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Nov. 11, 2003

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SETTING THE SCENE
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s soccer team will carry the No. 4 seed into the Big Ten tournament, which begins Thursday and will be hosted by Indiana University. The Buckeyes, which posted a 2-3-1 record in the Big Ten and a 4-11-4 mark overall this season, will meet the No. 5 seeded Wisconsin Badgers in a 1:30 p.m. match-up in the second of three quarterfinal matches scheduled to take place Thursday in Bill Armstrong Stadium.

The winner of the Ohio State-Wisconsin match will meet No. 1 seed Indiana at 5 p.m., Friday, which will be followed by the second semi-final match at 7:30 p.m. The championship game, which will decide the 2003 Big Ten title and the owner of the Big Ten’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, will be played Sunday at 2 p.m. and will be televised live by CSTV (College Sports Television).

Ohio State defeated Wisconsin, 1-0, in Madison, Wis., in the Buckeyes’ Big Ten opener back on Sept. 28. Should Ohio State defeat the Badgers again Thursday, the Buckeyes will face host Indiana, who this season extended its Big Ten regular season unbeaten streak to 45 matches. In the conference tournament semi-finals last season, the Hoosiers suffered a 2-1 loss to Penn State.

For Ohio State head coach John Bluem and the Buckeyes, their first priority is to get past Wisconsin in the opening round.

“For two years now we have lost in the quarterfinals,” Bluem said. “I think it’s time for Ohio State to step up to the table and win a quarterfinal match and prove that our No. 4 seed isn’t a mistake.”

Ohio State is now three years removed from its 2000 Big Ten championship, but Buckeye seniors Matt McCune, Sam Migliano, David Ridenhour and AJ Weber remember it well. That season the Buckeyes, playing in Ohio State’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, defeated Wisconsin, 2-1, in the quarterfinals then knocked off defending national champion Indiana, 1-0, in the semifinals. Ohio State then pulled out a 3-2 overtime win over Penn State to secure the Buckeyes’ first-ever NCAA tournament appearance, where Ohio State dropped a 1-0 decision to No. 8 Creighton in the opening round.

Ohio State is coming off a 3-0 loss at second-ranked Maryland Friday night, which marked the 14th time this season the Buckeyes have met an opponent that has appeared in the national polls. Five of those foes are currently among the NSCAA/adidas Top 25.

Ohio State has owned one of the Big Ten’s best defenses this season. In conference games, the Buckeyes have allowed 1.33 goals per game, which ranked second (tie), while in all games the Buckeyes have allowed 1.16 goals per game, which ranks third. Ohio State scored six goals in its six Big Ten games for a 1.00 goals per game average, which ranks fifth in the league. In all games, the Buckeyes averaged 0.68 goals per game, which ranks seventh. However, Ohio State has out-shot its opponents by an average of +0.7 in all games and +1.1 in Big Ten games. The Buckeyes have taken an even more significant advantage in corner kicks, holding a 107-65 advantage in all games and a 25-21 lead in Big Ten games.

The NCAA tournament will conclude in Columbus Dec. 12-14 when the NCAA College Cup returns to Crew Stadium for the second time in the last three years.

2003 BUCKEYE BIG TEN RECAP
Before meeting its first Big Ten foe this season, the Buckeyes posted a 1-6-2 record in their first nine games, playing mainly ranked opponents. However, Ohio State’s demanding early-season schedule allowed them to post a 2-3-1 record in the Big Ten and finish fourth in the league. For the tenth consecutive year, Ohio State opened its Big Ten season with a win, defeating Wisconsin, 1-0, Sept. 28. The Buckeyes then traveled to East Lansing for an Oct. 5 match-up with Michigan State, where Ohio State was defeated, 2-1, in double-overtime. For the first time since 1992 Ohio State played its first two Big Ten contests away from Columbus, but the Buckeyes were 1-1 in the league and ready for a return to Columbus.

The following week the Buckeyes returned home to face defending Big Ten champion Penn State Oct. 12. Scoring a season-high three goals in the match, Ohio State to defeated the Nittany Lions, 3-1. The Buckeyes then went back on the road to face Indiana, where they were defeated, 3-0, Oct. 19. Ohio State then returned home for its final two Big Ten games of the season. On Oct. 26, the Buckeyes out-shot Northwestern 16 to 11, but were forced to settle for a 1-1 tie in double-overtime. In the final game of the Big Ten season, Ohio State fell to Michigan, 1-0, on Nov. 1 in the 87th minute of play, despite out-shooting the Wolverines 13 to 5.

LAST TIME OUT FOR THE BUCKEYES
Ohio State fell, 3-0, at No. 2 Maryland last Friday night in College Park, Md., as the Buckeyes concluded the regular season. Maryland (16-1-0, 5-1-0 ACC) led just 1-0 at halftime but added two goals in the second half to secure the win. Ohio State was out-shot 20-5 by the Terrapins.

“We have played a very difficult schedule this year,” John Bluem said after the game. “But when the game ended tonight we all agreed that Maryland is the best team we have seen all year. We didn’t play real well, but our effort was superb. We battled for 90 minutes.”

BUCKEYE STAT LEADERS
Freshman Taylor Korpieski leads the team in points with six (two goals, two assists). Sophomore Dana York and junior Peter Withers both have five points. Junior Adam Schauer has fired a team-high 27 shots, while senior A.J. Weber is close behind with 26 and junior Sammy Tamporello has 23. In goal, sophomore Ray Burse has collected 51 saves and owns a 1.22 goals against average.

