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Sept. 21, 2004

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SETTING THE SCENE
The Ohio State men’s soccer team will face a pair of non-conference opponents this weekend as the Buckeyes (2-3-1) move closer to the start of Big Ten play in early October. OSU will host Bowling Green at 5 p.m. Friday before traveling to Kentucky at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

In their last four matches, the Buckeyes are 2-1-1 and over the next three weeks will play four of their next five matches in Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Included in that stretch are a pair of Big Ten matches, Oct. 3 vs. Wisconsin and Oct. 10 vs. Michigan State.

Ohio State is coming off an impressive 4-2 win vs. Virginia Tech Sunday at the Penn State/Nike Classic, which marked the most goals the Buckeyes have scored in a match since a 4-1 victory over Creighton on Sept. 21, 2001.

ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM HONORS
Senior Justin Cook and sophomore Taylor Korpieski were both named to the All-Tournament Team of the Penn State/Nike Classic last weekend. They scored two goals and had one assist each in the Classic. A week before, junior Kyle Veris was named the Offensive MVP of the Mayor’s Cup Tournament in Oneonta, N.Y., after scoring two goals in that event. Sophomores Taylor Korpieski and Dustin Kirby were named to the All-Tournament team of the Ohio State Classic, Sept. 3-5.

BUCKEYES STATISTICALLY SPEAKING
Through their first six matches, which includes a pair of Top 10 opponents, the Buckeyes hold an edge in most categories on the statistics sheet. Ohio State has taken 35 shots on goal, compared to 28 for the opposition, and owns a .515 shots on goal percentage compared to .438 for the competition.

Ohio State holds the edge in total shots, 68-64, and has forced opposing goalkeepers into making 26 saves. Opponents have also committed more fouls, 86-71, as the Buckeyes have been whistled for the second-fewest fouls in the Big Ten (11.8 per game). Ohio State has also been called for offsides just 10 times, which is tied for the fewest in the Big Ten.

NOTING THE BUCKEYES
Senior Justin Cook assisted on Ohio State’s first goal Sunday vs. Virginia Tech and then scored two himself early in the second half to mark his first points of the season. He owns 23 career goals and 12 career assists and leads the team in shots taken this season with 16. He was named to the Penn State/Nike Classic All-Tournament team along with sophomore Taylor Korpieski, who scored a goal in both matches in the Classic last weekend and assisted on Cook’s first goal Sunday. The points were also Korpieski’s first of the season.

Freshman Xavier Balc leads Ohio State in scoring with six points off two goals and two assists. He took six shots over the weekend to increase his season total to 10.

Junior Kyle Veris was named the Offensive Most Valuable Player of the Mayor’s Cup Tournament Sept. 10-11 after scoring a goal in both games. His 11 shots on goal this season are the most on the team and his five points are tied with Cook and Korpieski for second-most on the squad. In the preseason, Veris, Balc and Korpieski all tied for the team lead in scoring with six points each.

Freshman goalkeeper Casey Latchem played all 470 minutes of the first five matches, totaling 15 saves and a 1.53 goals against average before junior Ray Burse Jr. took over in the front of the net Sunday vs. Virginia Tech. Defensively, senior Eric Schwebach and sophomore Dustin Kirby have started all six matches, while sophomore Brent Rohrer has five starts in the defense and one start at midfield.

Freshman Ryan Kustos made his first collegiate start Sunday vs. Virginia Tech. He has scored one goal on the season and was fouled in the 18-yard box against North Carolina, setting up Balc’s successful penalty kick.

OHIO STATE HISTORY VS. BGSU
The Buckeyes and Falcons have met 32 times, which ranks as the third-most matches among Ohio State’s in-state opponents (Dayton, 43, and Ohio Wesleyan, 35). The Buckeyes have a three-match unbeaten streak against Bowling Green dating back to 1998, but the Falcons lead the overall series 23-8-1. Listed below are the last five meetings between Ohio State and Bowling Green.

Year Location Winner Score 2002 Bowling Green OSU 3-2 ot 2001 Columbus OSU 4-0 1998 Columbus tie 1-1 ot 1996 Bowling Green BG 3-0 1995 Columbus BG 2-0

A LOOK AT BOWLING GREEN
The Falcons were just under .500 last season with an 8-9-2 record but came up with some big wins down the stretch, advancing to the Mid-American Conference championship game for the third time in the last four years. In the offseason, the Falcons said goodbye to much of the production from that successful run, including their head coach. Now in his first year at BGSU, Fred Thompson is calling the shots and will look to seniors P.J. Behan and Deryck Freudeman for leadership on the field.

The Falcons won both their preseason matches but are 0-8 in the regular season and have been out-scored 27-3. BG dropped a 4-0 decision at No. 9 Michigan last Friday and fell at home to Western Illinois, 3-0, Sunday. Following their match at OSU, the Falcons will face MAC foes in six of their next seven matches.

