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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 18-ranked Ohio State men’s soccer team closes out exhibition play against Notre Dame Saturday at the ShindigZ National Soccer Festival in Fort Wayne, Ind. The Buckeyes and Irish will square off at 8:10 p.m. at the Hefner Sports Complex as part of the Soccerpalooza event that features over 20 collegiate soccer teams, including all seven men’s programs from the Big Ten, in a three-day event, Aug. 27-29.

Tickets for the entire weekend are $10 for adults and $5 for students. Go to http://fwsoccerpalooza.com/ for more information on the event.

The Buckeyes are 2-0 in 2010 preseason action after defeating Mount Vernon Nazarene, 2-1, Aug. 21 and Cleveland State, 3-1, Aug. 24. Sophomore Chris Hegngi has tallied two goals in exhibition play, finding the back of the net once in each contest, while Sam Scales and Matt Gold have each added single goals. Cleveland State gave up an own goal to account for the remaining Buckeye score.

Expectations are high for the defending Big Ten champions as they head into 2010. The Buckeyes were tabbed the preseason favorite for the conference championship by the league coaches earlier this week and are being viewed as a national threat as well. They are ranked in the Top 20 by three polls thus far, including College Soccer News (No. 10), Soccer America (No. 14) and the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (No. 18). Ohio State acknowledges the NSCAA poll as its “official” ranking throughout the season.

Notre Dame, picked No. 18 by Soccer America, knocked off UIC, 3-2, Monday in its first exhibition match. Netting goals for the Fighting Irish were Aaron Maund, Michael Rose and Danny O’Leary. The Irish will pull double duty at the National Soccer Festival, facing host IPFW at 2 p.m. Sunday.

The Scarlet & Gray open the regular season with the Bert & Iris Wolstein Classic Sept. 3 and 5 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Penn State opens tournament action against Buffalo at 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 3, followed by the Buckeyes and College of Charleston at 7:30 p.m. On Sunday, the teams swap opponents with the Nittany Lions taking on CofC at noon before Ohio State and Buffalo close out the weekend at 2:30 p.m. Admission to the Wolstein Classic, and to all Buckeye regular-season home games, is free.

Last season, Ohio State posted a 12-5-4 record (4-2 Big Ten) en route to becoming the Big Ten regular-season and tournament champions and earning the fourth-seed in the NCAA Tournament. Eight starters and 19 letterwinners return from that squad, while seven talented newcomers join head coach John Bluem for his 14th season at the helm.