Sept. 23, 2012

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s soccer team dropped a 2-0 decision to No. 15 Indiana in the Big Ten opener for both teams Sunday afternoon at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The Buckeyes record now stands 3-5-1, while the Hoosiers improve to 6-1-1 and remain undefeated in conference openers.

“I thought our effort was good today,” John Bluem, Ohio State head coach, said. “I’m proud of the guys for working hard throughout the game, but we are having a difficult time right now … We punished ourselves by making a mistake in the first half by giving them the goal; we put ourselves down 1-0 by our own poor play. Then in the second half, in my opinion, a tough call was made by the referee and it ended the game right then, only four minutes into the second half.”

In the 30th minute of action, freshman Andrew Oliver found the back of the net for his first goal of the season to give Indiana the early lead. The Hoosiers found the net again early coming out of the half with a penalty kick in the 46th minute of play taken by sophomore Eriq Zavaleta, marking the first PK allowed by the Buckeyes since they faced Penn State in the Big Ten quarterfinal last season.

The Buckeyes retaliated with a missed header by senior Chris Hegngi and a wide shot freshman Zach Mason. Ohio State’s attempts came in pairs all day, including headers from Hegngi and Chris Gomez in the 12th minute which stood as two of the team’s best chances of the match. Hegngi finished with a team-high five shots, leading a total of eight players who registered attempts.

“Today we chose to play a little bit more defensively, anticipating that Indiana was a strong attacking team,” Bluem said. “We wanted to be safe and keep ourselves in the game and the game plan really seemed to be working well. We knew we wouldn’t create many chances and when we did we needed to finish them. We just weren’t sharp enough to get it done.”

The Buckeyes outshot the Hoosiers 16-10 and finished one short in the corner kick count, 7-6. Luis Soffner, goalkeeper for Indiana, had six saves on the day, including four in the second half, while Alex Ivanov totaled two in his fourth start of the year.

Ohio State returns to action against Butler at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26 in JOMS. The Bulldogs sit at 1-1-4 on the year and are coming off their first win of the season vs. Evansville, 3-0, last Wednesday night. They are off until the contest in Columbus next week.

Prior to the contest, players and coaches from both sides participated in the Kids Kicking Cancer clinic at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, the third such annual event the Buckeyes have posted. To see photos, visit the team’s Facebook page.