BUCKEYES-FALCONS CONNECTIONS
Ohio State’s Taylor Korpieski and Bowling Green’s Jordan Koblens are both from Westerville, Ohio. Korpieski attended Thomas Worthington High School, while Koblens attended Westerville North H.S. OSU’s Kevin Nugent and BGSU’s Cory Stevens were teammates and classmates at Centerville H.S. OSU’s Ryan Kustos and BGSU’s Dave Belfort both are from West Chester. Kustos went to Lakota West, while Belfort went to Lakota East. Buckeye goalkeeper Casey Latchem is from Perrysburg, which is just 11 miles north of Bowling Green.

BUCKEYES HISTORY VS. KENTUCKY
Ohio State holds a 6-3-2 lead in the all-time series against Kentucky and has not been defeated by the Wildcats in the last four matches (2-0-2) between these two schools. All six of the Buckeyes’ victories in the series have come when playing in Columbus. Listed below are the last five meetings between Ohio State and Kentucky.

Year Location Winner Score 2001 Lexington tie 2-2 ot 2000 Columbus OSU 3-0 1996 Lexington tie 1-1 ot 1995 Columbus OSU 3-1 1994 Lexington KY 2-0

A LOOK AT KENTUCKY
Kentucky, which is a member of the Southeast Conference but competes in the Mid-American Conference in soccer, went undefeated in MAC regular season play last season but was defeated by Bowling Green in the conference tournament. The Wildcats were selected for the NCAA tournament, where they defeated Cincinnati in the first round before falling to eventual national champion Indiana in double-overtime, 2-1. UK finished 12-7-2 overall and was ranked No. 22 in the final season poll.

Head coach Ian Collins, now in his 11th season, returns nine starters in 2004, including Jamal Shteiwi, who finished 11th in the nation in assists last year (0.62 per game). The Wildcats were picked No. 1 in the MAC preseason poll and are off to a 4-2-1 start. The Wildcats are currently on a five match unbeaten streak (4-0-1) and will face Marshall Friday night before hosting the Buckeyes Sunday.

TOP 10 FOES MADE FOR NEAR UPSETS
In the Ohio State Classic Sept. 3-5, eighth-ranked Wake Forest and sixth-ranked North Carolina represented the two highest-ranked teams to ever take on the Buckeyes in Columbus in back-to-back matches. Despite suffering a pair of defeats, Ohio State took many positives out of the tournament. The Buckeyes dropped a 2-0 decision to Wake Forest but had three more shots on goal than the Demon Deacons (8 to 5). Ohio State allowed just two shots on goal to North Carolina, but the Tar Heels made both of them count to down the Buckeyes, 2-1. Ohio State sophomores Dustin Kirby (defender) and Taylor Korpieski (midfielder) were named to the all-tournament team.

The last time Ohio State faced such a challenge, however, the Buckeyes won both matches, as OSU knocked off No. 9 and defending national champion Indiana, 1-0, and No. 22 Penn State, 3-2, in the 2000 Big Ten Tournament in Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. With those two victories, Ohio State secured its first NCAA tournament bid in program history.

ANOTHER TOUGH SCHEDULE FOR OSU
The Buckeyes’ schedule in 2004 looks to be even tougher than their 2003 schedule, which was ranked as the eighth-toughest in the nation at the end of the season. Ohio State’s 2004 opponents posted a .627 winning percentage last year with an overall record of 195-106-49. Seven of those teams were among the 48-member 2003 NCAA Tournament field.

The Buckeyes faced 14 teams last season that at some point appeared in at least one of the national polls and two foes, Maryland and Indiana, that advanced to the College Cup. In 2003, Ohio State’s opponents posted a 215-126-47 record.

BUCKEYES POSITION-BY-POSITION
Goalkeepers: Freshman Casey Latchem ranks sixth in the Big Ten in goals against average (1.53) and fifth in saves (15, 3.00 per game). He played all 470 minutes in the first five matches before Ray Burse Jr. started and played all of the Virginia Tech match Sunday. The two split time evenly in the preseason.

Defenders: The Buckeye defense came up with its first shutout of the season Sept. 10 in OSU’s 2-0 win over Oneonta State. Senior Eric Schwebach (the lone returning starter in the back line) and sophomore Dustin Kirby have started all six matches in the back line, while sophomore Brent Rohrer has made starts there and one in the midfield, that coming Sunday vs. Virginia Tech when the Buckeyes went with a 3-5-2 alignment.

Midfielders: A blend of veterans and youth comprise the Ohio State midfield, where the Buckeyes have significant depth. Seniors Peter Withers and Sammy Tamporello and sophomore Taylor Korpieski are all returning starters and, depending on OSU’s alignment, can be joined by sophomores Brent Rohrer and/or Rob Strachan. Freshman Xavier Balc leads OSU in scoring from his central midfield position and is a corner kick specialist.

Forwards: The trio of a healthy Justin Cook, Kevin Nugent and transfer Kyle Veris comprise what could be the Buckeyes’ most improved area from last year. Veris was named the Offensive MVP of the Mayor’s Cup Tournament last weekend as he scored a goal in both games, while Cook had a great tournament last weekend at Penn State with a pair of goals and an assist. Nugent has taken four shots and freshman Ryan Kustos, who also scored against Oneonta State, has also taken four shots and made his first collegiate start Sunday vs. Virginia Tech.

