Oct. 21, 2004

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The top two teams in the Big Ten will do battle at 2:30 p.m. Sunday in Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium as the Ohio State men’s soccer team hosts defending national champion Indiana. The winner of the match Sunday between the Buckeyes (7-4-2, 3-0-0 Big Ten) and eighth-ranked Hoosiers (10-3-1, 4-1-0 Big Ten) will take over sole possession of first place in the Big Ten.

Ohio State is ranked No. 10 in the Great Lakes regional poll and is 6-1-1 in its last eight games. Indiana is No. 2 in the same region and, despite the Hoosiers’ loss to Northwestern a week ago, which marked their first Big Ten regular season loss since 1995, the Buckeyes know they have their work cut out for them if they hope to knock off IU.

“I still believe Indiana is the best team in our conference,” John Bluem, Ohio State head coach, said. “They’re just a quality team with a number of offensive weapons and great defenders. I anticipate that it will be a great challenge and we are going to have to be sharp and at our best to stay with them.”

The match will be highlighted by a pregame ceremony honoring Ohio State’s four seniors, Justin Cook, Eric Schwebach, Sammy Tamporello and Peter Withers, as they play in their final home game as Buckeyes.

Ohio State and Indiana are both on top of the Big Ten standings, depending on how you look at the leader board. With four wins, Indiana leads in points (12) but Ohio State, at 3-0-0, leads in winning percentage (1.000).

“I think this is the first time we’ve played Indiana when we are undefeated in league play and they have a loss,” Bluem said. “It gives us the possibility where if we win or tie we could control our own destiny. We still have two tough Big Ten games to play on the road, of course, but it’s exciting to have a chance to win the conference regular season title for the first time in Ohio State history.”

Ohio State and Indiana rank among the Big Ten leaders in nearly every league statistic. In Big Ten games only, the Buckeyes rank first in goals scored (2.0 gpg) and fewest goals allowed (0.0 gpg), while the Hoosiers rank second in both categories (1.6 gpg, 0.8 gapg).

For the first time since 1998, Ohio State is 3-0-0 in the Big Ten. Thanks to Northwestern’s 1-0 win at Indiana Sunday, the Buckeyes own the best winning percentage in the conference at 1.000, though Indiana’s 12 points from a 4-1 record remain atop the league standings.

“We still have three very difficult games ahead of us, but it’s nice to have put together some good results through the first half of the conference season,” Bluem said. “That will help with our confidence to know that we’re competitive and have a great chance at doing well in the Big Ten.”

Ohio State’s student radio station, The Underground ( will broadcast the OSU-Indiana match Sunday with Jeff Svoboda bringing the call. At that Web site, there are also archived Buckeye highlight clips.

Live stats from all Buckeye home matches are available at the men’s soccer page at Also available at that location are statistics, bios, archives and much more. Visit for the latest information from around the Big Ten Conference, including the weekly press release, statistics and players of the week.

Ohio State head coach John Bluem won his school-record 73rd career game Oct. 17 as the Buckeyes shut out Penn State, 3-0. The victory moves Bluem past Al Bianco (1979-86) and Gary Avedikian (1987-96), who both had 72 wins in their tenures.

“We have had some great players at Ohio State and it’s an honor to hold that record at such a great institution,” Bluem said. “I have had the good fortune to work in a fully funded program and with great facilities. Ohio State has great tradition in soccer and has had some great coaches and to be at the top of that list is quite an honor.”

Overall at OSU, Bluem is 74-59-18 in his eighth year. His .550 winning percentage at OSU is the highest in program history. In his career, which includes six seasons at Fresno State, Bluem is 160-86-30 (.635).

The Big Ten announced Monday senior Justin Cook was named the Offensive Player of the Week and junior Ray Burse Jr. was named the co-Defensive Player of the Week. Cook scored all three goals in the win Sunday to collect his first career hat trick. Burse, meanwhile, tied an Ohio State record with his fourth consecutive shutout. He had a pair of saves in the match to go along with two saves Wednesday in Ohio State’s 0-0 draw vs. Louisville.

“I would like to thank the Big Ten for recognizing the performances of Justin and Ray,” Bluem said. “Ray had an outstanding week and even though the award is an individual honor, he led our defense to a great team effort. For Justin, he had an exceptional game. He is a very difficult player to mark and with a hat trick, the first of his career, it is a well-deserved award.”

