Oct. 21, 2005

Complete Release in PDF Format
Download Free Acrobat Reader

Another challenging trip into Armstrong Stadium in Bloomington, Ind., awaits the Ohio State men’s soccer team Sunday as the Buckeyes face two-time defending national champion and sixth-ranked Indiana at 3:30 p.m. (EDT). In a match-up of the 2004 Big Ten regular season co-champions, Ohio State (8-6-1, 1-2-0 Big Ten) is making its final road trip of the regular season, while Indiana (9-1-4, 2-1-2 Big Ten) is playing its final Big Ten game.

GameTracker will have the match live at

The Buckeyes are 3-2 in their last five games and are coming off a 3-2 win over Oakland Wednesday night in Columbus. A win at Indiana Sunday would be Ohio State’s first ever in 21 trips to Armstrong Stadium, where the Hoosiers have an all-time record of 230-26-18.

“We haven’t got a result over there in my tenure as coach,” John Bluem, Ohio State head coach, said. “We have played them well on occasion and lost by just a goal, but we haven’t had any ties or wins. They’re very good and an attacking team. When they get it going, they are as dangerous as any team in the country.”

The Buckeyes’ last trip to its western neighboring state presented just as difficult a task, but OSU rose to the occasion to notch a 2-1 victory at No. 9 Notre Dame last Nov. 23 in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

GameTracker for all Ohio State home games and selected away matches, including the Indiana game Sunday, is available at In addition, OSU’s student radio station, The Underground, will broadcast two upcoming games, including Northwestern Oct. 28 and Michigan Nov. 4.

The Buckeyes are 8-6-1 and 1-2-0 in the Big Ten. After the Indiana game Sunday, Ohio State has two regular season games remaining over the next two weeks, both of which are Big Ten games in Columbus. OSU’s postseason chances hinge on those three games and the Big Ten tournament, hosted by Northwestern Nov. 10-13.

“I wish we were healthier than we are right now,” Bluem said. “Rob (Strachan) is gone for the year now and Taylor (Korpieski) hasn’t returned to training yet and isn’t available this weekend. We have others are a little beat up, but I’m very optimistic we can do well in these next three games.”

Ohio State has out-shot its opponents 209-141 this season, but holds just a one-goal lead in the scoring department, 19-18. Of the Buckeyes’ 14 games this season, seven have gone to overtime and four of OSU’s six losses have been by one goal. Ohio State went 5-1 in its first six games before an 0-3-1 skid. OSU is 3-2 since then.

“To have a shot at an at-large big, we will need to take care of business at home,” Bluem said. “Certainly if we can win at Indiana and win the final two games that makes a much stronger case. Either way, the team would like to have a good performance in the Big Ten tournament. That’s something we haven’t done well in the last few years and we’ve challenged the team to focus on that and do better there. Whatever our draw happens to be it doesn’t matter, it’s about how you play.”

The Buckeyes have eight starters and 17 lettermen back from its 2004 squad that went 12-7-2, won a share of the Big Ten regular season title and advanced to the third round of the NCAA tournament. The Buckeyes are coached by John Bluem, the 2004 Big Ten Coach of the Year and OSU’s all-time winningest coach.

In addition to their overall shot advantage, the Buckeyes lead in shots on goal, 91-64, and corner kicks, 87-57. The Buckeyes have been out-shot just three times this season.

In the Big Ten, Ohio State ranks second in goals scored (19), second in shots (209) and second in corner kicks (87). Indiana leads the league in all three categories. In individual conference statistics as of Oct. 17, Kevin Nugent and Xavier Balc ranked in the Top 10 in shots, points and goals, while Nugent and Danny Irizarry both ranked in the Top 10 in assists. Goalkeeper Ray Burse Jr. ranked fourth in saves (44), fifth in shutouts (3) and fifth in goals against average (1.08).

Sixth-ranked Indiana, with seven national championships, including the last two, has suffered just one loss this season, but has been tied four times. Its loss (2-1 vs. Penn State Sept. 30) and one of its ties (0-0 vs. Michigan State Sept. 25) both came in Armstrong Stadium, which surrounds Jerry Yeagley Field.

