Oct. 20, 2002
COLUMBUS, Ohio-The Ohio State men’s soccer team suffered a tough loss to No. 4 Indiana today, 4-2, in front of 1,021 fans at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. With the loss the Buckeyes’ record falls to 2-2-0 in the Big Ten and 9-5-0 overall. The Hoosiers improve their record to 12-1-2 and 6-0-0 in Big Ten play.
The win clinches the Big Ten regular season championship for Indiana, its seventh-consecutive regular season title.
A slow start plagued the Buckeyes as the Hoosiers nearly scored 11 seconds into the match when Indiana stole Ohio State’s kickoff and drove down field. Indiana senior forward Pat Noonan’s shot struck the crossbar and was cleared by the Ohio State defense.
The Hoosiers would find the goal, however, in the 16th minute when sophomore Ned Grabavoy shot a rebound from the top of the 18-yard box past Buckeye goalkeeper Chad Brown (So., Rockford, Ill.) Indiana would gain momentum and strike again in the 25th minute when Ryan Mack headed in a pass from Noonan to take a 2-0 lead into halftime.
“Right away we were back on our heels in the first 30 seconds of the game. They really should’ve had a goal,” John Bluem, Ohio State head coach, said. “It was a slow start that we were worried about. We tried to talk to our team about coming out and playing a better first half, because, traditionally, we start very slow against (Indiana).”
Peter Withers (So., Portland, Ore.) would give the Buckeyes life early in the second half when he knocked in a rebound off of Hoosier goalkeeper Jay Nolly to cut the lead to 2-1.
The Buckeyes momentum would be short lived, however, as the Hoosiers would pad their lead in the 57th minute when senior defender John Swann headed in a corner kick to give Indiana a 3-1 lead.
“The early goal in the second half was promising because it was 2-1 and we were back in it,” Bluem said. “We erased half the deficit of the first half and we played very well for the first ten or fifteen minutes of the (second half), but then (Indiana) settled down and dominated again.”
Indiana and Ohio State would each add goals in the final 30 minutes of play to bring the game to a close with the Buckeyes on the short side of a 4-2 final. Ohio State’s second goal was scored in the final 30 seconds of play when sophomore Sammy Tamporello (Richardson, Texas) notched his third goal of the season from 20-yards out on a shot deflected by an Indiana defenseman.
Bluem cites a slow start against a talented Hoosier team as what doomed the Buckeyes.
“Indiana is a dangerous attacking team with extremely good players,” Bluem said. “They finished their chances and put us behind early and that was (the difference).”
The Buckeyes are back in action at 7:15 p.m. Friday at home against Alabama A&M. The Buckeyes will play their final home game of the season Sunday at 2 p.m. against Western Illinois.