Traeger made his first career start Sunday vs. North Carolina and totaled 141 minutes over the weekend.

Freshman Eric Edwards has notched three shots, none of which officially counted as being on goal but two of which sailed just inches high of the cross bar. Freshman Ryan Kustos owns two shots on the season and was fouled in the 18-yard box Sunday vs. North Carolina, setting up Balc’s successful penalty kick.

In the preseason, senior Sammy Tamporello had a goal and an assist, while junior Kevin Nugent had a goal and senior Peter Withers had two assists. In goal, Latchem and returning starter junior Ray Burse split time evenly in the preseason, with Latchem playing the first half of each match (one goal allowed) and Burse handling the second half (two goals allowed).

FRESHMAN CLASS RANKED IN NATION
As further evidence the Buckeyes have reloaded their talent supply, College Soccer News (collegesoccernews.com) has listed the eight-member Ohio State freshman class among the best in the nation. As a group, the Buckeye newcomers are ranked No. 35 out of the nearly 200 Division I programs in the country. Ohio State was awarded that ranking even without the inclusion of transfer Kyle Veris among the newcomers listed.

TOP 10 FOES MADE FOR NEAR UPSETS
In the Ohio State Classic last weekend, eighth-ranked Wake Forest and sixth-ranked North Carolina represented the two highest-ranked teams to ever take on the Buckeyes in Columbus in back-to-back matches. The last time Ohio State faced such a challenge, however, the Buckeyes won both matches, as OSU knocked off No. 9 and defending national champion Indiana, 1-0, and No. 22 Penn State, 3-2, in the 2000 Big Ten Tournament in Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. With those two victories, Ohio State secured its first NCAA tournament bid in program history.

OSU HISTORY VS. ONEONTA STATE AND HARTWICK
When the Buckeyes take on Oneonta State at 5 p.m. Friday, it will mark the first-ever meeting between these two schools. Ohio State and Hartwick met last season in the Penn State/Nike Classic in University Park, Pa. The then-13th-ranked Hawks, who went on to finish 15-2-1 last season, topped OSU 1-0.

A LOOK AT ONEONTA STATE
Oneonta State returns just two starters this season off of last year’s squad that finished 10-2-6. The Red Dragons are off to a 1-1-0 start after a 1-0 loss at Albany and a 2-1 win vs. Siena. Second year head coach Iain Byrne and top returners Odingo Ridley and Luke Kitchen are in the midst of a six-match home stand.

A LOOK AT HARTWICK
Six starters are back for Hartwick this season from the Hawk’s 2003 squad, which finished 15-2-1 but was not selected for the NCAA tournament. The alma mater of Ohio State head coach John Bluem was ranked as high as No. 13 in the final season polls (College Soccer News) and returns goalkeeper Josh Wagenear, who posted a 13-1-1 record last season and a 0.52 goals against average. The Hawks are 1-0-1 on the season after defeating Lafayette 2-1 and tying Bucknell 1-1.

INTERNET OFFERS LIVESTATS, MORE
Live stats from all Buckeye home matches will be available at the men’s soccer page at www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com. Also available at that location are statistics, bios, archives and much more. Visit www.bigten.org for the latest information from around the Big Ten Conference, including the weekly press release and players of the week.

COOK SCORES WINNING PDL GOAL
Justin Cook had a successful summer playing for the Central Florida Kraze of the Premier Development League. Cook helped lead the Kraze to the PDL championship game in Orlando, where he scored the game-winning goal in the 88th minute as Central Florida notched a 1-0 victory over the Boulder Rapids Reserves.

Cook was named the PDL Championship’s Most Valuable Player for his efforts in helping Central Florida cap off a 14-3-1 season and the championship of the country’s top Under-23 league for development of professional prospects.

BUCKEYES POSITION-BY-POSITION
Goalkeepers: Freshman Casey Latchem played all 180 minutes in the first two matches of the season after splitting time evenly with returning starter Ray Burse Jr. in the preseason. Facing a pair of Top 10 teams, Latchem collected three saves and a 2.00 goals against average.