This year, the Hoosiers have out-scored their opponents 40-8, including 26-1 in the second half. IU has allowed only 45 shots on goal to date, an average of three per game.

Last year, Indiana saw its historic 50-game Big Ten regular season winning streak come to an end with a loss to Northwestern, as well as its 31-game home unbeaten streak. The Hoosiers currently sit in second place in the Big Ten behind league-leader Penn State, which has Michigan State and Michigan remaining on its schedule.

Indiana (19-4-1 in 2004) has eight starters back from last year, including midfielder Brian Plotkin, a first-team All-Big Ten pick who currently leads the Hoosiers in scoring with seven goals and seven assists. Also back are all-league selections forward Jacob Peterson (7 goals in 2005), midfielder John Michael Hayden and defender Jed Zayner.

The Hoosiers are coached by Michael Freitag, who is in his second year in Bloomington after taking over for Yeagley. Following the Ohio State game, Indiana has non-conference dates with Notre Dame, Maryland and Akron before the Big Ten tournament.

Indiana leads the all-time series 39-2-0 against Ohio State. Both Buckeye wins have come in Columbus, the last of which came in the semifinals of the 2000 Big Ten tournament. IU is 20-0-0 against OSU in Bloomington and has allowed just one goal to the Buckeyes in Ohio State’s last nine trips there. Listed below are the last eight meetings between OSU and IU.

Year Location Winner Score 2004 Columbus Indiana 1-0 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

Indiana reserve midfielder Doug Reisinger is from Columbus, Ohio (DeSales H.S.) and played club soccer for Ohio Thunder with OSU’s Taylor Korpieski, Patrick Roan and Eric Brunner. Buckeye Ryan Kustos and Hoosiers John Mellencamp and Kevin Noschang were all teammates at Lakota West H.S. near Cincinnati. OSU’s Ray Burse Jr. is from Prospect, Ky., just outside Louisville, which is the hometown of IU players John Michael Hayden and Darren Yeagle. Ohio State’s Casey Latchem and Indiana’s Jacob Peterson were teammates in club soccer with the Michigan Wolves. Buckeye Tim Gabel (Wildwood, Mo.) and Hoosier Mike Ambersley (Ballwin, Mo.) grew up four miles apart.

Six common opponent appear on both Ohio State’s and Indiana’s schedule thus far. the Buckeyes are 3-3 against those opponents, while the Hoosiers are 3-1-2.

Opponent OSU result IU result UCLA W, 2-1 T, 1-1 (exh.) Butler L, 1-0 W, 6-0 Wisconsin W, 2-1 (ot) W, 5-2 Michigan St. L, 2-0 T, 0-0 Louisville W, 3-1 W, 2-0 Penn State L, 1-0 (2ot) L, 2-1

In a hard-fought battle, Ohio State lost 1-0 to No. 8 Indiana Oct. 24, 2004, in Columbus. The Buckeyes held off the Hoosiers until the 51st minute when OSU allowed its first Big Ten goal of the season. Justin Cook nearly scored the equalizer for Ohio State, and with 15 seconds left in the game Kyle Veris took a free kick which was blocked. The Buckeyes and Hoosiers would go on to finish the Big Ten regular season with identical 5-1-0 league records.

“It was a very even game,” Bluem said after the game. “Indiana scored a tremendous goal to beat us and (Indiana goalkeeper Jay) Nolly came up with a great save on Cook’s shot. It was a hard-fought battle with a lot on the line, and it was played like there was.”

Ray Burse Jr. is 8-6-0 in goal for the Buckeyes with a 1.14 goals-against average and 45 saves. He has three shutouts on the season, those coming in his first give games. Casey Latchem has seen action in two games, including a scoreless 65 minutes against Kentucky Sept. 25.

The Defense
Ohio State has allowed 18 goals in 15 games this season. Three Buckeyes have started all 15 matches in the defense for Ohio State and lead the team in minutes played, including Jim Fisher (1,421 min.), Dustin Kirby (1,411 min.) and Eric Brunner (1,278 min.). Kyle Veris split time between defender and forward early in the season but has started the last seven games in the defense, where he was a first-team All-Big Ten selection a year ago.