FRESHMAN CLASS RANKED IN NATION
As further evidence the Buckeyes have reloaded their talent supply, College Soccer News (collegesoccernews.com) has listed the eight-member Ohio State freshman class among the best in the nation. As a group, the Buckeye newcomers are ranked No. 35 out of the nearly 200 Division I programs in the country. Ohio State was awarded that ranking even without the inclusion of transfer Kyle Veris among the newcomers listed.

LIVE RADIO AND LIVE STATS
The Ohio State student radio station, KBUX, will be broadcasting the match Friday vs. Bowling Green. Their broadcast is available at www.underground.fm/sports. Live stats from all Buckeye home matches are available at the men’s soccer page at www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com. Also available at that location are statistics, bios, archives and much more. Visit www.bigten.org for the latest information from around the Big Ten Conference, including the weekly press release and players of the week.

COACH BLUEM COMMENTS
Sept. 21, on last weekend’s results
“We were disappointed with the Akron match, especially in the first half. The team was disappointed in themselves, as well. We had a flat first half, didn’t play well and didn’t run and Akron took advantage of our mistakes and punished us. That was a difficult loss. “The good news is that we bounced back well on Sunday. Even with the tournament being changed to a Saturday-Sunday format because of the weather, we had a very good second half against Virginia Tech and scored some nice goals.”

Sept. 21, on the team and upcoming home games
“A year ago we were 1-5 at this point in time. Now we’re 2-3-1 and feel like we probably could have been better. The level of competition has been good and we’ve played well. We’re at the point in the season where three of the next four games are at home and we need to post some wins.

“It would be really nice to get something going here. The schedule is very difficult and with these home games this might be a good time to build some confidence. If we can get above .500 that will certainly help the confidence of this year after the difficult year we had a year ago.”

Sept. 21, on Bowling Green and Kentucky
“Unfortunately Bowling Green isn’t having a very good year so far, but they’re a dangerous team then. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain. By going all out against us and doing whatever it takes to win, I’m sure their players will be very fired up.

“Kentucky is a program that has been in the NCAA tournament consistently. They have a style that is difficult to play against. They are very direct and have good speed everywhere on the field. They do very well at home and have big crowds that are difficult to play in front of. It’s going to be a real challenge, similar to playing Hartwick at Hartwick. We’ll have a big crowd to contend with and pretty good soccer team.”

Sept. 21, on OSU’s strengths
“Although we’re scoring more goals than we did last year, I don’t think our attack has played as good as we think it was going to yet. That’s something we need to continue to work on. We’re still trying to find which players can do certain things and settle in on a starting lineup. The good news is that we’ve been playing everybody and nobody has missed a beat. When called upon, certain players have risen to the occasion.”

Aug. 26, about the depth of the team
“Everywhere the depth of this team is very good and the guys know that, too. The guys know that when people come off the bench we don’t lose that much when they come in. That’s a good thing. We’ll have a lot of options and ways we can play and be able to withstand injuries and play people who are in good form.”

OSU PLAYER COMMENTS
Peter Withers, Sept. 21, on the OSU offense
“I think we’re gelling more offensively and the new system we used Sunday brought some more offense to the field and more passing and combinations with players. Cook got his first goal and we kind of exploded from there. He needed his first one, and as a team, when you have a player like him, when he scores it helps everyone’s confidence.”

Peter Withers, Sept. 21, on playing back home this Friday
“Being away for four games was tough, so it will definitely be good to get back home and play in front of our fans.”

Kevin Nugent, Sept. 21, on this week
“This week is actually going to be tough with school starting, so we are just trying to keep a normal schedule and get a lot of sleep. We want to continue playing well.”

Kevin Nugent, Sept. 21, on getting to .500
“This weekend there is definitely motivation to get to a .500 record. We have a great opportunity to get back to that position and if we do, it will take a lot of pressure off the team.”

Justin Cook, Sept. 14, on the team’s status
“It’s starting to build and look like it’s coming together. We’re getting a little more creative. Kyle (Veris) had a great weekend and was named offensive MVP. We scored three goals and won the first game, probably should have won the second game. We’re starting to look a lot stronger.”

Eric Schwebach, Sept. 14, on the team’s attitude
“Starting the season off with teams like Wake Forest and North Carolina and to feel like we were in those games and that they could have gone either way, it’s definitely a confidence builder right off the bat. When we step on the field we know we’re going to have our chances and it’s something we can build on.”

BUCKEYE PROMOTION NOTES, ETC.
At the conclusion of every Ohio State home match, Buckeye players will be available for autographs at the south end of Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.

Oakley Katterheinrich has been selected as Ohio State’s honorary captain for the Bowling Green match Friday. Kids, to register for your chance to be an honorary captain at a future Buckeye home men’s soccer game, visit the men’s soccer page at ohiostatebuckeyes.com.

For those attending the Bowling Green match Friday, be aware that doors open at 6 p.m. in the nearby Schottenstein Center for the Metallica concert. Also for the BGSU match, OSU students will be admitted free of charge when presenting their BUCK-ID, and new students can pick up coupons at Scarlet Fever Sept. 22 good for a free hot dog at the match.

### Go Bucks! ###