Buckeyes win on penalty kicks, 5-4, as Balc and Latchem share MVP honors

EAST LANSING, Mich. The Big Ten Championship trophy is on its way back to Columbus as the 18th-ranked and No. 2-seed Ohio State men’s soccer team upset No. 9 and top-seed Indiana in a penalty kick shootout Sunday at Old College Field in East Lansing. The Buckeyes (13-3-5) are now unbeaten in their last 11 games and will find out Nov. 19 how their NCAA championship journey will begin. 

The Big Ten title is the second for Ohio State and first since 2000. Senior forward Xavier Balc was named the championship’s Most Valuable Offensive Player while senior goalkeeper Casey Latchem, who notched his school-record 24th-career shutout,  earned Most Valuable Defensive Player honors.

For the second time this season, Ohio State and Indiana (13-4-4) battled to a 0-0  tie through double-over, but Sunday, with an NCAA automatic bid on the line, the Buckeyes pulled out a 5-4 shootout victory to send them to the NCAA championship for the fifth time this decade with their second automatic bid.

“The whole weekend was fantastic. These guys were unbelievable they deserve all the credit,” John Bluem, Ohio State head coach, said. “Last year, we thought we were in the NCAA tournament but didn’t get in so it is nice to have that automatic bid. So now, on Nov. 19 when we watch the selection show we will just be waiting to see where we are seeded.”

The result will go down as a 0-0 tie but the thrilling shootout that followed the second overtime was one for the ages. Both teams converted four-of-five penalty kicks to remain deadlocked after the first shootout period. The match then went to sudden death, where Latchem saved the PK taken by Indiana’s Kevin Noschang but Indiana goalkeeper Chay Cain saved Ohio State’s following game-winning attempt to extend the match.

But once again, Latchem saved the Hoosiers’ attempt by Daniel Kelly and when OSU sophomore Doug Verhoff drilled the back of the net with his attempt, the Buckeyes and their fans celebrated on the field as the Big Ten Network’s national television audience looked on.

“It’s rare to see three penalty kicks get saved like that,” Bluem said of Latchem’s heroics. “In our last 11 games, we have only allowed three goals. Casey is having a nice end to his career.”

Before Verhoff’s game-ending conversion, Ohio State got successful PKs from Balc, junior Danny Irizarry, junior Tim Gabel and senior Eric Brunner.

“This was one of the best games I’ve ever played,” Latchem said. “It went back and forth and I was thinking during overtime if this goes to a shootout I can do this. I have always like shootouts for some reason, but our defense was just outstanding today and that includes our midfielders.”
The game was a rematch of the 2006 Big Ten Championship which Indiana won, 1-0.

“It was a physical game so we had to keep a solid defensive gameplan,” Balc said. “It’s a tremendous honor to be Big Ten champions so both teams wanted it so we had to match their intensity and try to top it. The guys who were here last year know Indiana is a good team. We tried to put them away in regulation but it came down to penalty kicks and we are happy either way.”

“We were sitting in the hotel room this morning talking about how we thought we are just as good a team as Indiana,” Latchem said. “That showed on the field today. Give credit to Indiana they are a good team. But to come back and win the game in a shootout, it is like a fairytale.”

Postgame Notes: No. 18 Ohio State 0, No. 9 Indiana 0
Big Ten Championship game Ohio State wins, 5-4, on penalty kicks
– Ohio State won its second Big Ten championship Sunday and first since 2000.
– Although Indiana leads the all-time series with Ohio State 43-2-3, the Buckeyes have played to a draw in three of the last five games.
– The Buckeyes are 8-0-3 in their last 11 games to build on their school-record unbeaten streak.
– Senior Casey Latchem did not allow a goal in three games this weekend at the Big Ten championship.
– Latchem’s shutout Sunday is his 12th of the season, establishing a new Ohio State single-season record. Latchem also became the school’s career shutouts leader with 24.
– The Buckeyes are now 4-2-2 this season against ranked opponents.
– Ohio State is now 2-2 in Big Ten Championship games. The Buckeyes lost to Indiana 1-0 in 1997, beat Penn State 3-2 in overtime in 2000, lost to Indiana 1-0 in 2006 and beat Indiana on penalty kicks Sunday.
– Ohio State’s 13 wins this season are a new school record, surpassing the previous record of 12 wins set by teams in 1986, 2000 and 2004.
– Ohio State is now 14-15 all-time in the Big Ten Championship and 7-5 as the No. 2 seed.

                          Soccer Game Summary (Final)
                          2007 Ohio State Men’s Soccer
       #18 Ohio State vs. #9 Indiana (Nov 11, 2007 at East Lansing, Mich.)

 Ohio State (13-3-5) vs. Indiana (13-4-4)
 Date: Nov 11, 2007  

 Goals by period       1  2 OT O2  Tot
 Ohio State……….  0  0  0  0 –  0
 Indiana………….  0  0  0  0 –  0
 Shots: Ohio State 21, Indiana 19
 Saves: Ohio State 5 (Latchem, Casey 5), Indiana 9 (Cain, Chay 9)
 Ohio State wins 5-4 in penalty kicks
 Ohio State wins 2007 Big Ten Championship

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Contact: Tim Stried,