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Oct. 10, 2005

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SETTING THE SCENE
In its final non-conference road game of the season, the Ohio State men’s soccer team travels to Louisville Wednesday for a 7 p.m. match. The Buckeyes (6-5-1, 1-1-0 Big Ten) are playing their fourth-consecutive game on the road, while the Cardinals (4-7-1, 2-4-1 BIG EAST) are playing their third-consecutive game at home.

GameTracker will have the match live at www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com. Following the Louisville match, Ohio State plays four of its remaining five regular season games at home, beginning with a Big Ten showdown Sunday against Penn State in Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.

After a 2-1 overtime win at Wisconsin in their Big Ten opener Oct. 2, the Buckeyes are coming off a 2-0 loss at defending Big Ten champion Michigan State Sunday. Louisville, in its first year as a member of the BIG EAST Conference, is 1-2 against the Big Ten this year, with its lone win coming over Michigan State, 1-0, Sept. 11.

FOLLOW THE BUCKEYES ON THE INTERNET
Live stats via GameTracker for all Ohio State home games and selected away matches, including the Louisville match Wednesday, will be available at www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com. In addition, OSU’s student radio station, The Underground, will broadcast three of the Buckeyes’ final four home games. Their call can be heard at underground.fm/sports.

OHIO STATE AT A GLANCE
The Buckeyes are 6-5-1 and 1-1-0 in the Big Ten. Though Ohio State has fallen out of the national rankings, where it was as high as No. 11 earlier this season, the Buckeyes are planning on a postseason push like they did a year. In 2004, OSU began the season 3-4-3 but went 9-3-1 the rest of the way to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, where the Buckeyes advanced to the third round. Ohio State won five of its first six matches this season, including a 1-0 win over UCLA, as part of one of the best starts in program history. An 0-3-1 skid halted that good start, however, before a 2-1 win at Wisconsin Oct. 2, which gave the Buckeyes a win in their Big Ten opener for the 12th-consecutive year.

Ohio State averages 13.3 shots per game and has out-shot its opponent in nine of 11 games this season, though the Buckeyes are 4-4-1 in those nine games. The Buckeyes had three shutouts among their first five games, but none since.

Ohio State has eight starters and 17 lettermen back from its 2004 squad that went 12-7-2, won a share of the Big Ten regular season title and advanced to the third round of the NCAA tournament. The Buckeyes are coached by John Bluem, OSU’s all-time winningest coach.

OSU IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
For the first time since the Sept. 5 national polls, Ohio State is not ranked or receiving votes in any of the national polls. The NSCAA Great Lakes Regional poll will be released Tuesday afternoon, where OSU was ranked seventh last week. The Buckeyes have been ranked as high as No. 11 (Sept. 19, College Soccer News) in the nation this season and No. 3 in the region.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING
Though the Buckeyes hold a 160-117 shot advantage over their opponents, OSU now trails in the goals department for the first time this season, 14-13. In addition to its shot advantage, Ohio State also has more shots on goal, 62-53 and more corner kicks, 65-49. Big Ten statistical leaders will be announced Monday evening.

LAST WEEK: BUCKS FALL AT MSU
Ohio State is coming off a 2-0 loss at Michigan State Sunday in its only game last week. The Buckeyes out-shot the Spartans, 15-11, but trailed 1-0 at halftime and MSU’s Ryan McMahen then scored his second goal of the game in the 83rd minute.

The week to prepare was a welcomed change for Ohio State, which was coming off a five game stretch that included three games. Despite the time off, central midfielders Taylor Korpieski and Brent Rohrer were lost before the game and in the 20th minute, respectively, at Michigan State because of injury.

SCOUTING LOUISVILLE
Louisville is coming off a 4-1 win over Rutgers last Saturday, which snapped a four-game losing skid. The Cardinals are 4-7-1 overall and will play their third-consecutive home game when the Buckeyes arrive Wednesday. Of UL’s seven losses, five have come by just one goal, but the other two losses have been by two goals and four goals, respectively, in the two games preceding the win over Rutgers.

Louisville was 5-10-4 a year ago and eight starters are back from that team. Tony Colavecchia is in his ninth year at UL and owns a 68-90-14 record at the school. His career record stands at 165-149-27 in his 17th year as a head coach.

