Ohio State and Oakland meet for the ninth time; first in postseason play

COLUMBUS, Ohio The Ohio State men’s soccer team begins play in the NCAA Tournament 1 p.m. Saturday in the first round at Oakland in Rochester, Mich. This is the Buckeyes’ sixth appearance in the postseason – all since the 2000 season.
     The Buckeyes are 9-8-2 and coming off an overtime loss to Indiana in the Big Ten quarterfinals. The Hoosiers went on to advance to the championship game before losing to Michigan State.
     Danny Irizarry leads the Buckeyes with 13 points off six goals and an assist, while Andrew Magill is second with a team-leading six assists and three goals.
     Ohio State is 7-0-1 all-time against Oakland, who is 14-4-1 this season after falling in the Summit League championship game over the weekend. The Golden Grizzlies advanced to the second round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament with a win over Michigan State to become the first Summit League team to win a first-round game.

     The winner of the game Saturday will advance and face Akron at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 25 in Akron, Ohio. Ohio State concluded the regular season with a 4-3 overtime loss to the fourth-ranked Zips.

     Tickets for the NCAA first round contest will be available the day of the game at the OU Soccer Field gate. They will cost $6 and are general admission.

     Fans not able to make the trip to Rochester, Mich., can watch the game LIVE on the Internet through Oakland’s Web site, Navigate to the men’s soccer tournament central page or click on “Watch Live.” The page can also be accessed through the homepage of It will be free to access the event. 
     The game Saturday can be followed on Gametracker, linked from, or

     The sixth-seeded Buckeyes fell, 1-0, in overtime against third-seeded and 18th-ranked Indiana in the Big Ten quarterfinals last Thursday in Madison, Wis. Andy Adlard scored the game-winning goal for Indiana in the 94th minute when he flicked the loose ball inside the far post. Adlard was also responsible for the winning tally in OT Oct. 26 when the two teams met in the regular season. 
     Goalkeeper Byron Neal finished the day with five saves, including four in the second half. John Bluem credits Neal with keeping the Buckeyes in the game, saying that without him, the team would have fallen in regulation. Indiana out-shot Ohio State 13-7 with a 10-5 advantage in the second period.

     The 48-team field was announced Monday with teams vying for the right to compete at the 2008 NCAA Men’s College Cup December 12 and 14 in Frisco, Texas, at Pizza Hut Park. Southern Methodist University and FC Dallas will host the championship.
     Wake Forest, the defending national champion was awarded the No. 1 seed. Maryland, the Atlantic Coast Conference automatic qualifier, earned the No. 2 seed, while St. John’s is the No. 3 seed and Michigan State is No. 4. The ACC led all conferences with six teams in the tournament field, while the Big Ten and Big East had five.

     Oakland is 14-4-1 after tying UMKC, 1-1, in the Summit League championship. The Golden Grizzlies fell in penalty kicks but earned an at-large bid to the tourney. They are led this season by Stefan St. Louis with eight goals and two assists and Sebastian Harris with five goals and six assists. 
     Goalkeeper Steve Clark, who earned conference defensive player of the year honors, will be ineligible for the the NCAA first round after he was red carded in the team’s last game. He had played every minute of the season before giving way to Mitch Hildebrandt after coming out. The team’s goals-against average (0.57) is seventh in the NCAA, while their shutout percentage stands as eighth (0.58).
     The Golden Grizzlies made back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Tournament in 2002 and 2003, falling to UW-Milwaukee, 2-1, in 2002, and dropping a tough, 3-2, decision to Tulsa in double-overtime in 2003. Last year, OU topped Michigan State, 2-1, in an opening-round game before falling to No. 10 Notre Dame, 2-1. With the win over the Spartans, Oakland became the first Summit League team to win a first round game.

     Ohio State is 7-0-1 all-time against Oakland after meeting them every regular season from 2000-07. The lone tie came in 2003 with a 2-2 draw in Columbus. Last season, Tim Gabel and Eric Brunner led the Buckeyes to a 2-1 win Oct. 10 with. Both goals were scored off corner kicks by Xavier Balc.

     David Hasselhoff, best known for his roles on Knight Rider and Baywatch, attended Oakland University in the early 1970s. Hasselhoff also crossed over to a music career, successful primarily in German-speaking Europe during the end of the 1980s and the early 1990s. []

     Ohio State’s road to the College Cup has not been an easy one. Nine teams on its schedule this season have spent time in the NSCAA Top 25. Seven opponents are currently ranked, including each of the final three that the Buckeyes faced in the last four games. Also, each of the top four teams in the Great Lakes Region appear on the 2008 slate and six of the Top 10.

     Six members of the Ohio State men’s soccer team were recognized by the Big Ten coaches at the end of the year conference banquet last Thursday. Andrew Magill, Danny Irizarry and Tim Gabel were each selected to the All-Big Ten Second Team, while Joshua Breto and Dave Tiemstra were unanimous selections to the All-Freshman Team. 
     Geoff Marsh was honored with the team’s Sportsmanship Award for the second-consecutive season. He is now a candidate for the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award, given to one male and one female student-athlete from each institution by the conference office at the end of the school year.

     After 17-consecutive weeks in the national spotlight, Ohio State is not ranked by any of the four national soccer polls for the second-consecutive week.

