Oct. 28, 2005
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Scoring both its goals in the second half, the Ohio State men’s soccer team overcame a Northwestern equalizer to secure a 2-1 win over the Wildcats Friday night at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The Buckeyes (9-6-2, 2-2-1 Big Ten) entered the match ranked 10th the Great Lakes Region, while the Wildcats (8-5-2, 1-3-1 Big Ten) are ranked sixth in the region.
OSU sophomore Xavier Balc (Hudson, Ohio/Hudson) assisted on both Buckeye goals, the first going to freshman Geoff Marsh (North Olmstead, Ohio/North Olmsted) in the 59th minute and the second to sophomore Ryan Kustos (West Chester, Ohio/Lakota West) for the game-winner in the 73rd minute.
“Northwestern is such a good team,” John Bluem, Ohio State head coach, said. “They have improved dramatically since (NU head coach) Tim Lenahan came to their program. I thought coming into the game it would be a one goal game and I hoped that our first goal would be that one goal. They came back, though, with a nice goal, but we were strong after that and got our second goal. I’m really please with the performance of our guys.”
Northwestern returned all 11 starters this season coming off its best season in school history in 2004 with a 15-6-2 record and trips to the Big Ten championship game and second-round of the NCAA tournament. The Wildcats were 2-0-2 in their previous four games entering the game at Ohio State.
The two assists for Balc were his team-leading fifth and sixth of the season and mark the first two-assist game of his career.
OSU senior goalkeeper Ray Burse Jr. (Prospect, Ky./St. Xavier) had three saves in the game, all three of which came in the second half to help make the Buckeyes’ two goals stand up for the win.
“I am extremely pleased,” Burse said. “We showed up and played for the entire 90 minutes and the results showed.”
The Buckeyes entered the contest against Northwestern with a 12-game unbeaten streak against the Wildcats (12-0-1), with the lone non-victory coming in Columbus in 2003 when the two teams tied, 1-1. In their match-up last year in Evanston, a 2-1 Ohio State win in overtime, the Wildcats were ranked third in the region, while Ohio State was seventh.
After a scoreless first half in which the Buckeyes had a 7-1 shot advantage, March put Ohio State up, 1-0, with a left-footed half volley into the upper right 90 from 16 yards out at the 58:18 mark following a cross into the penalty area from Balc. The goal was the second this season for Marsh.
Northwestern answered at the 70:31 mark when John Carlstedt knocked in a rebound following a shot by NU’s Gerardo Alvarez, which bounced out in front of Burse after his save.
Just over two minutes later Balc sent a free kick into the penalty area that several Buckeyes dove at, but it was Kustos who made contact with a header that found the back of the net at the 72:35 mark. It was the second game-winner of his career, the other coming in a 2-1 win at No. 9 Notre Dame last November in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The goal was his first of the season and sixth of his career.
Ohio State is now 4-2-1 in its last seven games. The Buckeyes posted an 18-8 shot advantage in the contest and have out-shot their opponent in 14 of 17 games this year.
One Big Ten game remains on the schedule for both teams. Ohio State hosts Michigan at 7:30 next Friday, while Northwestern hosts Wisconsin next Sunday.
### GO BUCKS! ###