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Ohio State nets three second-half goals to mark largest scoring output against Akron all season

COLUMBUS, Ohio The Ohio State men’s soccer team scored three goals in the second half to come back from a one-goal deficit, but fell to fourth-ranked Akron, 4-3, Friday night at a rain-soaked Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in front of 1,008 fans. The Buckeyes are now 9-7-2 on the season, while the Zips improve to 15-1-3 with their 15th-consecutive game without a loss.

Konrad Warzycha, Dave Tiemstra and Doug Verhoff all scored for Ohio State, as the Buckeyes became the first team to score more than one goal against Akron all season. The Zips had given up just six goals all season prior to Friday.

“I thought we really put forth a fantastic effort tonight,” head coach John Bluem said. “The players kept after it all night and didn’t let the early goal or falling behind in the second half get them down. Akron is a very talented team, but we stuck with them and put up more against them than any team has this season. I am very proud of the team’s effort.”

Akron jumped out to an early lead with a goal by Steve Zakuani in the 12th minute, but the Buckeyes clamped down on defense and out-shot the Zips 8-4 in the period to keep the opposition from stretching the lead to two.

Coming out of the intermission down 1-0, the Buckeyes scored two goals in the first 4:11 of the second half to pull ahead 2-1 in the 50th minute. Warzycha put Ohio State on the board first with a shot into the right side of the net from the top of the box off a pass from Joshua Breto for his third goal this season.

Momentum stayed in the Buckeyes’ favor as Sam Scales sent a shot just wide right following the restart that glanced off a Akron defender. They earned a corner kick on the play and Warzycha and Breto each passed the ball off with Tiemstra eventually gaining control near the top of the goal box. The rookie defender, a candidate for the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award, punched the ball under the crossbar and left Akron trailing for just the second time this season.

The Buckeyes held on to the lead for over six minutes until Ben Zemanski evened the score at 55:46. They were not deterred, however, as they came back with another equalizer of their own 39 seconds later. Verhoff scored his first goal of the season midway through the 57th minute off an assist from Scales to gain the 3-2 lead and mark the third time this season that the Buckeyes have produced at least three goals.

Play leveled out for the ensuing 10-plus minutes until Zakuani struck for the second time in the game and 19th on the season with a goal at 68:23 off assists from teammates Blair Gavin and Teal Bunbury. The tally tied the game for the third time in the contest, where it would remain for 14:27 the longest stretch without a goal in the second half.

After assisting on the tying goal for Akron, Gavin scored the game-winning tally late in the 83rd minute on his first goal of the season.

The Buckeyes out-shot Akron 17-12 and held an even 6-6 mark in corner kicks.

Ohio State awaits their seeding in the 2009 Big Ten Tournament that begins Thursday in Madison, Wis. Stay tuned to OhioStateBuckeyes.com and the tournament central page for more information.