Now 7-0-2 in last nine games, Buckeyes tie program wins record and advance to semifinal match Friday against No. 3 seed Northwestern
COLUMBUS, Ohio A goal by senior Xavier Balc in the 15th minute would hold up as the game-winner and senior goalkeeper Casey Latchem notched his second shutout of Michigan in the last three weeks as the 18th-ranked and second-seeded Ohio State men’s soccer team blanked the seventh-seeded Wolverines, 1-0, Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Championship at Michigan State.
The Buckeyes are 12-3-4 overall, which ties the program record for wins in a season, and they advance to a semifinal game at 11 a.m. Friday against No. 3 seed and 14th-ranked Northwestern at Old College Field in East Lansing. The Wildcats are 12-3-3 after a 3-1 win over No. 6 seed Wisconsin earlier Thursday.
After an 8-0-1 start to the season, Michigan went 2-7-1 the rest of the way with a pair of 1-0 losses to Ohio State, including Oct. 27 in Columbus. At 10-7-2, the Wolverines must await their NCAA tournament fate until Nov. 19, while the Buckeyes march on for a rematch with Northwestern, which handed Ohio State a 4-0 loss Sept. 23.
“It was a very difficult match, as we expected it would be,” John Bluem, Ohio State head coach, said. “We beat them a couple weeks ago on what Michigan regarded as a controversial goal. Then we had to play them today with their backs against the wall from the standpoint that if they didn’t win today, their NCAA tournament chances could be greatly reduced. Michigan was a team playing what could be their last game, so their motivation was tremendous and at times we didn’t match that energy, but they weren’t able to produce a goal and that was the difference. It was good that we got the goal in the first half because as the game went on, Michigan got stronger, but we were able to sit back and defend.”
In notching their 12th win of the season, the 2007 Buckeyes have equaled the program record for wins, set first in 1986 (all in the regular season), then in 2000 (12th win came in Big Ten Championship game) and then again in 2004 (12th win came at Notre Dame in second round of NCAA tournament).
The shutout for Latchem, who had four saves, was his 10th of the season, which ties his total from last year that is one shy of the school record. His 22 career shutouts are 1.5 shy of the OSU career record. In more than 180 minutes against the Wolverines this season, Latchem has not allowed a goal.
During Ohio State’s current school-record nine-game unbeaten streak (7-0-2), Latchem and the OSU defense has allowed only three goals. In front of Latchem during that entire streak have been defenders Eric Brunner, Tim Gabel, Doug Verhoff and Patrick Roan.
Balc’s goal came at the 14:14 mark and was on Ohio State’s first shot of the game. Gabel notched his fifth assist of the season on the play as he brought the ball up the left side and found Balc advancing toward the goal. Gabel’s pass went through UM’s left-central defender and the left back and was controlled by Balc, who would deliver his fifth goal of the season and the ninth game-winning goal of his career.
“Tim Gabel picked out Balc running at the far post unmarked and sent a very calculated service to Balc, who was wide open and settled it,” Bluem said. “Balc was then one-on-one with their keeper and just waited for him to make a move and when he did, Balc picked his corner and had the skill to then slot it right past him.”
Balc has either scored or assisted on 17 of Ohio State’s 29 goals this season, including nine of the last 11. The Buckeyes are 28-3-2 during the last three seasons when Balc has at least one point.
Postgame Notes: No. 18 Ohio State 1, Michigan 0 Big Ten Championship Quarterfinal Match
– The 2007 Buckeyes are the fourth team in program history to reach a school-record 12 wins, achieved previously by teams in 1986, 2000 and 2004.
– Ohio State has now reached the semifinals of the Big Ten Championship the last three seasons. Last year, the Buckeyes beat Michigan in the semifinals before falling to Indiana in the championship game.
– Ohio State is 12-15 all-time in the Big Ten Championship and 5-5 as the No. 2 seed.
– The Buckeyes are 10-0-2 this season when they score first.
– Xavier Balc’s goal was his third game-winner of the season and ninth of his career.
– Balc now owns 20 goals and a school-record 33 assists in his career at Ohio State. With two points Thursday, he moves into third place on the OSU all-time points list with 73 points, surpassing Juan Acevedo (72 points from 1977-80).
– The Buckeyes are 10-0-1 this season when Balc has at least one point.
– Ohio State is 12-6-1 all-time against Michigan and has won the last three meetings each 1-0.
– The win Thursday was the 46th for Ohio State’s seven-member senior class, which only builds on its school-records for wins by a program and winning percentage (.628).
Soccer Game Summary (Final)
2007 Ohio State Men’s Soccer
Michigan vs. #18 Ohio State (Nov 08, 2007 at East Lansing, Mich.)
Michigan (10-7-2, 0-4-2) vs. Ohio State (12-3-4, 4-1-1)
Date: Nov 08, 2007 Attendance:
Goals by period 1 2 Tot
Michigan………… 0 0 – 0
Ohio State………. 1 0 – 1
1. 14:14 OSU Balc, Xavier (5) (Gabel, Tim) – volley on right side
Shots: Michigan 14, Ohio State 10
Saves: Michigan 5 (Sperry, Patrick 5), Ohio State 4 (Latchem, Casey 4)
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