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Buckeyes look for retribution after regular season loss to Zips; Winner advances to Round of 16

COLUMBUS, Ohio The Ohio State men’s soccer team advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and will face fifth-seeded Akron at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. The Buckeyes (9-8-3) played Oakland to a scoreless tie in the first round Saturday, but earned the right to move on with a 4-3 penalty kick advantage. The Zips (16-1-4) had a bye in the first round as one of the 16 seeded teams.
     Ohio State and Akron met in the regular-season finale for both teams on Nov. 7 with the Zips coming away with a 4-3 win. Despite the loss, the Scarlet and Gray became (and remain) the only team to score more than goal against Akron all season. 
     Danny Irizarry leads the Buckeyes with 13 points off six goals and an assist, while Andrew Magill is second with a team-leading six assists and three goals.

GET ON THE BUS
     The Ohio State athletics department is chartering buses to Akron, Ohio, for the men’s soccer team’s NCAA second round game against Akron at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. This trip is free and open to all staff, students and the general public. Tickets to the game are $8, general admission and can be purchased at the gate upon arrival. Click HERE for more information or call the OSU ticket office at 800-GO-BUCKS.

NEXT UP
     The winner of the game Tuesday will advance to the third round and face the winner of Northwestern vs. 12th-seeded Notre Dame. That game is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday in South Bend, Ind. Site and time for the third-round contest is TBA.

LIVE STATS
     The game Tuesday can be followed on Gametracker, linked from OhioStateBuckeyes.com, GoZips.com or NCAA.com.

LAST TIME OUT
     Julian Sisman hit the deciding penalty kick as Buckeyes advanced past Oakland with a 4-3 penalty kick decision in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Saturday afternoon at the OU Soccer Field. The teams played to a scoreless tie through regulation and two overtime sessions before heading into the best-of-five penalty kicks.
     The Buckeyes missed their first attempt, but nailed the last four with Sisman taking the final kick. Oakland had the advantage after the first round of kicks, but missed its second attempt. Drew Czekanski stopped their final effort to secure the Buckeye victory.

BRACKET BREAKDOWN
     The 48-team field was announced Nov. 17 with teams vying for the right to compete at the 2008 NCAA Men’s College Cup Dec. 12 and 14 in Frisco, Texas, at Pizza Hut Park. Southern Methodist University and FC Dallas will host the championship.
     Wake Forest, the defending national champion was awarded the No. 1 seed. Maryland, the Atlantic Coast Conference automatic qualifier, earned the No. 2 seed, while St. John’s is the No. 3 seed and Michigan State is No. 4. The ACC led all conferences with six teams in the tournament field, while the Big Ten and Big East had five. All five Big Ten teams remain active in the second round.

SCOUTING AKRON
     Akron heads into the NCAA Tournament with a 16-game unbeaten streak as the No. 5 seed. As one of the top seeds, the Zips earned a bye in the first round of action. They captured their second-consecutive Mid-American Conference regular-season and tournament titles and have remained ranked in the NSCAA Top 25 all season.
     Akron is led by Hermann Trophy candidate Steve Zakuani and is third in the nation in scoring offense (2.25 ppg), goals against average (0.43 avg.) and shutout percentage (0.65), while ranking fourth nationally in win-loss percentage (0.875). 
     Individually, Zakuani leads the nation in goals scored (20), points per game (2.35) and goals per game (1.0). Matt Tutich and Ben Zemanski are each tied for 22nd in the NCAA in assists, averaging 0.45 per match. Senior Evan Bush ranks fourth in the NCAA in goals against average (0.438 per match) and ranks 19th in the NCAA in saves percentage (0.847).

SERIES HISTORY WITH THE ZIPS
     This is the first game against Akron in the NCAA Tournament. The Buckeyes trail in the all-time series 6-22-2, though half the wins have come under head coach John Bluem’s reign.
Last Meeting: On Nov. 7, the Buckeyes scored three goals in the second half to come back from a one-goal deficit, but fell to fourth-ranked Akron, 4-3, Nov. 7. 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 the match.
     Tiemstra’s goal in the 50th minute gave the Buckeyes a 2-1 lead and marked just the second time all season that the Zips have trailed an opponent. After tying it at 2-all, Akron would once again trail, 3-2, after Verhoff’s goal.

DID YOU KNOW?
     Ohio State head football coach Jim Tressel earned his master’s degree in Education from Akron in 1977. He began as a graduate assistant coach with the Zips in 1975 and remained through the 1978 season, serving in a full-time capacity his last three seasons as coach of the quarterbacks, receivers and running backs.

