Sept. 9, 2016
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Just hit the restart button. That was the mindset for the Ohio State men’s soccer team headed into its Big Ten opener Friday night in Columbus. After the 0-4 start on the season, the Buckeyes fought their way to a 1-0 shutout victory against Northwestern in front of 1,462 fans at Bert L. & Iris S. Wolstein Field at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Senior midfielder Ben Fitzpatrick scored his first goal as a Buckeye, while redshirt freshman goalkeeper Parker Siegfried picked up his first collegiate shutout. With the win the Buckeyes improve to 1-4 overall and 1-0 in Big Ten play, while the Wildcats drop to 1-4 overall and 0-1 in conference action.
COMMENTS FROM COACH BLUEM
“We talked about that in the locker room before the game tonight that the Big Ten season gives you that new lift,” head coach John Bluem said. “It’s a new chance. It was a good match against a tough opponent in Northwestern. Fortunately, we were the team that got the goal tonight. I thought our attacking play was certainly better tonight. We created a lot of opportunities. Parker Siegfried was very good tonight and I’m glad he got his first shutout. I’m excited for Ben Fitzpatrick. He always wanted to be a Buckeye and it worked out for him his senior year. He’s a very good attacking player and everyone saw what he is capable of tonight – that was a beautiful shot.”
Fitzpatrick, a transfer from Urbana University and native of Hilliard, Ohio, got his team on the board in the 50th minute with a fantastic strike from the top of the box. The scoring chance started when Fitzpatrick tucked in and found a gap and received a pass from forward Danny Jensen. The OSU midfielder found space and smacked a shot off the hands of Northwestern keeper Francisco Tomasino and into the back right of net at 49:14.
“It’s surreal,” Fitzpatrick said. “Since I was a little kid I’ve dreamed of playing for the Buckeyes. It’s big for me to come in here as a senior and play with this great group of guys. To be able to come out here and get a win in our Big Ten opener is huge.”
FIRST SHUTOUT FOR SIEGFRIED
Siegfried from Granville, Ohio, made just two saves in the victory, but swarmed to the ball throughout the entire 90 minutes to earn his first collegiate shutout. He led a Buckeye defense that limited the Wildcats to eight shots, allowing only two shots on target. The Buckeyes outshot Northwestern, 16-8, and held a 6-3 lead in corners.
PLENTY OF CHANCES
Ohio State created several first-half chances, but couldn’t find the back of the net. In the 30th minute, senior forward Christian Soldat sent it into the box from the left wing to senior forward Nate Kohl, who fired a shot but it sailed just high over the cross bar. Moments later, Abdi Mohamed found space at the top of the 18 and took a crack at net, but was saved by Tomasino in the 31st. Just before halftime, junior back Niall Logue had an open look at net from the right wing and blasted a curved shot to the far post, but Tomasino made an incredible diving effort to keep it scoreless headed into halftime. At half, shots were 9-1 in favor of the Buckeyes. Soldat had a big opportunity to extend the lead in the 82nd minute, but his shot ricochet off the post.
The Buckeyes travel to University Park, Pa., to take on Penn State at 7 p.m. ET Tuesday. The match will be streamed on BTN Plus ($).