The conference weekly honor is the third of Cook’s career and the second for Burse, whose shutout string began Oct. 3 with a 1-0 win over Wisconsin, for which he was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week, as well. Burse shares the honor this week with Northwestern goalkeeper Justin Pines.

Ohio State holds the edge in nearly every category on the statistics sheet. The Buckeyes have out-scored their opponents, 25-17, and out-shot the opposition, 171-138 (13.2-10.6 avg.). OSU has put 81 of their shots on goal compared to 64 for its opponents. The Buckeyes have committed fewer fouls, 181-218.

The Buckeyes are the lone undefeated team in the Big Ten at 3-0-0 and are also the only team in the league to have yet allowed a goal in conference play. In Big Ten games only, Ohio State is ranked first in goals scored (2.0 gpg) and first in fewest goals allowed (0.0 gapg). OSU is tied for first in goalkeeper saves (6.0 spg). OSU has committed the second-fewest fouls (13.7 fpg) and the fewest yellow cards (.7 ypg). Individually in Big Ten games only, Justin Cook leads the league in points per game (2.7 ppg) and goals per game (1.3 gpg). Ray Burse Jr. leads ranks second in saves per game (6.0 spg), first in shutouts (3) and goals against average (0.00 GAA).

In all games in statistics as of Oct. 19, Ohio State is tied for third in goals scored (1.9 gpg), fifth in goals allowed (1.3 gapg), second in shutouts (5), tied for fifth in corners (4.9 cpg) and has committed the second-fewest fouls (13.6 fpg). Individually in all games, Cook is tied for fourth in points (1.6 ppg) and tied for third in goals (.7 gpg), while Burse is second in both saves (4.0 spg) and goals against average (0.74 GAA).

Three Indiana players are from central Ohio, including Danny O’Rourke (Columbus/Worthington Kilbourne), Doug Reisinger (Lewis Center/St. Francis DeSales) and Erek Kozlowski (Westerville/St. Francis DeSales). Reisinger and OSU’s Taylor Korpieski were teammates in club soccer with the Ohio Thunder. Ohio State’s Ryan Kustos was high school teammates at Lakota West near Cincinnati with Indiana players John Mellencamp and Kevin Noschang.

Ohio State’s Ray Burse Jr. was high school teammates at St. Xavier H.S. in Louisville, Ky., with IU’s Chris Pomeroy. OSU’s Reid Traeger and IU’s Jay Nolly are both from Littleton, Colo. OSU’s Sammy Tamporello and IU’s Drew Moor are both from Texas, while Buckeyes Ben Oliver and Antonio Garcia and IU’s Brad Yuska are all from California. OSU’s Casey Latchem and IU’s Jacob Peterson were teammates in club soccer with the Michigan Wolves.

Ohio State is coming off a 2-1 win at Oakland Wednesday. The Buckeyes scored a pair of second half goals to overcome a 1-0 halftime deficit and improve to 6-1-1 in their last eight matches. The win marked Ohio State’s third consecutive win over a team ranked in the NSCAA Great Lakes regional poll. Oakland saw its record slip to 8-3-2 with the loss.

“We weren’t real sharp in the first half and they got a goal on a restart,” Bluem said. “That fired us up a little bit and in the second half we got going. Our defending was good, especially in the second half.” Justin Cook scored the equalizing goal in the 57th minute off an assist from Xavier Balc and Peter Withers, then Cook assisted on the game-winning goal by Taylor Korpieski in the 74th minute. Ray Burse Jr. had three saves and sophomore Dustin Kirby saved an Oakland shot in the 13th minute that got past Burse.

Ohio State has yet to allow a goal in Big Ten play and has allowed just one goal in the month of October. With four consecutive shutouts to begin the month, the Buckeyes tied a school record.

Senior captain Justin Cook leads Ohio State in scoring this season with 22 points off nine goals and four assists. He has 30 career goals (3rd all-time) and 15 career assists (5th all-time). He has a pair of five-point games and one six-point game this season.

