Aug. 24, 2005

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The 18th-ranked Ohio State men’s soccer team hosts Cincinnati at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the College Cup Preview Match at Columbus Crew Stadium. The game will mark the second and final exhibition match of the season for the Buckeyes, who kick off the regular season Sept. 2-4 as hosts of the Ohio State Classic in Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.

Ohio State has eight starters back from its 2004 squad that won a share of the Big Ten regular season title and advanced to the third round of the NCAA tournament. The Bearcats, making their first appearance in the BIG EAST this season, return five starters from their 2004 squad that went 7-10-3.

Live stats via GameTracker will be available of the Ohio State-Cincinnati exhibition Friday night at GameTracker will be available for all Buckeye home games and selected away matches.

The match in Crew Stadium Friday will mark the fifth consecutive year Ohio State has hosted the College Cup Preview Match. The Buckeyes are 0-2-2 in the event, including a 0-0 draw against Southern Methodist in 2001, a 3-1 loss to Maryland in 2002, a 5-0 loss to SMU in 2003 and a 2-2 tie with Rutgers in 2004. Ohio State and Crew Stadium hosted the NCAA College Cup in 2001 and 2003.

For their effort in 2004 the NSCAA ranked the Buckeyes No. 18 in the NSCAA/adidas pre-season poll, released Aug. 16. That rank ties Ohio State’s best pre-season ranking, as OSU also was ranked No. 18 in 2001.

Senior defender Kyle Veris was named a preseason third-team All-American this week by College Soccer News. Veris, a first-team All-Big Ten selection a year ago, began the season as a forward but moved to defender, where he helped OSU allow only two goals in Big Ten play. Ohio State went 9-3-1 and went to the NCAA `Sweet 16′ after Veris moved to the back. In addition, freshman Tim Gabel was named one of College Soccer News’ Top 100 Freshmen to Watch.

Cincinnati finished the 2004 season 7-10-3 overall and a 5-3-1record in Conference USA. The Bearcats, new members of the BIG EAST in 2005, return 14 letterwinners from last year, including five starters. Friday will also mark the second exhibition match of the season for Cincinnati after posting a 2-0 victory over Marshall last Sunday.

In the regular season, the Buckeyes hold a slight advantage over the Bearcats in the all-time series. Ohio State is 10-9-3 when playing Cincinnati. From 1994 to 1997, Ohio State won four straight matches, but the Buckeyes have dropped the last two meetings in 1998 and 2000.

Year Location Winner Score 2000 OSU Cincinnati 3-1 1998 OSU Cincinnati 1-0 1997 UC Ohio State 1-0 1996 OSU Ohio State 2-0 1995 UC Ohio State 2-1

Though 2000 marked the last regular-season meeting of Ohio State and Cincinnati, these two teams met in an exhibition match in Cincinnati in 2002. The Bearcats edged the Buckeyes 3-2 in that contest, scoring the game-winner in the 85th minute. Andy Rosenband and Kevin Nugent scored goals for Ohio State.

Freshman Patrick Roan scored the game-tying goal in the 82nd minute, but host Dayton answered with the game-winner less than a minute later and the host Flyers held on to top Ohio State, 2-1, Sunday night in both team’s first exhibition match of the season.

Eight of Ohio State’s 11 shots came in the second half, with Roan having one of those shots that found its way to the back of the net. During a scramble in the goalkeeper box, Ohio State sophomore Xavier Balc sent a header that went to the leg of Roan, who redirected the ball past the Flyer goalkeeper. Less than a minute after Roan’s equalizer, Dayton’s Antti Arst sent a free kick into the goalkeeper box that teammate Omar Jarun headed in, which would hold up to be the game-winner.

Ohio State goalkeepers Ray Burse Jr. and Casey Latchem split equal time in goal. Burse handled the first half without a save, while Latchem saved four shots in the second half.

Three Buckeye seniors spent their summer competing on Premier Development League teams. Goalkeeper Ray Burse Jr. led the Chicago Fire Premier to a 15-1-2 overall record and a berth in the PDL playoffs. Defender Kyle Veris and the Mid-Michigan Bucks fashioned a 14-5-1 record and went two round deep in the playoffs, while forward Kevin Nugent and the Cleveland Internationals went 5-8-3.

