Sept. 14, 2012

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s soccer team defeated DePaul 2-1 Friday night at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Louie Berra and Kenny Cunninghamtallied the Buckeye scores, lifting the team to its second victory in a row and a 3-3-1 record on the season, while the Blue Demons drop to 2-4-0 on the year.

“We’re very pleased to get a victory here tonight,” John Bluem, Ohio State head coach, said. “[DePaul] scared us with a really strong opening in the first half but we were able to survive and Louie [Berra] scored a nice goal for us to give us a little cushion going into half time. Then in the second half I thought we dominated the game … I am pleased with the progress we’ve made.”

Berra’s goal came midway through the first half and allowed the Buckeyes a little breathing room after a back and forth half. Cunningham then seemingly put the game away in the opening ticks of the 90th minute; however, DePaul added a goal with two seconds remaining to foil what would have been the team’s first shutout of the year.

Alex Wimmermade his fourth start of the season between the pipes and ended the night with eight saves, including one in the 88th minute which kept the Blue Demons from leveling the score at one.

“I was able to get my body in position and make the save, thankfully,” Wimmer said of the stop. “I have to give credit to my team though. They all played great. I just wish we could have come up with the shutout.”

The first 45 minutes featured a plethora of chances for both teams. DePaul forced Wimmer into making six first-half saves on a smattering of point-blank chances in front of the Buckeye net. The Scarlet and Gray also sent several strikes over the net before Austin McAnenaplaced a perfect ball to Berra through the Blue Demon defense late in the half. Berra fired the shot inside the far left post to give Ohio State the 1-0 lead heading into the break.

Heading into intermission with the lead for the first time this year, Bluem had a strong message for his 16th OSU squad.

“I told them at halftime, we needed to develop some personality out there, some swagger,” he said. “Sometimes it feels like we’re playing scared, and if you’re playing scared you’re going to lose. They have to believe in themselves. I’m starting to see it develop a little; it typically comes with winning.”

The swagger exhibited itself on defense in the second half, as the Buckeyes didn’t allow a shot on goal until the final 10 minutes of action. There were still a handful of chances on both sides, eventually building to a wild final three minutes.

Wimmer came up with the stop on Drew Dempsey’s shot from just outside the goal box at 87:19 and another just a few seconds later off a soft header by Dempsey. Some 15 seconds later, Cunningham would make the Blue Demons pay for the near miss, sneaking past the DePaul defense in the final minute to give Ohio State a 2-0 lead. Chris Hegngidrew the Blue Demon keeper Eric Sorby out of the box before passing over to Cunningham to stuff into the open net for his second score of the year.

Thiago Ganacio added the lone DePaul 55 seconds later, with just two seconds left on the clock, by lifting a ball over the head of Wimmer off a pass from Michael Kozielek as the Buckeye defense pushed up in anticipation of the end of the contest.

DePaul finished on top in the shot count 19-15, though the teams were even in corners at seven-all.

Next up for the Buckeyes is Louisville at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18 at Cardinal Park in Louisville, Ky. The Cardinals are currently 3-3 on the season after falling to Kentucky 1-0 Friday night in front of a home crowd of 5,583. Check for video and live information for the OSU-UofL game.