Sophomore Taylor Korpieski ranks second on the squad in scoring with 12 points from four goals and four assists. Freshman Xavier Balc has ten points from three goals and four assists. Junior Kyle Veris has eight points from three goals and two assists.

Four Buckeyes have started all 11 matches so far this season, including Korpieski, senior Eric Schwebach and sophomores Brent Rohrer and Dustin Kirby. Rohrer has three assists.

Junior goalkeeper Ray Burse Jr., who tied an Ohio State record earlier this season with four consecutive shutouts, owns a 0.78 goals against average and has 31 saves. He owns a 5-1-1 overall record. Freshman goalkeeper Casey Latchem played all 470 minutes of the first five matches and has a 1.92 GAA and 15 saves on the season.

Indiana, the defending national champion, returns nine starters this season, including All-Big Ten selections GK Jay Nolly, MID Danny O’Rourke, MID Brian Plotkin, DEF Drew Moor, FWD Jacob Peterson and co-Freshman of the Year DEF Jed Zayner. Following their run to the 2003 College Cup, head coach Jerry Yeagley retired after 31 seasons after becoming the all-time winningest coach in NCAA soccer history. New head coach Michael Freitag, an 11-year Hoosier assistant coach and former IU All-American, has kept Indiana in the national spotlight with a 10-3-1 record thus far and a Top 10 national ranking for most of the season (currently No. 8).

Indiana suffered a 1-0 loss at home to Northwestern last Sunday, which snapped a pair of historic Hoosier streaks, including a 50-match conference regular season unbeaten streak and IU’s 31-game home unbeaten streak. Since a 5-0 start to the season and a No. 1 national ranking, Indiana is 5-3-1, though two of those losses were at UC-Santa Barbara and New Mexico, both of which are now ranked in the Top-5.

Indiana remains atop the Big Ten points standings with 12 points from a 4-1 league record. In conference games only, the Hoosiers rank second in goals (1.6 gpg, OSU ranks first, 2.0 gpg) and second in fewest goals allowed per game (0.9 gapg, OSU ranks first, 0.0 gapg). Peterson ranks fourth in the Big Ten in points per game (1.8 ppg, OSU’s Cook ranks first with 2.7 ppg), while Nolly ranks second in goals against average (0.80 GAA, OSU’s Burse ranks first with 0.00 GAA).

Indiana, with 10 Big Ten championships, six national championships, owns an all-time Big Ten record of 66-5-3.

Ohio State has defeated Indiana just twice in the 41 meetings between these two schools. The Buckeyes’ last victory over the Hoosiers came during the 2000 Big Ten Tournament in Columbus, 1-0. Listed below are the last seven meetings between OSU and IU.

Year Location Winner Score 2003 Bloomington Indiana 3-0 2002 Columbus Indiana 4-2 2001 Bloomington Indiana 1-0 2000 Columbus Ohio State 1-0 2000 Columbus Indiana 1-0 1999 Bloomington Indiana 2-1 1998 Columbus Indiana 1-0, ot

Ohio State saw host Indiana score three goals in a 12-minute span to take a 3-0 win over the Buckeyes in Bloomington, Ind., last season. Ohio State held the Hoosiers to four shots in the first half as the game remained scoreless at halftime, but Indiana, owners of the Big Ten’s top-ranked offense, found the back of the net six minutes into the second half and scored two more goals in six minute intervals.

“We played well in the first half,” Bluem said after the match. “We were a little tired from the Wednesday-Sunday, Wednesday-Sunday schedule from the past two weeks and we just ran out of gas. Indiana is playing well right now.”

Indiana’s goals came from Brian Plotkin (51:11), Julian Dieterle (57:10) and Jacob Peterson (63:12) as the Hoosiers collected seven shots in the second half to out-shoot Ohio State 11-5 for the match, marking the only Big Ten contest of the season in which the Buckeyes were out-shot.

Three Ohio State players have been nominated for Academic All-America honors, including seniors Eric Schwebach and Peter Withers and sophomore Jim Fisher. To be nominated, players must have a minimum grade point average of 3.20. All three OSU nominees are business majors in the prestigious Ohio State Fisher College of Business.

Following the match vs. Indiana Sunday, Ohio State will finish out the 2004 season on the road. From Sept. 24 to Oct. 13, the Buckeyes played four of five games at home in Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, but from that point on, only one of their six regular season matches is at home (Sunday vs. Indiana). OSU will travel to Michigan for the Big Ten tournament.