FOLLOW THE BIG TEN ON-LINE
For the latest news from around the Big Ten, check out www.bigten.org. In addition to players of the week, statistics, schedules, results and records, regular updates from the Big Ten tournament will be posted Thursday, Friday and Sunday.

BUCKEYES VS. BADGERS EARLIER THIS SEASON
Ohio State and Wisconsin met in Madison, Wis., Sept. 28 with the Buckeyes pulling out a 1-0 victory to begin Big Ten play. The Buckeyes entered the game allowing a conference-low 0.88 goals per game, while Wisconsin fielded the most potent offense in the conference, averaging 1.78 goals per game and 16.9 shots per game. The Ohio State defense came up big, while the Buckeye offense also turned in a superb effort, out-shooting the Badgers 9-8 and holding Wisconsin scoreless.

“We got an early lead today and held on,” John Bluem said after the match. “We battled hard and got a good result, and a deserved one.”

Ohio State sophomore Dana York scored the game-winning goal in the first half at the 30:15 mark. Freshman Dustin Kirby set up the goal with a pass to York, who fired his shot from the top of the box from 20 yards out to collect his second goal of the season. The assist was Kirby’s first of the season.

Buckeye junior Chad Brown collected two saves in the match to record his second shutout performance of the season in as many starts.

The Buckeyes were not a full strength against the Badgers, as goalkeeper Ray Burse, Jr. was out with an injury and midfielders Sammy Tamporello and Matt McCune both started but left the game early because of injuries.

“We were beat up today and got a gutsy win,” Bluem said. “We now move onto next week and Michigan State. Hopefully we are refocusing and after a successful weekend with a win and a tie, the guys are confident and starting to believe in themselves a little more.”

RIDENHOUR EARNS CoSIDA ACADEMIC HONORS
Ohio State senior captain David Ridenhour (Germantown, Tenn./Houston) has been named to the Academic All-District Team, as selected by members of CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America). Ridenhour, who carries a 3.70 grade point average in marketing, is one of four defenders named to the All-District IV team. Members of the eight all-district squads from across the country will now be placed on the national ballot for Academic All-America honors.

Ridenhour is a two-year starter at defender for the Buckeyes. He is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and a three-time OSU Scholar-Athlete. Ridenhour has started 37 consecutive matches and also has contributed offensively this season, notching an assist in Ohio State’s 2-0 win over Bradley Sept. 7 and scoring a goal in a 2-2 double-overtime tie vs. Oakland Oct. 15. In 2002, Ridenhour was named honorable mention Academic All-Ohio and was named Ohio State’s Most Improved Player. He is an officer on the OSU Student-Athlete Advisory Board.

Ohio State sophomore Kevin Nugent was also nominated for academic all-district honors.

THE 2003 BUCKEYES
Ohio State said goodbye to a talented senior class in the offseason, which included Tony Earp, Todd Grossnickle, John Tomaino, Jake Traeger and Andy Rosenband. Four of those players received All-Big Ten honors last season, as did then-junior Justin Cook, who will also be absent from the OSU lineup in 2003 because of an injury suffered in May.

Despite those losses, Bluem returns 19 letterwinners, including six players that started at least eight games last fall and a total of 10 players that started at least one game. Leading scorers back from last season include Sammy Tamporello (10 points), Kevin Nugent (8 points), Peter Withers (6 points), AJ Weber (6 points) and Jason Ryan (5 points).

The Buckeyes return three starters at the defender position, including seniors David Ridenhour and Matt McCune and junior Eric Schwebach. Ridenhour will serve as the Buckeye captain this year. In goal, junior Chad Brown, who posted a Big Ten-best eight shutouts in 2002, returns with sophomore Ray Burse, Jr.

BIG TEN PRESEASON POLL
In the annual Big Ten preseason coaches’ poll released Aug. 25, Ohio State is ranked fourth, tied with Michigan State. Indiana is ranked first, riding a conference undefeated streak of 36 games and coming off a 27th all-time and 16th-consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament.

Big Ten Preseason Coaches’ Poll 1. Indiana 2. Penn State 3. Michigan 4. Ohio State Michigan State 6. Wisconsin 7. Northwestern COACH BLUEM COMMENTS
Nov. 3, on the upcoming Big Ten tournament
“We have to go out there and get past the first round. For two years now we have lost in the quarterfinals, so I think it’s time for Ohio State to step up to the table and win a quarterfinal match and prove that our No. 4 seed isn’t a mistake.”

PLAYER COMMENTS
David Ridenhour
Oct. 28, on Senior Night
“The four of us have been here four years and we won a Big Ten title in Jesse Owens (Memorial Stadium). There are a lot of good memories there. This season has not had as many good memories, but overall it’s been great. I couldn’t have asked for more and I don’t think any of the other seniors could either.”

Oct. 28, on the Big Ten tournament
“We can definitely make a run in the Big Ten tournament. We’ve played well the past few weeks but at times just haven’t been able to get in a goal, but if things start going our way we can definitely win three games in a row. We could have done it at any point this season but didn’t get the breaks.”

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 ohiostatebuckeyes.com.

FOLLOW THE BUCKEYES ON-LINE
Information on the Ohio State men’s soccer team and the 35 other Buckeye sports is available online at the official website of the Ohio State Department of Athletics, ohiostatebuckeyes.com.

NEXT UP FOR THE BUCKEYES
The winner of the Big Ten tournament will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.