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Nov. 2, 2006

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The host and second-seeded Ohio State men’s soccer team scored three unanswered goals to top No. 7 seed Michigan State, 3-1, Thursday in a Big Ten Championship quarterfinal game in Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The Buckeyes (10-6-3), who beat the Spartans (10-7-2) last Sunday, 2-0, to end the regular-season, move on to the semifinals Friday, when they will face No. 6 seed Michigan at 7:30 p.m.

The win gives 10th-year head coach John Bluem 100 victories at Ohio State (100-76-23), adding to his own school-record for wins. The three-goal output was the first for Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship since 2000, when the Buckeyes beat Penn State, 3-2, in overtime in the Jesse for their first conference title.

Michigan topped No. 3 seed Wisconsin, 1-0, and No. 4 seed Penn State eliminated No. 5 seed Northwestern, 2-1, in overtime in the other two quarterfinal games Thursday. The Nittany Lions will face No. 1 seed Indiana at 5 p.m. Friday.

Michigan State scored on its only shot of the first half, but Ohio State answered with three minutes left before halftime, then got the game-winner and an insurance goal late in the second half.

“Michigan State got a great first goal to go up 1-0,” Bluem said. “I think we were fortunate to get back in the game during the first half and tie it up by halftime. In the second half, we knew we just had to keep playing and we would get good chances. I thought we scored two great goals for the win.”

OSU junior Eric Edwards (Loveland, Ohio/Milford), who scored his first collegiate goal last Sunday in Ohio State’s win over Michigan State, notched his second in as many games Thursday at the 42:06 mark with a close-range blast off a rebound from a shot by senior Jim Fisher (Worthington, Ohio/Thomas Worthington). The assist was the fourth of Fisher’s career and the goal brought the score to 1-1 at halftime.

Ohio State held a 12-5 shot advantage in the first half and 19-6 for the game.

At the 73:46 mark, junior Xavier Balc (Hudson, Ohio/Hudson) delivered his sixth-career game-winning goal when he nailed a shot from eight yards out. Seniors Taylor Korpieski (Westerville, Ohio/Thomas Worthington) and Brent Rohrer (Springfield, Ohio/Catholic) brought the ball into the 18-yard box from the right wing, drawing the defense to them before the ball was sent to Balc for the goal, his seventh of the season. The assists for Rohrer and Korpieski were their second and fourth, respectively, of the season.

In the final minute, junior goalkeeper Casey Latchem (Perrysburg, Ohio/Perrysburg) corralled a Spartan cross and delivered pass to sophomore Geoff Marsh (North Olmsted, Ohio/North Olmsted) on the right wing. Marsh dribbled untouched for over 50 yards into the Michigan State 18-yard box, side-stepped a Spartan defender and sent the ball to the back of the net at the 89:25 mark for the final margin of victory. The goal was his second of the season.

Friday night, Ohio State will face a Michigan team it tied, 0-0, Oct. 22 in Ann Arbor.

“We went up to Michigan for the last game of the season and it was a tough game,” Bluem said. “Tomorrow is going to be a tough semi-final match.”

Ohio State improves to 5-0-1 against Michigan State in the last six meetings between these two teams in Columbus. The No. 2 seed for the third-consecutive year, the Buckeyes advance to the Big Ten semifinals for the second-consecutive year.

Post Game Quotes
Joe Baum, Michigan State Head Coach
“Ohio State had a real good second half and a great second goal. I wish them the best of luck in the second round.”

John Bluem, Ohio State Head Coach
On the game
“Michigan State is a great team and a courageous team. They had a great first goal to go up 1-0. I think we were fortunate to get back in the game during the first half and tie it up by halftime. In the second half, we knew we just had to keep playing and we would get good chances. I thought we scored two great goals for the win.”

On the game tomorrow against Michigan
“We went up to Michigan for the last game of the season and it was a tough game. Tomorrow is going to be a tough semi-final match.”