SUSPENSIONS
     Six members of the Ohio State men’s soccer team were suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules, head coach John Bluem announced last Friday. The suspensions were issued to seniors Tim Gabel, Danny Irizarry, Geoff Marsh and Patrick Roan and sophomores Matt Gold and Sam Scales. 
     All six players were prohibited from participating in the Buckeyes’ NCAA first-round contest against Oakland; however, they will be eligible for competition against Akron.
     In light of the suspensions, junior defender Doug Verhoff has been named captain of the Buckeyes.

FRESH FACES
     With the suspensions in play vs. Oakland, several Buckeye players had chance to step up. Five freshmen were in the starting lineup and three players had the opportunity to start in their first collegiate game: freshmen Ross Dickson and Nick Galiardi and junior Joe Moore. 
     In addition, six players that took the field vs. the Grizzlies had seen action in four or fewer previous games this season.

TOUGH ROAD
     Ohio State’s road to the College Cup has not been an easy one. Nine teams on its schedule this season have spent time in the NSCAA Top 25. Seven opponents are currently ranked, including each of the final three that the Buckeyes faced in the last four games heading into the tournament.

MAKING IT BIG TEN TIME
     Six members of the Ohio State men’s soccer team were recognized by the Big Ten coaches at the end of the year conference banquet Nov. 13. Andrew Magill, Danny Irizarry and Tim Gabel were each selected to the All-Big Ten Second Team, while Joshua Breto and Dave Tiemstra were unanimous selections to the All-Freshman Team. 
     Geoff Marsh was honored with the team’s Sportsmanship Award for the second-consecutive season. He is now a candidate for the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award, given to one male and one female student-athlete from each institution by the conference office at the end of the school year.

UNDERDOGS
     After 17-consecutive weeks in the national spotlight, Ohio State is not ranked by any of the four national soccer polls for the second-consecutive week. On the flip side, Akron has not fallen out of the Top 10 and spent eight weeks in the Top 5.

SENIOR SALUTE
     This senior class is the winningest class in Ohio State history, besting last year’s class by three wins. Tim Gabel, Danny Irizarry, Geoff Marsh and Patrick Roan, the four four-year players, have 48 wins to their credit and a 0.635 winning percentage.
     Since arriving in 2005, the OSU seniors have taken the Buckeyes to the NCAA Tournament three times (2005, 2007, 2008), leading them to the national championship game in 07. They also have been in the Big Ten Championship final in two of the last three years, capturing the 2007 crown on PKs over Indiana.

TENACIOUS D
     The Buckeyes’ defense, anchored by Tim Gabel, Patrick Roan, Dave Tiemstra and Doug Verhoff, has given up more than one goal just four times and pulled out seven shutouts – including the first round contest against Oakland. 
 
VS. RANKED TEAMS
     With the loss to 18th-ranked Indiana in the Big Ten Tournament, the Buckeyes are 1-5-1 against teams ranked in the NSCAA Top 25 this season. The lone win was against then-No. 18 Tulsa, 2-0, Sept. 7. 
     Against unranked teams, Ohio State is 8-3-2. Oakland was the first unranked opponent for the Buckeyes in four games, dating back to Oct. 22.

BLOWING UP
     In games won this season, Ohio State has out-scored opponents 18-4, including an 11-2 margin in the second half. 

ONE AND DONE
     Each of Ohio State’s last 10 games and 17 of its 20 this season have been decided by one goal or less. The Buckeyes own a 6-8-3 record in those contests. In games decided by at least two goals, OSU is 3-0 with a combined 9-1 score.
     All of the Buckeyes’ losses have been by one goal with three coming in overtime.

FINISHING STRONG
     The Buckeyes have out-scored their opponents 18-11 in the second half this season. They are 6-3-1 when tallying at least one goal in the second period.

THANK YOU FANS!
     The Buckeyes welcomed an average of 1,084 fans per game to Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium during the regular season. The mark is an Ohio State soccer record and is up from last year’s figure and previous record of 1,004.

BLUEM IN 12TH SEASON AT OSU
     The winningest coach in program history, head coach John Bluem is in his 12th season at Ohio State and has guided the Buckeyes to three Big Ten titles and all six of the school’s NCAA tournament appearances (2000, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008). His 2004 squad went to the Sweet 16’ and his 2007 squad went to the national championship game. 
     Bluem owns a 127-89-31 record at Ohio State. His career record, which includes six seasons at Fresno State, stands at 217-116-43. In 29 seasons of coaching soccer, teams Bluem has been a part of have gone 390-141-75. A fullback at traditional soccer power Hartwick College, Bluem helped guide the Warriors to the College Cup in 1974.