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Oct. 11, 2004

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SETTING THE SCENE
The Ohio State men’s soccer team takes a step out of Big Ten play Wednesday as the Buckeyes welcome Louisville to Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Ohio State (5-4-1, 2-0-0 Big Ten) has won four of its last five games and is coming of back-to-back Big Ten shutouts. Since dropping a pair of matches in early September to then-Top-10 ranked Wake Forest and North Carolina, the Buckeyes are 5-2-1.

Louisville (4-4-3) has recorded all of its wins at home this season but is 0-3-2 on the road or at neutral sites. The Cardinals have some impressive results this season, including a 1-1 tie with then-No. 13 Michigan and a 2-2 tie at Marquette.

Ohio State is coming off a 2-0 shutout over Michigan State Sunday to get above the .500 mark and improve to 2-0-0 in the Big Ten. The victory should elevate the Buckeyes in the NSCAA Great Lakes regional poll, which will be released Tuesday, as Michigan State was 7-2-1 overall and ranked sixth in the same region prior to the match.

Louisville marks the third and final match of a three-game home stand for Ohio State. The Buckeyes will have one home match remaining on their schedule after Wednesday, that coming Oct. 24 at 2:30 p.m. against defending national champion Indiana.

BLUEM TIES CAREER WINS RECORD
Ohio State head coach John Bluem won his 72nd career game Sunday as the Buckeyes shut out Michigan State, 2-0. That ties Bluem for the all-time record held jointly by Al Bianco (1979-86) and Gary Avedikian (1987-96).

Overall at OSU, Bluem is 72-59-17 in his eighth year. His .544 winning percentage at OSU is the highest in program history. In his career, which includes six seasons at Fresno State, Bluem is 158-86-29 (.632).

NOTING THE WIN OVER MICHIGAN ST.
Sunday’s 2-0 win over Michigan State marked the second time in the last three years and the fifth time in the last eight years Ohio State has opened 2-0 in the Big Ten.

Buckeye goalkeeper Ray Burse Jr. collected a career-high nine saves in the match, topping his total of seven set in the win vs. Wisconsin Oct. 3 when he was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week. Junior Kyle Veris, playing his second consecutive match in the defensive line, scored a goal and had an assist. Sophomore Taylor Korpieski had the assist, his third of the season, on Veris’ goal, while senior Justin Cook scored a goal in the second half for his team-leading fifth of the season and 26th of his career.

“Today we played great for the entire 90 minutes,” head coach John Bluem said. “Our consistency and intensity was with us all game. It feels great to shut out a solid Big Ten team in Michigan State – they are a very dangerous team. Our guys should be proud of what they did today. It has been a long time since this team has been over .500.”

BUCKEYES STATISTICALLY SPEAKING
Ohio State holds the edge in nearly every category on the statistics sheet. The Buckeyes have out-scored their opponents, 20-16, and out-shot the opposition, 128-111 (avg., 12.8-11.1). OSU has put 65 of their shots on goal compared to 55 for its opponents. The Buckeyes have also had more corner kicks, 42-41, and committed fewer fouls, 132-150.

OSU IN THE BIG TEN RANKINGS
The Buckeyes are one of two undefeated teams in the Big Ten along with Indiana (8-2-1 overall, 3-0-0 Big Ten). Ohio State has taken the fewest shots in the league, but rank fourth in goals scored (2.0 gpg). OSU’s three shutouts are tied for third in the Big Ten, while the Buckeyes are tied for third in saves (3.9 spg) and are sixth in corners (4.2 cpg).

Individually, Ohio State’s Justin Cook ranks third in shots (3.6 spg), seventh in points (1.3 ppg) and eighth in goals (0.5 gpg). Cook and Kyle Veris are tied for fourth in the Big Ten in game-winning goals with two each. Ray Burse Jr. ranks fifth in total saves (24).

OSU SCORING SURPASSES 2003
The biggest area of improvement for the Buckeyes in 2004 is unquestionably their offensive attack. After a 2003 season in which Ohio State struggled to score goals (13 goals scored, shut out 11 times), the Buckeyes surpassed that goal total Sept. 24 and have been shut out just once (by then-No. 8 Wake Forest).

“We’re definitely more dangerous this year, which makes us a harder team to play against,” Bluem said. “As long as you have the ability to get forward and put pressure on the other team, they have to play more conservatively and keep people back because they are concerned about you scoring goals against them. We didn’t have that threat a year ago, so teams were able to shut us down with fewer numbers.”

NOTING THE BUCKEYES
Senior captain Justin Cook leads Ohio State in scoring this season with 13 points off five goals and three assists. He has 26 career goals (4th all-time) and 13 career assists (6th all-time).

Freshman Xavier Balc and sophomore Taylor Korpieski have nine points each from three goals and three assists, while junior Kyle Veris has eight points from three goals and two assists.

Four Buckeyes have started all 10 matches so far this season, including Korpieski, senior Eric Schwebach and sophomores Brent Rohrer and Dustin Kirby. Rohrer’s three assists are tied for tops on the team with Cook, Balc and Korpieski.

Cook’s 36 shots are most on the team, as are his 16 shots on goal this season. Veris is close behind with 14 SOG.

Junior goalkeeper Ray Burse Jr. owns a 1.11 goals against average and has 24 saves. He has back-to-back shutouts in Big Ten play and owns a 3-1-0 overall record. Freshman goalkeeper Casey Latchem played all 470 minutes of the first five matches and has a 1.92 GAA and 15 saves on the season.

