Oct. 9, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Chris Hegngiscored two late-game goals to erase a three-goal deficit, but the Ohio State men’s soccer team’s comeback fell short in a 3-2 loss to Northwestern Sunday afternoon at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The Buckeyes drop to 7-5-1 overall and 2-1-0 in the Big Ten, while the Wildcats improve to 5-4-3 on the season and 1-0-1 in the conference.

Northwestern led Ohio State 3-0 after 58 minutes of action, but Hegngi converted on a penalty kick in the 75th minute and added his team and conference-leading eighth goal of the season seven minutes later. By the time the second OSU goal was scored, Hegngi was the only remaining game starter in the match as a total of 21 players saw minutes, including two with their first appearances of the season.

“We elected during the last 25 minutes of the game to play all the guys that haven’t had a chance to play,” John Bluem, Ohio State head coach, said after the game. “They’re hungry to play and were aggressive. I suspected at that point in time Northwestern was relaxing a little bit. It was nice to score a couple of goals and to get something out of the last 25 minutes.”

Chris Ritter opened up scoring for Northwestern in the 36th minute, sending a header into top left corner of the goal. The play started on a corner by Reed Losee and the ball was knocked around until Jarrett Baughman and Grant Wilson paired up to assist Ritter’s third goal of the season and give the Wildcats the lead heading into the break.

Northwestern erupted out of the locker room, scoring two goals in the first 13 minutes of the second half. Oliver Kupe made the score 2-0 in favor of the Wildcats in the 48th minute by sending a header into the back of the net off of a well-placed cross from Kyle Schnickel. Schnickel would add a goal of his own in the 58th minute to give NU the 3-0 lead.

After making nine substitutions, the Buckeyes began to generate more offense in the final 30 minutes. Hegngi put the Buckeyes on the board with a PK in the 75th minute, and cut the Northwestern lead to one in the 82nd minute off a pass by Omar Vallejofrom 30 yards out.

The Buckeyes were out-shot 12-11 on the day, but held the Wildcats to three attempts in the second half. Ohio State had a 4-1 advantage in corner kicks and each starting goalkeeper came up with three saves. Alex Wimmer replaced Matt Lampsonfor the final 15 minutes of action, earning his first career minutes but did not face a shot.

Without a mid-week game, the Buckeyes have a week to bounce back before playing Valparaiso at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 16 in Valparaiso, Ind. The Crusaders on 5-5-2 on the season after a 1-0 win over Wright State Friday night. They also are off until next Sunday.

“We’ll look at the film of this game,” Bluem said. “We were thoroughly outplayed today. Maybe that’s a good wakeup call for our guys.”