Frank Jonke leads the Cardinals in scoring with five goals and five assists. David Guzman is next with two goals and three assists. UL has split time between two goalkeepers, Charlie Edwards (2-2-1, 1.10 GAA) and Steven DeGeorge (1-4-0, 2.20 GAA).

OSU-UL ALL-TIME SERIES NOTES
The all-time series between the Buckeyes and Cardinals is deadlocked at 4-4-1. Ohio State owns a 3-0-1 record against Louisville when playing in Columbus, but OSU is 1-4-0 at Louisville. The Buckeyes dropped a 1-0 decision at UL in 2003.

BUCKEYES-CARDINALS CONNECTIONS
Ohio State senior goalkeeper is from Prospect, Ky., a northeast suburb of Louisville. Only two players on the Louisville roster are from the state of Kentucky, one being redshirt sophomore Nathaniel Gerstle, who was a teammate of Burse at St. Xavier High School, and redshirt sophomore Joey Watson, who is from Louisville, as well, but attended Manual H.S.

OSU freshman Tim Gabel is a native of Wildwood, Mo., a western suburb of St. Louis, where Louisville senior Tim Velten calls home. OSU freshman Danny Irizarry is from Lawrenceville, Ga., while UL freshman Kiel Voight is from Cumming, Ga. The two towns are 23 miles apart and are on the northeast side of Atlanta. Irizarry and Voight were teammates in the Georgia Olympic Development Program.

COMMON OPPONENTS
Louisville and Ohio State have four common opponents on their result sheet and will share two more before the season is over. Kentucky hosted and beat UL 1-0 Sept. 2 and tied at OSU 1-1 Sept. 25. Cincinnati won at UL 4-3 Sept. 7 and beat OSU 1-0 in an exhibition game Aug. 26 at Crew Stadium in Columbus. Michigan State beat UL 1-0 on neutral ground Sept. 11 and beat OSU 2-0 in East Lansing Sunday. Finally, Marquette hosted and beat UL 2-1 Sept. 25 and lost to OSU 1-0 Sept. 2. Indiana beat UL 2-0 Oct. 2 and hosts OSU Oct. 23, while Michigan hosted and beat UL 1-0 Sept. 9 and travels to OSU Nov. 4.

LAST YEAR AGAINST LOUISVILLE
Ohio State played to a 0-0 draw in double-overtime against Louisville Oct. 13, 2004, in Columbus. The Buckeyes out-shot the Cardinals, 18-13, including 6-0 in the first half, but were unable to come up with a goal. Goalkeeper Ray Burse Jr., had two saves to record his third-consecutive shutout.

“It was a very even game,” Bluem said after the game. “Both teams had a lot of chances, but somehow no one seemed to find the back of the net. I have to give Louisville credit, they came on the road and were able to defend well.”

BUCKEYES POSITION-BY-POSITION
Goalkeepers
Ray Burse Jr. is 6-5-0 in goal for the Buckeyes with a 1.11 goals-against average and 38 saves. He has three shutouts on the season, those coming in his first give games. Casey Latchem has seen action in two games, including a scoreless 65 minutes against Kentucky last Sunday.

The Defense
Ohio State has allowed 14 goals in 12 games this season. Three Buckeyes have started all eight matches in the defense for Ohio State and lead the team in minutes played, including Jim Fisher (1,137 min.), Dustin Kirby (1,127 min.) and Eric Brunner (1,033 min.). Three others have made multiple starts in the back and have contributed in every game, including Kyle Veris (6 starts, 634 min.) and Tim Gabel (5 starts, 466 min.). Brunner (5 pts.) ranks third on the team in scoring.

The Midfield
As expected, the depth and versatility of Ohio State’s midfield has proven to be one of the strengths of the team this season. In the central midfield, Taylor Korpieski and Brent Rohrer are the mainstays, with Ryan Kustos, Danny Irizarry, Rob Strachan and Geoff Marsh manning the flanks. Korpieski’s 846 minutes leads the group, while Rohrer’s 832 minutes are second. Irizarry’s three assists are tied with Nugent for the team-lead.

Forwards
Kevin Nugent and Xavier Balc rank first and second on the team in scoring with 11 points and 10 points, respectively. Both have scored four goals and own five assists between them. Chief backups have included Reid Traeger, David Bauer, Eric Edwards, and Kyle Veris up from his normal spot in the defense.

