COLUMBUS, Ohio – With a quarterfinal berth on the line, the 16th-seeded Ohio State men’s soccer team travels to top-seeded and undefeated Louisville for a third-round battle at 7 p.m. Sunday in the 2010 NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship at Cardinal Park.

Ohio State (11-5-3) advanced to the third round after a first-round bye and knocking off Providence, 2-1, last Sunday in the second round. This is the Buckeyes’ fourth-consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament, third as a seeded team, and eighth overall. They have advanced to the third round on two previous occasions, the last in 2007 en route to the national championship game.

Louisville (17-0-3) defeated College of Charleston, 3-1, in its second-round match a week ago for the program’s first appearance in the round of 16. The Cardinals have made the NCAA Tournament field each of the last four years and have a combined 2-3-0 record in those contests.

Live: Cardinal Park, tickets available day of game for $3 (standing room only)
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Ohio State is making its eighth NCAA Tournament appearance in program history, all with John Bluem at the helm, and fourth in a row. The Buckeyes have posted a 7-7-1 record in NCAA play, 1-3-1 when playing a true road game and 2-5-1 away from Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium (5-2-0 at home). As the No. 4 seed a year ago, Ohio State was upset in the second round by Drake, who went on to advance to the quarterfinals. The 2008 tournament run also ended in the second round with a 2-1 double overtime loss to Akron. The Buckeyes were the national runner-up in 2007.

The winner of Louisville-Ohio State game will face the winner of Dartmouth at No. 8 UCLA. The Big Green and Bruins will play their third-round game at 8 p.m. ET Sunday in Los Angeles.

All five Big Ten teams remain in the tournament in separate third-round games, while only one of the seven Big East squads – Louisville – is still alive in the tourney. Two of five ACC teams in second-seeded Maryland and fourth-seeded North Carolina remain.

Unbeaten Louisville is the No. 1 seed in the 48-team field for the NCAA Division I Men’s Tournament, which began Nov. 18 with first-round games. Maryland, Akron, North Carolina and SMU follow at 2-5. The Big East led all conferences with seven teams in the tournament field, while the Big Ten and ACC had five each. Four Big Ten teams earned Top 16 seeds, the most of any conference for the second season in a row.

The remaining Top 16 seeds in order are California, South Carolina, UCLA, Notre Dame, Michigan, Connecticut, William & Mary, Butler, Indiana, Penn State and Ohio State. Among those, only three have lost – Connecticut, Notre Dame and Butler. A total of 10 opponents from the Buckeyes’ 2010 schedule made the tourney field, including five seeded teams. Six of those 10 teams are still in action, illustrating the strength of this year’s schedule.

Unbeaten through its last five games, Ohio State heads into the third round of the NCAA Tournament with an 11-5-3 on the season after defeating Providence, 2-1, last Sunday. Konrad Warzycha leads the Buckeyes with eight goals, including five game-winners, and has more than his total from the previous three seasons combined.

Sophomores Austin McAnena and Chris Hegngi are tied for second and third on the team in scoring with 11 (4g, 3a) and 10 (3g, 4a) points, respectively. Nine other Buckeyes have tallied at least one point this season, including goalkeeper Matt Lampson who earned an assist on the game-winner vs. Michigan State. In goal, Lampson ranks first among conference keepers and in the Top 10 nationwide with a 0.66 goals-against average, a .866 save percentage and 10 shutouts

The Cardinals have yet to lose a game this season, tallying a 17-0-3 record through the year en route to the Big East regular-season and tournament titles. As the 15th-ranked scoring offense in the country, they are outscoring opponents 40-12 and are one of just eight teams in the NCAA to allow fewer goals than the Buckeyes.

Boasting a team attack, the Cardinals have had four players tally at least four goals and 12 total have found the back of the net with two others adding points on assists. Colin Rolfe tops the list with seven goals and six assists, while Dylan Mares is second with eight goals and three assists. Andre Boudreaux has played every minute of the season in goal, posting a 0.57 goals-against average with a .803 save percentage and 49 saves.

Ken Lolla is in his fifth season as head coach at Louisville. He has a 58-28-16 record with the Cardinals after 13 seasons at the helm of the Akron program. 

Ohio State holds a 7-4-2 record against Louisville with the last meeting taking place earlier this season on Sept. 22. The teams battled to a scoreless draw, initiating a four-game  unbeaten streak for the Buckeyes, three of which would come against ranked opponents. (See page 5 of PDF notes for more info on this meeting)

The last time Ohio State and Louisville met in the postseason was exactly three years ago to the date of the third-round matchup. The Buckeyes defeated the Cardinals, 1-0, in the second round of the 2007 tournament on their way to the national championship game. (See page 5 of PDF notes for more info on this meeting)

In his 14th season at Ohio State, head coach John Bluem now has 150 wins as a Buckeye after his squad defeated Providence, 2-1, in the second round. Bluem tops the all-time wins list for OSU soccer coaches and has a .587 win percentage which places him among the Top 30 winningest active coaches in the NCAA.

