COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s soccer team will host 11 home games this fall, highlighted by the annual Bert and Iris Wolstein Classic Sept. 4 and 6, as head coach John Bluem announced the 2009 schedule Wednesday. The Buckeyes, who finished last season with a 9-9-3 record and a trip to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, are scheduled to face six teams that finished the 2008 season in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Top 25 and seven that made trips to the NCAA Tournament including tourney opponents Oakland and Akron.

“We have a very exciting schedule ahead for the 2009 season,” Bluem said. “The Big Ten games are always tough and we have several challenging non-conference contests, beginning the weekend of Sept. 4 with the Wolstein Classic and matches against Gonzaga and Cal State Fullerton. “Our road schedule in and out of conference is challenging, but we are looking forward for the season to begin.”

The Buckeyes open the 2009 campaign with a pair of exhibition contests against Big East teams Cincinnati Aug. 23 in Columbus and Louisville Aug. 28 at a neutral site in Ft. Wayne, Ind.

A week later, they open the regular season with the Bert and Iris Wolstein Classic, an annual tournament that pits Ohio State and Penn State against a pair of nationally-prominent teams. The Nittany Lions begin the tourney schedule by taking on Cal State Fullerton at 5 p.m. Sept. 4, followed by Ohio State vs. Gonzaga at 7 p.m. Action continues at noon Sept. 6 with Penn State and Gonzaga taking the field before the Buckeyes and CS Fullerton battle at 2:30 p.m.

The yearly switch in tournament venues occurs the next weekend when Ohio State travels to State College, Pa., for the Penn State Nike Classic and plays Hartford Sept. 11 and Hofstra Sept. 13.

The Buckeyes return home from the neutral site games for three-consecutive home contests vs. Butler (Sept. 18), SIU Edwardsville (Sept. 20) and IUPUI (Sept. 23) before opening the conference schedule and the 19th year of Big Ten soccer Sept. 27 at Michigan State, the defending regular season and tournament champions.

After taking on the Spartans, Ohio State heads to Akron, Ohio, for a re-match of the NCAA Second Round contest that ended the Buckeyes’ 2008 season with a double-overtime loss to Akron. The Buckeyes and Zips take the field for a mid-week road matchup Sept. 30.

Ohio State then returns home for five of its next six games, playing Northwestern Oct. 4, followed by a trip north for a match against Oakland, its NCAA first-round foe a year ago, Oct. 7. Western Illinois (Oct. 10) and UIC (Oct. 14) make trips to Columbus in the ensuing games before a pair of pivotal home matches Oct. 18 and 21 vs. Penn State and West Virginia, respectively.

With three conference games remaining down the stretch, the Buckeyes return to the road for trips to Wisconsin (Oct. 25) and Indiana (Nov. 1) before closing out the regular season at home against Michigan Nov. 7.

Postseason play begins with the Big Ten Tournament in Bloomington, Ind., Nov. 12-15. The NCAA Tournament opens with first-round games Nov. 20-21, followed by the second (Nov. 25), third (Nov. 28-29) and quarterfinal (Dec. 4-6) rounds all at campus sites. The College Cup, hosted by N.C. State, is slated for Dec. 14-16 in Cary, N.C.

New this year, admission to all Ohio State men’s soccer home games at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium is FREE. Stay tuned to in the coming months for any schedule changes and updates on the Buckeye program.