Aug. 13, 2012

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s soccer team captured a 2-1 victory over Duquesne in exhibition action Monday afternoon at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The match was the first of two for the Buckeyes this preseason as they prepare to face Duke at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Fort Wayne, Ind., as part of the ShindigZ National Soccer Festival.

Duquesne struck first, but Ohio State rallied with two second-half goals from senior Chris Hegngi and sophomore transfer Konrad Kucharski to secure the come-from-behind victory.

“Overall we challenged the guys to come back and win the game and they did it,” John Bluem, 16-year Ohio State head coach, said. “We have a lot of work to do, but the game will show the players that as well.”

The Dukes’ Joshua Patterson gave his team the lead in the 34th minute after he had a shot deflected, but collected the misdirected rebound and swept it into the open goal. The Buckeyes were able to counter in the second period, however, and Hegngi tied it up at 66:55 with an unassisted score.

With time winding down and the score standing at 1-1, a pair of first-year players teamed up to put the Buckeyes on top. Freshman Sam Steurer played the ball inside to Kucharski, a transfer from SIU Edwardsville, who was able to stuff it into the upper left 90 early in the 85th minute.

“It is always hard the first time the team plays together. We try a lot of different combinations and the flow of the game is interrupted a lot. I thought our effort was better in the second half than in the first half, which is what we talked a lot about at halftime. You can control effort. You might not be playing well but you can at least work hard.”

Duquesne finished on top in the shot count 10-9, despite taking just two in the second period, while Ohio State held a 6-5 advantage in corners. Both teams finished with three saves on the day. In all, 19 Buckeye players took the field in the match, including seven who are in their first year in the program.

“Getting freshmen in is always good, Bluem said. “Exhibition games are meaningless in the sense that they don’t count against your record, so you can experiment and play the guys. We started a couple of the guys Zach (Mason) and Louie (Berra). We thought they could play well and I thought they did. Zach actually had a very good game.”

Following the preseason contest vs. the Blue Devils, Ohio State will open the regular season on the road, taking on Dayton at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 24. The home slate commences against UIC at noon Aug. 26. Admission to the game, and to all regular-season home games this season, is free.