Aug. 17, 2015
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s soccer team defeated No. 4 Notre Dame, 2-1, Sunday afternoon in the team’s first exhibition game of the preseason at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus. The Scarlet and Gray notched two first-half goals against the defending ACC regular-season champion Irish and were able to hold off Notre Dame in the second half with solid defensive play from the back line.
“It was a very good day for us to be able to see the guys against a quality opponent like Notre Dame,” head coach John Bluem said. “Each game for the first 10-15 matches you are still learning about your team, but I was very pleased with the effort in our guys in both games.”
The Buckeyes battled to a 0-0 draw in a 60-minute contest to open the day as the split games provided an opportunity for the OSU freshmen to see live time on the field in a collegiate game, while the veterans continued to craft their skills in a rematch of the 2014 NCAA Tournament second round contest last year.
Ohio State struck first in the 18th minute when a shot by junior Christian Soldat deflected off the back of a Notre Dame defender and found its way into the net for the early 1-0 lead for an own goal.
The Buckeyes connected on the eventual gamewinner in the 37th minute when Liam Doyle, a 2014 First Team All-Big ten selection, blasted a free kick from 20 yards out into the back right of goal for the 2-0 advantage. Doyle scored five goals last year for the Scarlet and Gray.
“Liam Doyle has got a powerful left-footed shot and it was a great free-kick goal,” Bluem said. “Hopefully we see more of those in the regular season this year, but he and in the back four in the first team game played very well. We had a difficult test in the second half with Notre Dame coming out strong.”
Notre Dame made it a 2-1 deficit to start the second half, but the Buckeyes were able to stay organized in their back line throughout the final 30 minutes to claim the exhibition win. Senior goalkeeper Chris Froschauer started for the Scarlet and Gray and was one of three newcomers to play in the first-team game. Junior Yaw Amankwa and freshman Greg Solawa also got the starts in the second game of the day.
The ending result was great for the Buckeyes, but coach Bluem said there is still room for improvement as the team will continue its preseason training Monday in Columbus.
“We need to work on our positioning on the field and collectively how we want to defend and attack,” Bluem said. “We have a good group of players, but it needs to be fined-tuned and needs to be better. We did that very well last year, striving to be a better team every day.”
The exhibition was one of two slated for the preseason. The Buckeyes travel to Fort Wayne for their final tune-up before the start of the regular season, taking on Xavier at 8 p.m. ET Friday. The Buckeyes open the 2015 campaign, hosting the tenth-annual Wolstein Classic Aug. 28-30 in Columbus.