     This senior class is the winningest class in Ohio State history, besting last year’s class by three wins. Tim Gabel, Danny Irizarry, Geoff Marsh and Patrick Roan, the four four-year players, have 48 wins to their credit and a 0.635 winning percentage.
     Since arriving in 2005, the OSU seniors have taken the Buckeyes to the NCAA Tournament three times (2005, 2007, 2008), leading them to the national championship game in 07. They also have been in the Big Ten Championship final in two of the last three years, capturing the 2007 crown on PKs over Indiana.

     The Buckeyes’ defense, anchored by Tim Gabel, Patrick Roan, Dave Tiemstra and Doug Verhoff, has given up more than one goal just four times and pulled out six shutouts. 
     With the loss to 18th-ranked Indiana in the Big Ten Tournament, the Buckeyes are 1-5-1 against teams ranked in the NSCAA Top 25 this season. The lone win was against then-No. 18 Tulsa, 2-0, Sept. 7. 
     Against unranked teams, Ohio State is 8-3-1. Oakland will be the first unranked opponent for the Buckeyes in four games, dating back to Oct. 22.

     In games won this season, Ohio State has out-scored opponents 18-4, including an 11-2 margin in the second half. 

     Each of Ohio State’s last nine games and 16 of its 19 this season have been decided by one goal or less. The Buckeyes own a 6-8-2 record in those contests. In games decided by at least two goals, OSU is 3-0 with a combined 9-1 score.
     All of the Buckeyes’ losses have been by one goal with three coming in overtime.

     The Buckeyes have out-scored their opponents 18-11 in the second half this season. They are 6-3-1 when tallying at least one goal in the second period.

     The Buckeyes welcomed an average of 1,084 fans per game to Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium during the regular season. The mark is an Ohio State soccer record and is up from last year’s figure and previous record of 1,004.

     Konrad Warzycha has posted at least one point in three of the last six games. He had his first three-point game with a goal and an assist against Akron. The sophomore forward’s tally in the 49th minute tied the game at 1-all, breaking the 36-minute Buckeye deficit and starting the biggest scoring barrage that Akron had seen all season.
     Warzycha is currently third on the team in scoring with 10 points – all but one of which have come in the second half of the season.

     Freshman forward Joshua Breto had two assists against Akron, on the game-tying and go-ahead goals in the second half, to move him into fourth on the team in scoring.
     He also has two goals to his credit, both game-winners. He scored his second game-winning goal of his career against Eastern Illinois. He is the only Buckeye player to score one GWG goal (let alone two) off the bench this season.

     By tallying the assist on Patrick Roan’s game-winning goal against Cleveland State Oct. 22, Geoff Marsh moved into eighth place on the career assist chart with 13. It also stands as his fifth assist of the year and his fourth on a game-winning goal. He is now second on the team in assists and has had one in two of the last three games.

     With an assist against Wisconsin Oct. 18, junior forward Andrew Magill has 12 points on the season, second only to Danny Irizarry with 13. He has scored three goals, including the game-winner against Bowling Green, and has a team-leading six assists.
     Magill is now in a four-way tie for ninth all-time in career assists with 12. He is also tied for fourth in the Big Ten.

     Patrick Roan scored his first two goals of the season in back-to-back games three weeks ago. The defender tallied the Buckeyes’ gamewinner against Cleveland State Oct. 22 before scoring the equalizer against Indiana in the 77th minute Oct. 26. 
     On the back line, Roan has helped the defense earn six shutouts this season and a 1.07 goals-against average.

     Senior co-captain Danny Irizarry leads the Buckeyes with six goals and is eighth in the Big Ten in total points. Irizarry opened the season by scoring in four of the first six games, with two scores coming off penalty kick attempts, a stat category that he is 4-for-4 in during his career.

     Including Breto’s two game-winners, six of the Buckeyes’ goals this season have come from non-starting players – including all three against Eastern Illinois Oct. 5. Breto, Julian Sisman and German Gomez each found the back of the net in the second half.

     Outside of Danny Irizarry’s six tallies, Ohio State’s remaining 21 goals have been scored by 12 different players. The first 11 of the Buckeyes’ goals this season were scored by midfielders or defenders, including two on penalty kicks from midfielder Irizarry.

     The Buckeyes hold a combined 108-80 advantage over their opponents in corner kicks. They are currently second in Big Ten in total opportunities (108) and average 5.68 per contest. An opposing team has tallied more than Ohio State just four times this season. Konrad Warzycha is the go-to player on corner kicks with Patrick Roan and Danny Irizarry each taking several opportunities as well.

     Senior defender Tim Gabel was named the Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week and a member of the Soccer America Team of the Week after helping the Buckeyes to the win over ranked Tulsa Sept. 7. He is currently fifth on the squad in points with six from one goal and four assists, including one on Patrick Roan’s game-tying goal against Indiana.

     In the final round of Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) figures released by the NCAA for the regular season, Ohio State was ranked 33rd.

     The winningest coach in program history, head coach John Bluem is in his 12th season at Ohio State and has guided the Buckeyes to three Big Ten titles and all six of the school’s NCAA tournament appearances (2000, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008). His 2004 squad went to the Sweet 16’ and his 2007 squad went to the national championship game. 
     Bluem owns a 127-89-30 record at Ohio State. His career record, which includes six seasons at Fresno State, stands at 217-116-42. In 29 seasons of coaching soccer, teams Bluem has been a part of have gone 390-141-74. A fullback at traditional soccer power Hartwick College, Bluem helped guide the Warriors to the College Cup in 1974.