Note: Fans, family and members of the Ohio State athletics department are encouraged to welcome the Buckeyes back to Columbus Sunday evening. The Buckeyes are expected to arrive back at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center at approximately 10 p.m. Interviews will be available for requested members of the team.


Buckeyes lead 1-0 at halftime, but Demon Deacons score twice in second half

CARY, N.C. Ohio State junior Roger Espinoza gave the Buckeyes a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute, but Wake Forest scored twice in the second half to win, 2-1, Sunday in the NCAA College Cup national championship game at SAS Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. In its winningest season in program history, Ohio State ends the 2007 season with a 17-4-5 record after the Demon Deacons (22-2-2) snapped the Buckeyes’ 15 game unbeaten streak.

In its first trip to the College Cup, fifth-seeded Ohio State was 14-0-2 this season when scoring first, but second-seeded Wake Forest took advantage of two defensive mistakes by the Buckeyes to win its first national title. Ohio State had 12 shots in the game, all of which came in the first half.

Espinoza, along with senior goalkeeper Casey Latchem, senior defender Eric Brunner and sophomore defender Doug Verhoff were named to the 2007 NCAA All-Tournament team at the conclusion of the match.

The Buckeyes were 6-0-1 in neutral site games this season entering play Sunday, and although it will count as a neutral site loss, the majority of the 8,172 fans in attendance were there in support of Wake Forest, which is an hour and a half drive from Cary.

The Buckeyes scored in the 12th minute, which began like so many of their goals this season off a corner kick by senior Xavier Balc, who sent the ball to the back post where a Wake Forest defender could not control it and the ball bounced to Verhoff. Verhoff’s header hit the post and bounded to the other side of the goal mouth, where Espinoza rushed on and sent it through the legs of a Wake Forest defender and past goalkeeper Brian Edwards into the back of the net.
Ohio State showed early it was going to be on the offensive. Verhoff had the first shot of the game, a header that was just wide in the seventh minute. Junior Geoff Marsh and sophomore Andrew Magill had back-to-back close-range shots in the 10th minute, one that was saved and one that was blocked.

Although Wake Forest had numerous runs into the attacking third in the first half, Ohio State dominated the stat sheet in the first 45 minutes. The Buckeyes had 12 shots compared to only three for the Demon Deacons.

After the halftime break, Wake Forest came out with an offensive surge and held Ohio State without a shot in the second half. Trailing the Buckeyes in shots at the break, 12-3, the Demon Deacons held a 9-0 shot advantage in the last 45 minutes.

Wake Forest tied the game in the 66th minute when Marcus Tracey scored his third goal of the College Cup for the Demon Deacons. Ohio State turned the ball over near the sideline on its left defensive flank and forward Cody Arnoux was there to pick it up and take it into the 18-yard box. He slotted the ball to an onrushing Tracey, who one-touched it into the back of the net. Wake Forest scored again in the 86th minute when Tracey got behind the OSU defense again and then went by another defender and touched the ball off to Zack Schilawaski, who buried it.

Wake Forest now leads the all-time series against Ohio State, 5-0-0. When these teams met last year, the Buckeyes took a 2-0 lead, only to fall in overtime, 3-2.

Postgame Notes: Wake Forest 2, Ohio State 1 NCAA College Cup Championship Game
– Entering the national championship game, the Buckeyes were 14-0-2 when they scored first this season. Ohio State scored first Sunday, but Wake Forest came back to win, 2-1.
– Wake Forest now leads the all-time series against Ohio State, 5-0-0.
– Goal keeper Casey Latchem, midfielder Roger Espinoza and defender Eric Brunner were named to the 2007 NCAA All-Tournament team at the conclusion of the match.
– Junior Roger Espinoza notched his first points of the 2007 NCAA Tournament with a goal 12 minutes into the championship game. Espinoza, a junior college transfer, has four-career goals as a Buckeye.
– The Buckeyes are now 6-5 all-time in the NCAA tournament. This season marked their fifth appearance in the NCAA tournament and the first time they have advanced past the Sweet 16’ in the 55 year history of the program.
– Before this season, Ohio State had never played a soccer game in the month of December. The Buckeyes are now 3-1-0 all-time in December.
– The Buckeyes scored 41 goals this season while allowing 20 goals by their opponents.
– Already the all-time winningest class in Ohio State men’s soccer history, the seven-member Ohio State senior class ends its four-year career with an overall record of 51-26-12. The senior class includes forward Xavier Balc (Ohio State’s all-time assist leader), defender Eric Brunner (Ohio State’s first MAC Hermann Trophy candidate), goalkeeper Casey Latchem (OSU all-time leader in shutouts and goals against average), forwards Eric Edwards and Ryan Kustos and midfielders Kyle Retzlaff and Steven Traeger.
– Ohio State set program records in 2007 for wins (17), shutouts (15), unbeaten streak (15) and consecutive shutouts (5).
– Ohio State is now 6-1-1 at neutral sites this season.
– Attendance: 8,172

                          Soccer Game Summary (Final)
                          2007 Ohio State Men’s Soccer
         #14 Ohio State vs. #1 Wake Forest (Dec 16, 2007 at Cary, N.C.)

 Ohio State (17-4-5) vs. Wake Forest (22-2-2)
 Date: Dec 16, 2007  Attendance: 8172

 Goals by period       1  2  Tot
 Ohio State……….  1  0 –  1
 Wake Forest………  0  2 –  2
  1.  12:02 OSU Espinoza, Roger (4) (Verhoff, Doug) – shot off rebound off of post
  2.  65:59 WF Marcus Tracy (Cody Arnoux) – off cross from run
  3.  77:13 WF Zack Schilawski (Marcus Tracy) – 10yds out in center from pass

 Shots: Ohio State 12, Wake Forest 12
 Saves: Ohio State 3 (Latchem, Casey 2; TEAM 1), Wake Forest 4 (Brian Edwards 4)

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Contact: Tim Stried,