Nov. 2, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio – On Senior Night and the 12th-annual Connor Senn Memorial Match, the Ohio State men’s soccer team claimed a thrilling 1-0 win in double overtime, upsetting No. 9 Penn State Saturday at Bert L. & Iris S. Wolstein Field at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. In the second overtime, freshman forward Danny Jensen scored from the far post at 107:48 to claim the victory, snapping the Big Ten regular season champion Nittany Lion’s undefeated conference record in the team’s home finale.
“The last four or five games, Danny has been playing the way we expected he would,” head coach John Bluem said. “It took him awhile to adjust and settle in, but using him up top is the best way for us to use him. The team is really finding a way to find him and use his pace.”
With the victory, the Buckeyes improve to 5-6-5 overall and 1-2-2 in Big Ten play, while the Nittany Lions fall to 11-4-1 and 5-1-0 in league action. Ohio State extends its unbeaten streak to five-consecutive matches heading into the final week of the regular season.
“It’s a fantastic result for us and for the seniors,” Bluem said. “We’ve been asking these guys for four or five games now to give us everything they got and just lay it out there. You thought we were national champions tonight and it’s a win we can build from knowing we have to do well in the Big Ten Tournament to build toward our postseason hopes. It was a very even game. Obviously, it could have easily ended at 0-0, but a great finish by Danny gives us a well-deserved and exciting win.”
Jensen, a native of Weston, Fla., collected a cross by junior midfielder Max Moller on the far side and beat the PSU center back to the far post, blasting his third goal of the year into the top right of the net for the clinching score with less than three minutes to go in extra time.
“I’m really happy that I could help our team claim the big win,” Jensen said. “We knew we had a chance after sticking with them through the first half. We had the confidence going into overtime and I’m glad I could help get this win for our seniors.”
Junior goalkeeper Alex Ivanov recorded his eighth shutout in 15 games this season. Ivanov, the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week, has not allowed a goal in 423:47 minutes of play, dating back to Oct. 13 at Michigan State. With his five saves, Ivanov passed former Buckeye Casey Latchem for seventh on the OSU single-season saves list.
The Buckeyes mounted a strong defensive effort to draw a scoreless first half vs. the Nittany Lions. On a Penn State corner, freshman midfielder Christian Soldat notched a team save to deflect a header from Owen Griffith and keep the score knotted at 0-0 at 15:52 in the first half. The Scarlet and Gray continued to counter the Penn State attack, blocking three shots in the half and allowing no corner kick conversions. Junior Zach Dobey notched the lone shot on goal for the Buckeyes in the half at the eight-minute mark saved by Penn State goalkeeper Andrew Wolverton.
In the second half, following a corner kick from Alec Lowell, Ryan Ivancic launched a shot inside the penalty box on goal that was denied by a Penn State defender at 61:22. Ivanov continued to hold off the Nittany Lion offense, collecting two saves in the second half. In the first overtime, a header by Kenny Cunningham went wide.
The Buckeyes will conclude the regular season at Wisconsin Nov. 8 in Madison, Wis., before hosting the 2013 Big Ten Tournament Nov. 13-17 in Columbus.
The 2013 Ohio State Senior Class was honored before the start of competition vs. the Nittany Lions. See below for comments from coach John Bluem on each senior. Members of Connor Senn’s family as well as representatives from the Wexner Medical Center were recognized at halftime as part of the Connor Senn Memorial Match, which supports the fight against sudden cardiac death.
John Bluem’s thoughts on the senior Buckeyes:
On Denio Leone, senior forward
“Denio Leone has been a great addition to the 2013 team, and although he has only played one season he has made a significant contribution. A forward with good technical ability and a great work rate he played I think his best game of the season in Akron against the Zips.”
On Alex Harrison, senior defender
“Alex Harrison, a transfer from Pittsburgh, has also played just one season for the Buckeyes, but has made a significant contribution to the team. A starter and leader in his role as a central defender his season was unfortunately cut short by an injury in the Dayton Match in September. He has had an incredibly good impact on the team culture through his positive attitude and soccer experience.”
On Ben Killian, senior defender
“Ben is enjoying a great final season after having to sit out all of last year because of injury. Ben is an excellent central defender who plays with great passion and commitment. His work on and off the field to lead the team this year has been exceptional and he will be greatly missed after the outstanding five years he has given to the program.”
On Sage Gardner, senior defender
“Sage Gardner is an absolute professional in all that he does. A four-year starter in the defense he rarely misses a game and might possibly be the most consistent player I have ever coached. He is an intense competitor, a very smart player and a tremendous leader. As this year’s Captain he has been superb in the way he has kept the group together and moving forward.”