John Bluem was named the 2004 Big Ten Coach of the Year, while senior captain Justin Cook was named the Player of the Year. Bluem also received the honor in 1999, while Cook became the first player to earn both the Big Ten freshman of the year award (he received the honor in 2000) and player of the year award.

Also receiving first team All-Big Ten honors was junior defender Kyle Veris, while earning second team honors were junior goalkeeper Ray Burse Jr. and sophomore midfielder Taylor Korpieski. Forward Xavier Balc was named to the All-Freshman Team. Sophomore defender Dustin Kirby was named to the Big Ten all-tournament team.

Ohio State hosted 11th-ranked Memphis Nov. 19 in the first round of the NCAA tournament and handed the Tigers a 1-0 loss. Kevin Nugent’s goal in the 28th minute would prove to be the game-winner as the OSU defense, led by goalkeeper Ray Burse Jr., posted the shutout.

On the road four days later at ninth-ranked and fifth-seeded Notre Dame, the Buckeyes got an early goal from Justin Cook in the fourth minute and then the game-winner from Ryan Kustos in the 76th minute to knock off the Fighting Irish. Burse had four saves and the assist on Cook’s goal.

Five days later at Duke, Ohio State’s season came to an end with a 3-0 loss to the Blue Devils, who would go on to beat Virginia to advance to the College Cup. A record six Big Ten teams were selected for the NCAA tournament.

In Big Ten games only, Ohio State finished the 2004 regular season with the top-ranked offense and defense in the conference. The Buckeyes ranked first in goals scored per game (1.67) and fewest goals allowed per game (0.33). Ohio State allowed just two goals in conference play, including one to Indiana and one to Northwestern. In all games, Ohio State ranked fourth in the league in scoring (1.82 gpg) and third in fewest goals allowed (1.12 gapg).

Individually in Big Ten games only, senior forward Justin Cook finished as the top scorer in the league, ending the regular season with six goals and one assist for 13 points. Junior goalkeeper Ray Burse Jr. finished as the Big Ten’s best as his position, as well, owning the best goals-against average at 0.33 and also ranking first in shutouts (4), while ranking fourth in saves per game (4.17 spg).

John Bluem won his school-record 73rd career game Oct. 17, 2004 as the Buckeyes shut out Penn State, 3-0. The victory moves Bluem past Al Bianco (1979-86) and Gary Avedikian (1987-96), who both had 72 wins in their tenures.

“We have had some great players at Ohio State and it’s an honor to hold that record at such a great institution,” Bluem said. “I have had the good fortune to work in a fully funded program and with great facilities. Ohio State has great tradition in soccer and has had some great coaches and to be at the top of that list is quite an honor.”

Following the Cincinnati exhibition, the Buckeyes will host the Ohio State Classic Sept. 2 -4. Ohio State will face Marquette Friday at 7:30 p.m. and No. 8 New Mexico Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

Taylor Korpieski, junior midfielder
On preseason camp
“It is going very well. I have been here now for three years and I think we look better than I have ever seen. I think we are having a great start to the season.”

On his goals for the season
“I don’t have any individual goals right now. I just want to focus on the team as a whole. Our goal is to win the Big Ten tournament as well as get back to the NCAA tournament.”

Kevin Nugent, senior forward
On preseason camp
“Camp is going well so far. I have definitely taken on the leadership role and am helping the younger guys get better. The two-a-days are tough, but everyone is working hard and the freshmen are stepping right into it.”

Ray Burse Jr., senior goalkeeper
On practice
“Practice is going well. The weather has been working out great for us. Everyone has come in fit and with a positive attitude. A good attitude transpires to a great work ethic on the field.”

On his goals for the season
“Our biggest goal is to win the Big Ten tournament. We have not won it since I have been here, so it is really important to us. The second goal is to win the Ohio State Classic tournament. Individually, I would like to place in the top two in the league for goals-against average. Also, I hope to work well collectively as a defensive unit.”