The first of the postseason accolades have rolled in. David Tiemstra was named to the Second Team of the Year by Top Drawer Soccer, while Sage Gardner was dubbed a Second Team All-Rookie selection by the same outlet.

Once he takes the field Sunday, Matt Gold will have played in nine NCAA Tournament matches, tying the most of any Buckeye player. The senior captain from San Antonia, Texas, has started in eight postseason matches dating back to his freshman season. Xavier Balc (2004-07) also played in nine during his years as a Buckeye.

This year’s senior class of Matt Gold, Sam Scales and Konrad Warzycha is the first to make the NCAA Tournament in all four years of their careers. All eight of Ohio State’s appearances in the postseason have come in the last decade, including six of the last seven years with the only exception coming in 2006. The 2010 seniors went to the College Cup final as freshmen and followed up with back-to-back appearances in the second round.

With the win over Indiana in the regular-season finale Nov. 7, the Buckeyes posted the 18th 10-win season in program history. Eleven of those have come in 14 seasons under head coach John Bluem.

Ohio State holds a 74-25-15 record (.707) – 8-0-1 this season – in Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium since the facility opened in 1999, including at least six wins in each of the last four seasons, including 2010. The last time the Buckeyes went undefeated on their home grass was 1974 when they earned a 4-0-1 record in home contests (11-6-3 overall, head coach Al Bianco).

David Tiemstra headlined the list of six Ohio State men’s soccer team members to receive awards at the annual Big Ten Tournament banquet Nov. 11 at the Mount Nittany Club at Beaver Stadium. The junior center back was named the conference’s defensive player of the year, becoming the second Buckeye in a row to bring home the honor.

Tiemstra also earned First Team All-Big Ten honors, as did senior midfielder Konrad Warzycha and sophomore goalkeeper Matt Lampson. Senior midfielder Matt Gold was tabbed a Second Team honoree, while Sage Gardner was named to the All-Freshman Team and Sam Scales rounded out the list of Buckeyes to pick up hardware with the Sportsmanship Award.

The NCAA match against Louisville gives three seniors -Matt Gold, Sam Scales and Konrad Warzycha – the chance to move into a tie for the winningest senior class in program history. This trio of midfielders has been a part of 50 career wins after starting their careers with a trip to the national championship game as freshmen and going on to capture Big Ten tournament titles in two of the last three years and the first outright regular-season title a year ago. The Top 4 winningest senior classes in program history have come within the last four seasons, as the Buckeyes have risen within the Big Ten and national ranks to be a perennial contender.
Winningest Senior Classes
2007 51
2010 50
2009 49
2008 48

Regardless of the outcome of the Buckeyes’ meeting with Louisville, the 2010 senior class will go down as one of the most successful in Ohio State history.
MATT GOLD:  A two-time team captain, he has started in 79 of 81 career games and contributed three goals and six assists over the course of his career. An aggressive central midfielder, he has logged the most minutes of any field player in each of his four seasons.

SAM SCALES: As a flank midfielder, he has started 50 of 76 career games and has 15 career assists to his credit, a mark that stands seventh all-time at Ohio State. He also has added five goals over the last four seasons, including a pair this season.

KONRAD WARZYCHA: He has started 56 of 74 career games and has scored eight goals to date, more than the previous three years combined, giving him 13 on his career. As a central midfielder, he also has added nine assists for 35 career points.

Freshman Omar Vallejo could not have picked a better time to score his first collegiate goal, netting the game-winner in the 72nd minute to lead the 16th-seeded Ohio State men’s soccer team to a 2-1 win over Providence in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Nov. 21 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Konrad Warzycha also scored in the match, converting on a penalty kick in the 58th minute, as Ohio State moved to 11-5-3 on the season and the Friars had their 10-game unbeaten streak snapped to conclude their 2010 campaign with a 13-6-3 record. The Buckeyes also remained unbeaten at JOMS this season, improving to 8-0-1 on their home grass.

With the 2-0 lead, the Buckeyes stepped back on defense as the Friars continued to push forward. Lampson, who ended the day with five saves, made four in the second half and three within an eight-minute span to preserve the advantage. The Friars would end up squeaking one through though towards the end of regulation. Greg Davis connected on a free kick from Andrew Sousa with a header that ricocheted off the right post and into the net for the first goal allowed by the Buckeyes in nearly 465 minutes of action.

Generally know as a stingy defensive program, the 2010 Buckeyes have not disappointed. First Team All-Big Ten goalkeeper Matt Lampson and David Tiemstra, the 2010 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, represented the Buckeyes by earning a combined four conference defensive player of the week accolades this season. At center back, Tiemstra anchors the OSU defense that has kept the team at the top of the conference in goals-against average with 0.66 – the only sub-1.0 GAA in the Big Ten and the 10th-lowest in the NCAA – and goals allowed with 13.

