Aug. 27, 2006
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Scoring once in each half and getting a shutout effort from its defense, the Ohio State men’s soccer team topped Furman, 2-0, Sunday in the championship game of The Bert and Iris Wolstein Soccer Classic Hosted by The Ohio State University. The Buckeyes (1-0-1) placed four of their own on the all-tournament team, with three of those fittingly coming from their defense, which withstood a 22-shot attack from Furman (1-1-0).
OSU senior defender and co-captain Dustin Kirby (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) was named the Classic’s Most Valuable Player and was joined on the all-tournament by three juniors, including defender Eric Brunner (Dublin, Ohio/Scioto/Maryland), forward Xavier Balc (Hudson, Ohio/Hudson) and goalkeeper Casey Latchem (Perrysburg, Ohio/Perrysburg). The complete all-tournament team is listed below.
Balc scored Ohio State’s first goal Sunday off a free kick, then assisted on the Buckeyes’ second goal with a corner kick that Brunner touched off to sophomore Tim Gabel (Wildwood, Mo./Lafayette), who headed in his first collegiate goal.
“We are pleased with the result but I don’t think we’ve played our best soccer yet,” John Bluem, Ohio State head coach, said. “We talked at halftime that a smart, veteran team comes out and protects a 1-0 lead and maybe scores again off a counterattack and we were able to do that. The boys have set some goals and they have started to achieve some of them already so we want to keep building.”
In the first game Sunday, No. 13 Penn State topped Hartwick, 2-1, to claim third place in the Classic. The Nittany Lions, the defending Big Ten champs, gave up two goals to Furman Friday night, but the Ohio State back four of senior co-captain Jim Fisher (Worthington, Ohio/Thomas Worthington), Kirby, Brunner and Gabel – and Latchem in goal – kept the Paladins from finding the back of the net.
“It was just a battle all game,” Kirby said. “Furman is a good team. We saw what they did to Penn State Friday night. We need this springboard us into next weekend at North Carolina, which is one of the best teams in the country. It’ll be their home opener so we have to be ready.”
Latchem saved all 10 Furman shots on-goal to double his previous career high for saves in a game of five that he set twice as a freshman in 2004.
In the 18th minute, OSU junior Eric Edwards (Loveland, Ohio/Milford) was taken down just outside the 18-yard box by Furman’s Jon Leathers, who received a yellow card on the play. Balc took the free kick and sent a line-drive into the left side of the net to put Ohio State up, 1-0.
In the 60th minute, Balc sent one of the Buckeyes’ four corner kicks on the day into the penalty area, which Brunner tapped past three Furman defenders to the waiting Gabel, whose header found the back of the net and put OSU up, 2-0.
The Buckeyes will be on the road for the next two weekends, beginning with the North Carolina Classic, where Ohio State will face the fifth-ranked Tar Heels at 7:30 p.m. Friday and No. 16 Wake Forest at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Order of finish
Ohio State (1-0-1)
Furman (1-1-0) (owns tie-breaker over PSU in head-to-head win)
Penn State (1-1-0)
Ohio State, Dustin Kirby (MVP)
Ohio State, Eric Brunner
Ohio State, Xavier Balc
Ohio State, Casey Latchem
Furman, Patrick Murray
Furman, Jon Leathers
Furman, Dominic Cianciarulo
Penn State, Jason Yeisley
Penn State, Jeff Chambers
Hartwick, Joe Gibson
Hartwick, Tyler Hemming
### Go Bucks! ###