Oct. 10, 2004
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State’s Kyle Veris and Justin Cook each scored a goal in support of goalkeeper Ray Burse Jr., who collected a career-high nine saves, as the Buckeye men’s soccer team shut out Michigan State, 2-0, Sunday in Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The shutout is the second consecutive for Burse and the Buckeyes, who won their fourth game in their last five outings to improve their record to 5-4-1 overall and 2-0-0 in the Big Ten.
The win is the 72nd at Ohio State for head coach John Bluem, which ties the all-time record held jointly by Al Bianco (1979-86) and Gary Avedikian (1987-96). Bluem’s .544 winning percentage at OSU is the highest in program history.
“Today we played great for the entire 90 minutes,” Bluem said. “Our consistency and intensity was with us all game. It feels great to shut out a solid Big Ten team in Michigan State – they are a very dangerous team. Our guys should be proud of what they did today. It has been a long time since this team has been over .500.”
Michigan State, ranked sixth in last week’s NSCAA Great Lakes regional poll, falls to 7-3-1 overall and 1-2 in the Big Ten.
Burse (Jr., Prospect, Ky./St. Xavier) was coming off a week in which he was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts in leading Ohio State to a 1-0 win over Wisconsin Oct. 3. His nine saves today topped his previous career-high total of eight against Wisconsin.
Veris (Jr., Strongsville, Ohio/Univ. of Akron), from his left-central defender spot, scored Ohio State’s first goal in the eighth minute of play and assisted on Cook’s goal in the 63rd minute.
“We had a solid defense today,” Veris said. “The team always takes pride in games where we get a shutout. We took advantage where we could and were able to come out with a win.”
The goal by Veris, his third of the season, came of a corner kick by sophomore Taylor Korpieski (Westerville, Ohio/Thomas Worthington), who delivered a perfect ball to Veris just inside the far edge of the 6-yard box. Veris, unmarked on the play, headed the ball into the back of the net past diving MSU goalkeeper Jason Tillman. The assist was Korpieski’s third of the season.
Ohio State continued to dominate play in the first half and took the 1-0 lead into the locker room at halftime. Midway through the second half, Veris collected an errant Spartan pass 15 yards above the OSU 18-yard box and delivered a through ball to a streaking Cook (Sr., Winter Springs, Fla./Oviedo) on the other side of the midfield stripe. Cook outraced the MSU defense with the ball and beat Tillman one-on-one for his team-leading fifth goal of the season and 26th of his career.
Michigan State out-shot Ohio State, 15-12, and had nine shots on goal compared to five for Ohio State, only a pair of Spartan shots looked extremely dangerous heading for the net. Burse put a stop to both those shots, first in the 18th minute when his one-handed deflection saved a shot by MSU’s leading scorer, John Minagawa-Webster, then in the 78th minute when he dove to snag a direct kick by Ryan McMahen.
“Today was a big win for the team,” Veris said. “We are trying to get on top in the Big Ten and prove that we were underrated earlier this season.”
Ohio State also started 2-0 in the Big Ten in 2002 with similar wins at home over Wisconsin, 1-0 in overtime, and Michigan State, 3-1. The Buckeyes remain one of two unbeaten teams in the Big Ten this season, as Indiana is 3-0 after topping Michigan Sunday.
Ohio State will return to action Wednesday at 7 p.m. as Louisville visits Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
### Go Bucks! ###