Oct. 23, 2012

Box Score |  Photo Gallery 

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Despite a spirited second half of play, the Ohio State men’s soccer fell to second-ranked Akron, 1-0, Tuesday night in front of a season-high 2,125 fans at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium and a national television audience on BTN. The Buckeyes drop to 6-9-1 on the season, while the Zips extend their winning streak to eight games and improve to 12-1-2.

“We had a good game tonight,” John Bluem, Ohio State head coach, said. “We followed our game plan and did exactly what we wanted to do, except gave them the goal and got down 0-1, even though our goal was to shut them out. We weren’t sure we could score on them, although we actually had a lot of good opportunities. I’m surprised we didn’t get a goal. It was a great effort by the team.”

Reinaldo Brenes scored the lone goal of the match, sending a shot into the lower right 90 midway into the 52nd minute. Teammate Wil Trapp had his shot saved by OSU goalkeeper Alex Wimmer, but the rebound found its way back into play and Brenes buried it for his team-leading ninth goal of the season.

Playing with the deficit, the Buckeyes stepped up their game and produced a myriad of opportunities down the stretch. In the 66th minute, Austin McAnena had a point-blank shot stopped by David Meves, but followed it up with a corner kick opportunity and another close call from Chris Gomez, whose attempt was swept off the line by a UA defender.

Gomez had a team-high three shots on the night after sending a rocket over the crossbar in the second minute and having a close-range blast stopped in the 48th minute by Meves, who finished the night with seven saves, all but one of which came in the second half. Chris Hegngi also got in on the action in the 48th, having his own shot saved by the Zips’ keeper.

“We thought restarts, dead balls and corner kicks might be a way to get chances,” Bluem said of the missed opportunities. “We had some good opportunities and made some plays. I think it was one of our best games of the year. Our players bought into having to defend and fight hard; sometimes that’s what you have to do to a team of that quality.”

Akron had a smattering of chances to stretch their lead to two in the second period, but Wimmer came up with a handful of tremendous saves to finish with a career-high nine for the night. One of his most impressive stops came in the first half, however, when he squelched Scott Caldwell’s shot with 1:29 to play until the intermission.

The Zips finished on top in the shot count 18-14, though the Buckeyes held a 10-8 advantage in the second half and a 4-2 margin in corner kicks for the match.

The Buckeyes return to action at 1 p.m. Sunday against Penn State in University Park, Pa., before returning home to wrap up the regular season a week later, at 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4, vs. Wisconsin. Admission to the game vs. the Badgers, which will serve as senior day, is free.