Defenders: Senior Eric Schwebach, the lone returning starter in the Buckeye defense, started both matches of the Ohio State Classic last weekend, as did sophomores Brent Rohrer and Dustin Kirby and freshman Ben Oliver. Kirby, who was named to the all-tournament team, did not come off the field once. Junior Reid Traeger and sophomore Jim Fisher made one start during the weekend.

Midfielders: Ohio State’s most experienced group, returning starters include sophomores Taylor Korpieski, who was named to the all-tournament team of the Ohio State Classic last weekend, and seniors Sammy Tamporello and Peter Withers. Also back is sophomore Rob Strachan and sophomore Brent Rohrer, who will be used primarily in the defensive line this season.

Forwards: The trio of a healthy Justin Cook, Kevin Nugent and transfer Kyle Veris comprise what could be the Buckeyes’ most improved area from last year. Add to that mix freshman Xavier Balc and Ohio State has four talented attackers. Cook, Nugent and Veris started both games last weekend, while Balc started once.

2003 BIG TEN AWARD WINNERS
A trio of Ohio State players earned postseason All-Big Ten awards. Senior AJ Weber was named Second Team All-Big Ten, freshman Taylor Korpieski was named to the All-Freshman Team and senior David Ridenhour was named to the All-Big Ten Tournament Team.

Seven Ohio State players were named Academic All-Big Ten following the season. Seniors Sam Migliano and David Ridenhour, juniors Eric Schwebach and Peter Withers and sophomores Jim Fisher, Michael McCarthy and Kevin Nugent received honors for achieving a grade point average over 3.00. All seven players had a GPA of at least 3.10.

COACH BLUEM COMMENTS
Aug. 31, on the three exhibition matches
“We scheduled three exhibition matches because we had so many new players and we wanted to experiment and see people in different positions and find out who could do what. And we were able to do that so we have a good feeling now for what players are capable of doing and what position is best for them. It was good to get some positive results. I think the team psyche needed that from a year ago, so all those things are positives.”

Aug. 31, on the 2-2 tie vs. Rutgers Aug. 27
“The game against Rutgers was a good challenge. Preseason they were ranked 12th in the country so that tells you something. Preseason rankings aren’t always accurate but they’re based on what a program achieved the previous season, so you have to think if they were that good a year ago they’re going to be pretty good this year.”

Aug. 31, on the start of the regular season
“There’s a lot of work to do yet, and unfortunately the preseason is over. Now it starts for real. This weekend, we’ll get stretched really hard and it’s up to us to perform well at home to get a positive result out of the weekend. There are different degrees to what that could represent, but if we’re able to pull two upsets we’ll feel really good about where we are at right now because it will have been against quality competition.”

Aug. 26, about the depth of the team
“Everywhere the depth of this team is very good and the guys know that, too. The guys know that when people come off the bench we don’t lose that much when they come in. That’s a good thing. We’ll have a lot of options and ways we can play and be able to withstand injuries and play people who are in good form.”

OSU PLAYER COMMENTS
Sammy Tamporello, Aug. 31, on preseason camp
“It went real well. We had a lot of new faces in camp – it’s a totally different team from last year. From the three exhibition games we played it looks like we’ll be able to compete with most of the Top 20 teams. Rutgers was No. 12 and in the second half we dominated and they were chasing us for most of the game. Everybody has high spirits right now and we should have a good year.”

Eric Schwebach, Aug. 25, on the rebuilding of the OSU defense after losing three starters
“I didn’t know that much about the guys coming in but I wasn’t that worried because I knew we had so much potential on this team. We have so many guys that are versatile so I knew it would be just a matter of time to find the right combination.”

BUCKEYE PROMOTION NOTES
At the conclusion of every Ohio State home match, Buckeye players will be available for autographs at the south end of Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Kids, to register for your chance to be an honorary captain at a future Buckeye home men’s soccer game, visit the men’s soccer page at ohiostatebuckeyes.com.

### Go Bucks! ###