Defending tournament champs face Hoosiers Thursday in quarterfinals

COLUMBUS, Ohio The sixth-seeded Ohio State men’s soccer team begins play in the Big Ten Tournament 1 p.m. CT Thursday against No. 3-seed and 18th-ranked Indiana in Madison, Wis.
     The Buckeyes are the defending conference champs after earning a penalty kick decision over the Hoosiers last season. The two teams have met in the championship game each of the last two seasons, gone into overtime in each of the last three meetings and have had the last five games decided by one goal or less.
     Ohio State finished the regular season with a 9-7-2 record and a 2-4-0 mark in the Big Ten. Each of the last three of its opponents were ranked in the Top 25, marking one of the toughest season-ending stretches in the nation.
     The Buckeyes are 13-15-1 in the Big Ten Tournament action with the 2000 and 2007 titles to their credit. They have played in back-to-back championship games and have advanced as far as the semifinals in the last three tournaments.

     The Buckeyes scored three goals in the second half to come back from a one-goal deficit, but fell to fourth-ranked Akron, 4-3, last Friday night. Konrad Warzycha, Dave Tiemstra and Doug Verhoff all scored for Ohio State, as the Buckeyes became the first team to score more than one goal against Akron all season. The Zips had given up just six goals all season prior to Friday.
     Tiemstra’s goal in the 50th minute gave the Buckeyes a 2-1 lead and marked just the second time all season that the Zips have trailed an opponent. After tying it at 2-all, Akron would once again trail, 3-2, after Verhoff’s goal.

     Michigan State clinched the regular season title and the No. 1 seed heading into the Big Ten Championship with a 1-0 victory against Northwestern on Nov 2. As the top seed, the Spartans receives a first-round bye and will play the first quarterfinal winner (No. 4 Northwestern vs. No. 5 Penn State) at 11:00 a.m. CT on Friday, Nov. 14.   
      Michigan closed out its Big Ten schedule with a 2-0 win against Penn State in the final game of the regular season. The Wolverines garner the No. 2 seed in the Championship and will face No. 7 seed Wisconsin on Thursday, Nov. 13 at 3:30 p.m. CT. 
     No. 3 Indiana ended the season with a 3-3-0 Big Ten grade and will match up against sixth-seeded Ohio State, with a conference mark of 2-4-0, at 1 p.m. CT on Thursday, Nov. 13.  The Hoosiers defeated Northwestern, 2-0, in their final regular season contest, breaking the head-to-head tie with the Wildcats.
     Northwestern finished the conference regular season with a 3-3-0 mark to earn the No. 4 seed. The Wildcats will play in the first quarterfinal game on Thursday, Nov. 13 at 10:30 a.m. CT against a fifth-seeded Penn State team that posted a 2-4-0 record in conference play. 
     The 18th Big Ten Championship game will kick off noon Sunday.

     The Big Ten Network will broadcast action from the 2008 Big Ten Men’s Soccer Championship for the second-consecutive season.  Both semifinal matches on Friday, Nov. 14 will be shown live on the Big Ten Network at 11:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. CT, respectively.  The title game on Sunday, Nov. 16 will also be aired live at noon CT.

     Live stats will be available for all six games of the tournament from Wisconsin’s athletics Web site,

     The Hoosiers (10-5-2, 3-3-0 Big Ten) enter the Big Ten Tournament unbeaten in five of its last six games, dating back to Oct. 7. They are currently No. 18 in the NSCAA after defeating then-No. 8 Northwestern, 2-0, last Friday.
     Andy Adlard and Will Bruin lead Indiana with five goals apiece. The Hoosiers are fifth in the conference in total scoring with 26 goals  (1.44 per game) and 68 points (3.78 per game). In goal, Chay Cain has played every minute of the 2008 season with a 1.07 goals-against average. Cain earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors Monday after anchoring the shutout against the Wildcats. He is just the fourth keeper to keep Northwestern off the board this season.
In the Big Ten Tournament: The Hoosiers are 23-4-4 in the tournament action with a conference-leading 11 titles. Their last came in 2006 with a 1-0 win over the Buckeyes in Columbus.  
     Indiana leads the all-time series with Ohio State, 44-2-3, dating back to the 1954 season and the second year of Buckeye soccer. Each of the last five meetings have been decided by one goal or less with the last three going into overtime.
Last time: The Buckeyes battled back from a two-goal deficit against No. 17 Indiana, but lost in overtime, 3-2, Oct. 26. Andy Adlard tallied the game-winner for the Hoosiers in the 92nd minute. 
     The Buckeyes trailed 2-0 at the 54:00 mark, but Danny Irizarry and Patrick Roan each tallied goals to even up the score with 13:45 to play. All four goals scored in regulation came in the second half.
In the Big Ten Tournament: Ohio State holds a 1-3-1 record against Indiana in tournament action, with the lone win coming in the 2000 semifinals. With the game Thursday, the two teams will have met in four-consecutive conference tournaments.

     The Lilly Library at Indiana is one of the largest rare book and manuscript libraries in the country. Among its holdings are the first printed collection of Shakespeare’s works, one of 25 extant copies of the “First Printing of the Declaration of Independence” that was printed in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776, George Washington’s letter accepting the presidency of the United States and typescripts of many of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels.

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

     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 twice (2005, 2007), leading them to the national championship game in 07. They also have been in the Big Ten Championship final each of the last two years, capturing last year’s crown on penalty kicks over Indiana.

     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.
     Nine teams on Ohio State’s 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 regular season. Also, each of the top three teams in the Great Lakes Region appear on the 2008 slate and six of the top seven.

     Prior to Akron’s four-goal scoring output, the Buckeyes’ defense, anchored by Tim Gabel, Patrick Roan, Dave Tiemstra and Doug Verhoff, had given up more than one goal just three times and pulled out six shutouts. Both marks were second in the Big Ten.
 They are now fifth in the conference in goals-against average (1.07) and tied for third in shutouts per game with 0.33.

     With the loss to fourth-ranked Akron, the Buckeyes are 1-4-1 against teams ranked in the NSCAA Top 25 this season. They defeated No. 18 Tulsa Sept. 7, tied No. 7 UIC and dropped decisions to No. 7 Northwestern, No. 22 Indiana, No. 18 Michigan and No. 4 Akron. Last season, Ohio State went 7-3-2 against teams in the Top 25.

     Each of Ohio State’s last eight games and 15 of its 18 this season have been decided by one goal or less. The Buckeyes own a 6-7-2 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 the match against Indiana Oct. 26 going into overtime.

     Ohio State is tied for third in the Big Ten in shutouts with six so far this season (0.33 per game). The 1-0 blanking of Cleveland State Oct. 22 was the team’s last shutout to date. The Buckeyes went five games, allowing just one goal Sept. 21-Oct. 8, to secure four of the team’s clean sheets this season.

     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.

     Konrad Warzycha has posted at least one point in three of the last five 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 ninth 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.

     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 five of the school’s NCAA tournament appearances (2000, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2007). His 2004 squad went to the Sweet 16’ and his 2007 squad went to the national championship game. 
     Bluem owns a 127-88-30 record at Ohio State. His career record, which includes six seasons at Fresno State, stands at 217-115-42. In 29 seasons of coaching soccer, teams Bluem has been a part of have gone 390-140-74. A fullback at traditional soccer power Hartwick College, Bluem helped guide the Warriors to the College Cup in 1974.