The Midfield
The depth and versatility of Ohio State’s midfield has been tested lately because of injuries to central midfield starters Taylor Korpieski, Brent Rohrer and Rob Strachan. Rohrer is back and teams in the middle with freshman Danny Irizarry, who owns two goals and shares the team lead in assists with four. Junior Antonio Garcia has also seen extensive time in the center, while on the flanks are sophomore Ryan Kustos and freshmen Geoff Marsh and Scott Marguglio.

Kevin Nugent leads the team in scoring with six goals and four assists. His two game-winners this season have come against Marquette Sept. 2 and Louisville Oct. 12. Xavier Balc ranks second on the team in scoring with 13 points from five goals and three assists. Chief backups have included Reid Traeger, David Bauer, Eric Edwards, and Kyle Veris up from his normal spot in the defense.

Last week marked the first time since the Sept. 5 national polls that Ohio State was not ranked or receiving votes in any of the national polls or the NSCAA Great Lakes Regional poll. The Buckeyes have been ranked as high as No. 11 (Sept. 19, College Soccer News) in the nation this season and No. 3 in the region.

The Buckeyes are 7-0-0 when they score first … Jim Fisher has been nominated for the Academic All-America team (3.42 GPA in finance) … a feature article on senior goalkeeper Ray Burse Jr. now appears at … interviews with Kevin Nugent and Xavier Balc will be part of College Sports Television’s hour-long special “Ohio State Prime Time,” which is set to air on CSTV on Oct. 30 … of OSU’s 15 games so far this season, seven have gone to overtime … the combined record of OSU’s opponents this season is 113-101-31, which supports OSU’s strong strength of schedule component … the next shutout turned in by goalkeeper Ray Burse Jr. will be the 12th of his career, which will give him sole possession of fourth place in the OSU record book … Xavier Balc has at least one point in five games this season and OSU is 5-0 in those games … OSU played five consecutive road games from Sept. 9-23, and went 4-1-0 in those games.

Ohio State is coming off a 3-2 win over Oakland (6-7-0, 2-1-0 Mid-Continent) Wednesday in Columbus. Oakland had allowed just six goals in its previous eight games, but the Buckeyes out-shot the Grizzlies, 21-6, and equaled their season-high scoring output. OSU had 11 shots on goal, including six by Xavier Balc, who also set a career high with 11 total shots. Oakland scored in the closing minutes to bring the final deficit to just one goal. Balc, Irizarry and Kevin Nugent all had a goal and an assist for the Buckeyes, while Dustin Kirby, Geoff Marsh and Ryan Kustos added assists.

Six different Buckeyes have netted game-winning goals this season. Sophomore Xavier Balc has two of them, those coming Sept. 9 as part of his hat trick vs. Coastal Carolina and Sept. 18 vs. UCLA. Senior Kevin Nugent also has two, those coming in OSU’s season opener against Marquette Sept. 2 and vs. Oakland, Sept. 19. Sophomore Eric Brunner had the golden goal in overtime at Furman Sept. 11, and junior Brent Rohrer scored the game-winner in overtime against Wisconsin Oct. 9. Freshman Danny Irizarry rounds out the list, having the game-winner at Louisville Oct. 12.

Ohio State’s 2-1 win in overtime at Wisconsin Oct. 2 marked the Buckeyes’ 12th-consecutive win in their Big Ten opener. The Badgers have been OSU’s opponent in the last four conference openers, while Northwestern provided the opposition eight years prior to that.

Ohio State junior defender Dustin Kirby has started all 56 games for the Buckeyes since his arrival at OSU. That total includes all 20 games as a freshman, 21 as a sophomore and the 15 games so far in 2005. Junior defender Jim Fisher owns the next-most consecutive starts with 35. Junior midfielder Brent Rohrer has played in all 56 games since his arrival, but was not in the starting lineup just four times.

NEXT UP FOR THE BUCKEYES Following the Indiana game, Ohio State has two games remaining on its schedule, both at home, including Oct. 28 vs. Northwestern and Nov. 4 vs. Michigan.