Ohio State’s win at 20th-ranked Penn State Sunday was record-setting on many fronts. For starters, it marked the Buckeyes’ first win over a ranked team since a 3-2 double-overtime win at No. 5 St. John’s on Oct. 28, 2001. The win also elevated Ohio State to 3-0-0 in the Big Ten for the first time since 1998.

The win was the 73rd at Ohio State for head coach John Bluem, setting a new program record (see earlier note). All three goals were scored by senior forward Justin Cook, marking his first career hat trick and giving him 29 career goals, which ranks third all-time at OSU. The shutout was the fourth in a row for junior goalkeeper Ray Burse Jr., which tied an Ohio State record.

Buckeye goalkeeper Ray Burse Jr. was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week Oct. 4 as he collected a career-high seven saves in leading the Buckeyes to a 1-0 shutout over Wisconsin.

“It means a lot, but more importantly we’re 1-0 in the Big Ten and the team played well,” Burse said. “Hopefully it’ll continue into this weekend against Michigan State.”

Burse had three saves in the first half and then four saves in the second half. He went horizontal into the upper left corner of the net for a pair of saves in the 61st and 64th minutes and his one-handed deflection of a Badger shot with one second remaining in the match sealed the win for the Buckeyes.

The Buckeyes established a new Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium scoring record Sept. 24 with their seven-goal output against Bowling Green. The goal total topped OSU’s previous facility record of five goals scored against Denison in 2001 and is the most goals scored overall since a 7-3 win at Wisconsin in 1999.

The Buckeyes’ schedule in 2004 could end up being even tougher than their 2003 schedule, which was ranked as the eighth-toughest in the nation at the end of the season. Ohio State’s 2004 opponents posted a .627 winning percentage last year with an overall record of 195-106-49. Seven of those teams were among the 48-member 2003 NCAA Tournament field.

Head Coach John Bluem
Oct. 18, on Ohio State’s four consecutive shutouts
“It has taken us awhile, but we have hit a nice level of consistency. The guys are excited about what’s happening. We have finally found a system that has our best players all on the field together.

“Moving Kyle Veris to a central defensive role was a big key. It was kind of an experiment, but he has played every minute there since then and established himself as an important part of the team. It also allowed Balc to move up to a forward spot and he has done very well there. We have also been injury free.”

Oct. 17, on becoming OSU’s all-time wins leader
“We have had some great players at Ohio State and it’s an honor to hold that record at such a great institution. I have had the good fortune to work in a fully funded program and with great facilities. Ohio State has great tradition in soccer and has had some great coaches and to be at the top of that list is quite an honor.”

Oct. 17, on being 3-0-0 in the Big Ten
“We still have three very difficult games ahead of us, but it’s nice to have put together some good results through the first half of the conference season. That will help with our confidence to know that we’re competitive and have a great chance at doing well in the Big Ten.”

Oct. 5, on appearing in the regional poll
“It would be great to string together some more wins still and move up in the regional poll. Just about everyone in the regional poll is on our schedule, so it gives you an opportunity that if you beat the teams on your schedule you’ll be ranked in the region. It’s a show of respect and a show of results. People are now recognizing that even though we’re 4-4-1, we’ve played a very tough schedule.”

Oct. 5, on the OSU offensive improvement
“We’re definitely more dangerous this year, which makes us a harder team to play against. As long as you have the ability to get forward and put pressure on the other team, they have to play more conservatively and keep people back because they are concerned about you scoring goals against them. We didn’t have that threat a year ago so teams were able to shut us down with fewer numbers.”

Sept. 28, on the start of Big Ten play
“The league is going to be very close this year. There are outstanding teams in the league this year. There was a week when we had three teams in the Top 10. There is no easy game in the Big Ten Conference. We want to finish in the upper third of the conference standings at the end of the season. That means you have to get good results at home and try to pick up some points on the road, as well.”

At the conclusion of every Ohio State home match, Buckeye players will be available for autographs along the west side of Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Kids, to register for your chance to be an honorary captain at a future Buckeye home men’s soccer game, visit the men’s soccer page at

### Go Bucks!!! ###