A LOOK AT LOUISVILLE
Coming off an 11-7-3 season in 2003, which marked one of the best in school history, Louisville began the 2004 campaign 3-1-2, but is 1-2-2 since. Those two recent ties, however, Sept. 29 at Marquette and Oct. 3 vs. Michigan, prove that Louisville is not a team on the decline and is very much a talented squad.

The Cardinals and Buckeyes share one common opponent so far this season, that being Kentucky. Ohio State lost, 2-1, at Kentucky Sept. 26, while Louisville lost at home to the Wildcats, 2-0, Sept. 7.

The Cardinals are 4-4-3 overall and are coming off a 1-0 win over DePaul Saturday. Ninth year head coach Tony Colavecchia returned eight starters this year, but key losses in the offseason included leading scorer Simon Bird (12 g., 5 a., 29 pts.). Three different players have seen time in goal this season, with Tyler Wilcox owning a team-best 0.29 GAA, while Charles Edwards has collected a team-best 34 saves.

David Guzman (3 g., 2 a., 8 pts.) and Justin Pierre (3 g., 0 a., 6 pts.) lead the Cardinals in scoring in 2004.

OSU HISTORY VS. LOUISVILLE
The all-time series between Ohio State and Louisville is tied at 4-4. When playing in Columbus, however, the Buckeyes are undefeated against Louisville, owning a 3-0 advantage. When these two teams last met in Columbus, Ohio State senior Peter Withers, then a sophomore, scored the game-winning goal in overtime to give OSU a 1-0 win. Listed below are the all-time results in the series.

Year Location Winner Score 2003 Louisville Louisville 1-0 2002 Columbus Ohio State 1-0 (ot) 1994 Louisville Ohio State 1-0 1989 Louisville Louisville 1-0 1988 Columbus Ohio State 1-0 1987 Louisville Louisville 2-1 1986 Columbus Ohio State 2-1 1985 Louisville Louisville 2-1

LAST YEAR VS. THE CARDINALS
Ohio State dropped a 1-0 decision at Louisville last season to end a three-game road trip for the Buckeyes. OSU equaled Louisville in total shots (9) and shots on goal (3), but saw the Cardinals tally a long-range goal in the 77th minute.

“We played well defensively and played well at midfield,” John Bluem, Ohio State head coach, said after the match. “But we didn’t create many chances to score. It was a very even game, but our failure in the final third of the field led to us not having any good chances to score. It was a very hard, defensive game.”

Louisville leading scorer Simon Bird provided the game-winning goal for the Cardinals as he collected the rebound off a cleared corner kick and fired a shot from 30 yards out.

BUCKEYES-CARDINALS CONNECTIONS
Ohio State’s Kevin Nugent and Louisville’s Mike Baughn were classmates and teammates at Centerville (Ohio) High School. OSU’s Eric Schwebach and Louisville’s Ryan Meyer, Jonathan Williams and Anthont Keller are all from just outside Minneapolis, Minn.

Ohio State goalkeeper Ray Burse Jr. is from Prospect, Ky. He played club soccer for Javanon along with Louisville players Tyler Wilcox, Nathaniel Gerstle, Ryan Pomeroy, Clay Talley and Joey Watson.

BURSE RECEIVES BIG TEN HONORS
Buckeye goalkeeper Ray Burse Jr. was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week Oct. 4 as he collected a career-high seven saves in leading the Buckeyes to a 1-0 shutout over Wisconsin.

“It means a lot, but more importantly we’re 1-0 in the Big Ten and the team played well,” Burse said. “Hopefully it’ll continue into this weekend against Michigan State.”

Burse had three saves in the first half and then four saves in the second half. He went horizontal into the upper left corner of the net for a pair of saves in the 61st and 64th minutes and his one-handed deflection of a Badger shot with one second remaining in the match sealed the win for the Buckeyes.

BUCKEYES SET JOMS SCORING MARK
The Buckeyes established a new Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium scoring record Sept. 24 with their seven-goal output against Bowling Green. The goal total topped OSU’s previous facility record of five goals scored against Denison in 2001 and is the most goals scored overall since a 7-3 win at Wisconsin in 1999.

ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM HONORS
Justin Cook and 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. Korpieski and Dustin Kirby were named to the All-Tournament team of the Ohio State Classic, Sept. 3-5.

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 ON WEB
Ohio State’s student radio station, KBUX, will broadcast the game Wednesday vs. Louisville. Their call can be heard live 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, statistics and players of the week.

SEASON BEGAN WITH TOP-10 FOES
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. 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 could end up being 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. So far in 2004, Buckeye opponents have combined to have a 79-60-22 overall record (.559) and three are currently ranked in the NSCAA Top 25.

OSU COACHES COMMENTS
Head Coach John Bluem

Oct. 5, on appearing in the regional poll
“It would be great to string together some more wins still and move up in the regional poll. Just about everyone in the regional poll is on our schedule, so it gives you an opportunity that if you beat the teams on your schedule you’ll be ranked in the region. It’s a show of respect and a show of results. People are now recognizing that even though we’re 4-4-1, we’ve played a very tough schedule.”

Oct. 5, on the OSU offensive improvement
“We’re definitely more dangerous this year, which makes us a harder team to play against. As long as you have the ability to get forward and put pressure on the other team, they have to play more conservatively and keep people back because they are concerned about you scoring goals against them. We didn’t have that threat a year ago so teams were able to shut us down with fewer numbers.”

### Go Bucks! ###