Sep 5, 2013

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s soccer team will face No. 22 Tulsa and SMU this weekend as part of the Holiday Inn City Center Golden Hurricane Classic at the Hurricane Soccer and Track Stadium in Tulsa, Okla. SMU will take on SIU Edwardsville to open tourney action at 6 p.m. ET Friday, followed by the Tulsa-Ohio State contest at approximately 8:30 p.m. The Buckeyes will meet SMU at 1 p.m. Sunday with the Tulsa-SIUE match closing out the weekend.

Both of the Buckeyes’ games in Tulsa can be followed live on Gametracker with the Friday night matchup with the hosts also being streamed live through Hurricane Vision. All means to track the action will be linked from the men’s soccer page on


  • The Buckeyes are 1-1 after finishing second at their early-season tournament, the Bert L. & Iris S. Wolstein Classic, last weekend. They suffered a 2-1 double overtime setback to UNC-Wilmington in the season opener before downing Northern Illinois 2-0 Sunday afternoon.
  • Alex Ivanov, Alex Harrison and Sage Gardner each earned all-tournament honors for their efforts.
  • Gardner leads the Buckeyes early on with one goal, on a penalty kick vs. UNCW, and an assist. Harrison and Ryan Ivancic have accounted for the remaining scores.
  • Ohio State returns four starters in Gardner, a senior captain, juniors Kenny Cunningham and Zach Dobey and sophomore Zach Mason from the 2012 team. John Bluem, who enters his 17th season as head coach of the Buckeyes, welcomes a total of 17 new players to Columbus, including a talented group of nine true freshmen.
  • Cunningham is the leading returning scorer from last season with three goals and an assist to his credit as a sophomore.
  • Ivanov, who has started both games in goal so far this season, made seven starts a year ago, tallying a 1.73 goals-against average with a 2-3-1 record.

Junior goalkeeper Alex Ivanov earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors, the league announced Tuesday. Ivanov played all 194 minutes and made a combined 13 saves in Ohio State’s two home matches against UNC-Wilmington (Aug. 30), a 2-1 double overtime loss, and Northern Illinois (Sept. 1), a 2-0 win for the Buckeyes. The Strongsville, Ohio, native stopped two penalty kick opportunities in the second half to cement the Ohio State’s two-goal win over the Huskies in the finale of the eighth annual Wolstein Classic Sunday. The clean sheet was the first of Ivanov’s career and Ohio State’s first shutout win since Oct. 10, 2012, a span of eight games.

UNC-Wilmington won the eighth annual Wolstein Classic with a 2-0 record last weekend on Bert L. & Iris S. Wolstein Field at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The Seawolves defeated Ohio State, 2-1, in double overtime before edging Cincinnati 1-0. Colin Bonner was the tourney MVP after scoring both goals in UNCW’s win over the Buckeyes. Ohio State (1-1) was second-place team, followed by Northern Illinois (1-1) and Cincinnati (0-2).

The Hurricanes (1-1) dropped a 2-0 decision to No. 6 Creighton, but bounced back and earned a 3-0 win over Drake. Tony Rocha, Kyle Cumings and Bryce Follensbee all scored a goal for TU in the win over the Bulldogs, and Cody Mumma logged all 180 minutes between the posts and earned 11 saves and one shutout. Tulsa finished the 2012 season with 14 wins, a Conference USA tournament title and an appearance in the NCAA round of 16. Fourteen letterwinners, including eight starters, and all eight top scorers return from a year ago. Ohio State is 1-2 all-time against Tulsa with the last meeting coming in the 2008 Penn State Classic, a 2-0 Buckeye win over the then-No.18 Hurricanes.

The Mustangs (0-2) opened the 2013 season with a pair of  losses in Bloomington, Ind. SMU dropped its first contest of the weekend to then-No. 1 Indiana, 2-1, after taking an early lead off a goal from Alfred Koroma. In the second match of the Classic with then-No. 7 Notre Dame, the Mustangs attempted a late comeback with a score from Brenden Lee, but fell 2-1. This is the first meeting between the Mustangs and the Buckeyes.

Ohio State remains on the road for an in-state contest at Bowling Green at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13. The matchup is the first of four-consecutive and five overall games against teams from the state of Ohio. The Falcons are 1-0-1 with games scheduled against Marquette and Milwaukee this weekend.

Beginning with the two games this weekend, Ohio State will face nine teams from the 2012 NCAA tournament, including five who made it to at least the round of 16. Defending national champion Indiana, along with Michigan, Michigan State and Northwestern fill out the Big Ten schedule. Tulsa, SMU, Akron, Louisville and Cleveland State also were all a part of the 48-team field a year ago.

Senior captain Sage Gardner, along with classmate Ben Killian and junior Alec Lowell are among the 21 student-athletes deemed “Players to Watch” by the Big Ten at the start of the season. The team was selected seventh in the preseason coaches’ poll released Aug. 21. Indiana, who is ranked No. 1 in the NSCAA preseason Top 25 poll as the defending national champions, is atop the preseason conference standings. Reigning Big Ten Tournament Champion Michigan State checked in at No. 2 in the preseason poll, followed by No. 3 Northwestern, No. 4 Michigan and No. 5 Penn State. The Wildcats and Nittany Lions shared the Big Ten title in 2012.

Worthington, Ohio, native Sage Gardner is the captain of the 2013 squad. After starting the first three seasons on defense, Gardner has moved into a midfield role as a senior and has three points to his credit in the early goings. He has started all 60 career matches with three goals, all off PKs, and two assists.

Nine freshmen make up the Ohio State men’s soccer team’s rookie class, named No. 29 in the country by College Soccer News prior to the season. The group is the fourth-highest ranked class in the Big Ten behind No. 7 Indiana, No. 8 Michigan and No. 28 Northwestern. All eight freshmen field players saw action in the preseason with many expected to play an integral role in the Buckeyes’ regular-season campaign.

The Buckeyes’ schedule includes 10 matches at Bert L. & Iris S. Wolstein Field at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium this season with home Big Ten action kicking off Oct. 6 against Michigan. Admission is free to all Ohio State men’s soccer regular-season home games.

Four Buckeyes are currently pursuing careers in professional soccer. Roger Espinoza (2007) became the first former Big Ten field player to play in the English Premier League as he helped Wigan Athletic to a FA Cup victory last season. In Major League Soccer, Konrad Warzycha (2007-10) and Matt Lampson (2009-11) each don the Black and Gold for the Columbus Crew, while Eric Brunner (2005-07) is in his first season with the Houston Dynamo.

Ohio State will make at least two appearances on BTN this season. Seven additional home games will be streamed online through with the remaining three available via BuckeyeVision on The Buckeyes open the Big Ten schedule Sept. 29, taking on defending national champion and preseason No. 1 Indiana in Bloomington, Ind. The 2 p.m. ET match will be broadcast live on BTN. The squad also will appear on BTN at Michigan State Oct. 13 at 1 p.m. The semifinals and final of the Big Ten Championship, hosted by Ohio State Nov. 13-17, also will be shown live on BTN.

John Bluem, the winningest coach in OSU program history, is in his 17th season at the helm of the Buckeyes. The three-time Big Ten Coach of the Year holds a 167-119-43 (.573) record at Ohio State. His career record, which includes six seasons at Fresno State, stands at 253-146-55 for a .618 winning percentage.