WIN AT WISCONSIN EXTENDS STREAK
Ohio State’s 2-1 win in overtime at Wisconsin Oct. 2 marked the Buckeyes’ 12th-consecutive win in their Big Ten opener. The Badgers have been OSU’s opponent in the last four conference openers, while Northwestern provided the opposition eight years prior to that.

FIVE BUCKEYES OWN GAME-WINNERS
Five different Buckeyes have netted game-winning goals this season. Sophomore Xavier Balc has two of them, those coming Sept. 9 as part of his hat trick vs. Coastal Carolina and Sept. 18 vs. UCLA. Senior Kevin Nugent had Ohio State’s first game-winner of the season, that coming against Marquette Sept. 2, while sophomore Eric Brunner had the golden goal in overtime at Furman Sept. 11. Brent Rohrer rounds out the list after scoring the game-winner in overtime against Wisconsin Oct. 9.

KIRBY’S STREAK REACHES 53
Ohio State junior defender Dustin Kirby has started all 53 games for the Buckeyes since his arrival at OSU. That total includes all 20 games as a freshman, 21 as a sophomore and the 12 games so far in 2005. Junior defender Jim Fisher owns the next-most consecutive starts with 31. Junior midfielder Brent Rohrer has played in all 53 games since his arrival, but was not in the starting lineup once as a freshman and once as a sophomore.

BUCKEYE BITS
The Buckeyes are 5-0-0 when they score first … of OSU’s 12 games so far this season, six have gone to overtime … the combined record of OSU’s opponents this season is 98-82-24, which supports OSU’s strong strength of schedule component … the next shutout turned in by goalkeeper Ray Burse Jr. will be the 12th of his career, which will give him sole possession of fourth place in the OSU record book … Xavier Balc has at least one point in four games this season and OSU is 4-0 in those games … Eric Brunner has at least one point in three games and OSU is 2-0-1 in those games … OSU is 2-0-0 when Jim Fisher has an assist … the Buckeyes have played both of the nation’s two remaining undefeated teams, including No. 1 New Mexico (lost 1-0, ot) and No. 2 Akron (lost 3-0) … OSU played five consecutive road games from Sept. 9-23, and went 4-1-0 in those games … the Buckeyes play four of their final five regular season matches at home before the Big Ten tournament gets underway at Northwestern.

NEXT UP FOR THE BUCKEYES
Following the match at Louisville Wednesday, Ohio State hosts Penn State Sunday at 2 p.m. in Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.

COACH BLUEM COMMENTS
Oct. 9, following the Michigan State loss
“We just didn’t play well. We didn’t play fast enough and weren’t dangerous enough up top. It was typical of a lot of our games lately that we were good in the first half but didn’t score, and then we gave a goal up.

“It was pretty even and we probably had more possession. We took the game toward them but they were dangerous on counter attacks. The first half Michigan State didn’t have much going, but they were able to score. It’s certainly frustrating. We have just got to be better. We just weren’t good enough to win the game today.”

Oct. 4, on the Wisconsin game
“We went into that game 5-4-1, and we told the players that those 10 games are all in the past and that they don’t affect the Big Ten. We try to set as a goal to do well in the Big Ten and set our conference games as the priority. To get a win in your first conference game is big, but to do it on the road and after a tough match Friday night at Akron was fantastic.”

“It was a really gutty performance by our guys. They were so tired and beat up. The game wasn’t an attractive soccer game. It was sort of, `who is going to last the longest.’ It was a hard-fought battle with a lot of hard tackling, like all Big Ten games are. To get a win and end that five-game stretch in 10 days was very important.”

Oct. 4, on the rest of the regular season
“We have seven games left, five of which are in the conference. We realize that we are all about doing well in the Big Ten, but it’s critical to do well in your non-conference games, too, in order to get a bid to the NCAA tournament. Our strength of schedule is good, but we have already lost a couple games that we shouldn’t have, so doing well down the stretch is critical. If we finish with 10 wins, with our strength of schedule, that’s going to put us close (to a bid). 11 wins is even better, that’s certainly a goal.”

Oct. 4, on the Big Ten
“The conference seems to be very tight this year, especially with Indiana already having a loss and a tie. I’ve seen Penn State play several times and they are a great team even though their record is under .500. They beat Maryland and Indiana. All the teams in the Big Ten are really good teams and Penn State is deservedly getting talked about as a potential NCAA at-large team, and if their record is under .500 it would be the first time that has ever happened.”

### Go Bucks! ###