Sophomore goalkeeper Matt Lampson has 10 shutouts to his credit this season, including one in four of the last five games, good for first in the conference, and 19 for the last two seasons, moving into third all-time on the career clean sheet chart in just his second season in a Buckeye uniform. He needs five to take over second place. His 0.866 save percentage not only tops the Big Ten, but is fifth in the nation.

Sam Scales has developed a reputation of helping folks out on the field. He leads the Buckeyes with four assists this season and has 15 for his career, which ranks No. 7 all-time at Ohio State on the career chart.

In his final season as a Buckeye, Konrad Warzycha has produced eight goals, which is more than his career total from the previous three seasons combined (five). The co-captain from Dublin, Ohio, has earned four of his scores on penalty, while adding the other four vs. Bucknell, Valparais, Oakland and most recently Wisconsin. Five of eight have stood as game-winning scores.

In the final RPI of the 2010 season, issued Nov. 14, Ohio State holds on to the No. 20 spot in the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), the most important of the criteria in selection to the 48-team NCAA Tournament. At the time of the rankings, the Buckeyes are 3-1-2 against teams ranked higher than them. Five Big Ten teams ended the year in the Top 20.  The RPI is a mathematical formula designed to objectively compare results and strength of schedule.

The sophomore class represents on the Buckeyes’ greatest strengths on both ends of the field. Behind Warzycha’s team-leading eight goals, it is a pair of sophomores in second and third in scoring with Austin McAnena (4g, 3a) and Chris Hegngi (3g, 4a). Conversely, Matt Lampson controls play between the pipes and has all 10 of the team’s shutouts to his credit, giving him 19 through his first two seasons.

The Buckeyes fell out of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) poll Oct. 26 for the first time in 12 weeks, dating back to last season, and have not returned to the national spotlight since, despite an undefeated record (3-0-1) through the remainder of the regular season. They headed into the postseason ranked No. 21 by Soccer America and receiving votes in the other three major polls.

Head coach John Bluem is in his 14th season at the helm of the Buckeyes. The winningest coach in program history, he has 150 wins to his credit and holds a .583 winning percentage. In 20 years as a collegiate head coach, Bluem’s career record stands at 236-127-50 (.630), including six seasons at Fresno State.

A member of the Ohio State team was recognized by the Big Ten in five of nine weeks this season. Four of those have been defensive player of the week honors, divided between Lampson (three) and Tiemstra (one). Austin  McAnena earned the lone offensive player of the week accolade of the year, marking the first offensive POW honor for a Buckeye since Nov. 9, 2009, when Tiemstra earned it for scoring the game-winner against Michigan to capture the Big Ten regular-season title.

Over 7,200 fans watched the Buckeyes battle to a 2-2 draw vs. Akron Wednesday, Sept. 29, shattering the previous record of 3,168 set against Michigan State during the 2008 season.

All but two games this season – a pair of 2-0 wins vs. Buffalo and Oakland – have been decided by one goal or less. The Buckeyes own an 9-5-3 record in those contests.

For the seventh-consecutive season, at least one true freshman made his first collegiate start for the Buckeyes. In the opener vs. College of Charleston, both Sage Gardner and Omar Vallejo took the pitch as rookies with Vallejo tallying the assist on Chris Hegngi’s game-winner in the 24th minute.
True Freshmen in the Season Opener Starting Lineup
2010: Sage Gardner, D and Omar Vallejo, F
2009: Austin McAnena, M and Chris Hegngi, F
2008: David Tiemstra, D
2007: Matt Gold, M
2006: Doug Verhoff, M
2005: Geoff Marsh, M
2004: Xavier Balc, M and Casey Latchem, GK

Seniors and tri-captains Matt Gold, Sam Scales and Konrad Warzycha were named “Players to Watch” by the Big Ten conference at the beginning of the year. The senior class has combined for 50 wins over the last four seasons and two of the last three Big Ten championships.

After winning both games of the Wolstein Classic Sept. 3 and 5, the Buckeyes are 15-7-4 all-time in their early-season tournament, including an 8-1-3 mark the last six seasons. Since 1991, Ohio State is 14-3-3 in its first home game of the year, while John Bluem is 7-2-2 in home season openers in his 14th season as head coach.

Nic Rossi was added to the coaching staff as a volunteer assistant for the 2010 season. Rossi joined the Buckeyes after serving as an assistant coach at Stevens Institute of Technology for one season. Prior to his time at Stevens, Rossi was the director of soccer operations for the Brown soccer program from 2007-09.

The Buckeyes went 2-1 through exhibition play this preseason, knocking off Mount Vernon Nazarene, 2-1, Aug. 21 and Cleveland State, 3-1, Aug. 24, before falling to Notre Dame, 2-0, Aug. 28 in Fort Wayne, Ind. Sophomore Chris Hegngi has tallied two goals in exhibition play, finding the back of the net once in each contest, while Sam Scales and Matt Gold have each added single goals. Cleveland State gave up an own goal to account for the remaining Buckeye score.