Aug. 17, 2006

Complete Release in PDF Format
Download Free Acrobat Reader

Before both teams host season-opening tournaments next weekend, the Ohio State men’s soccer team and Bradley meet Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Crew Stadium in the College Cup Preview Match. The exhibition match is the second and final for both teams, which have combined to make seven trips to the NCAA tournament since 2000.

GameTracker will have the match live at The OSU women’s team will take on Texas A&M at 5 p.m. in Crew Stadium prior to the OSU-Bradley match.

The match Friday will mark the sixth-annual College Cup Preview Match in Crew Stadium, which hosted the NCAA College Cup in 2001 and 2003. With 17 returning letterwinners and eight starters back for 10th-year head coach John Bluem, Ohio State played to a 1-1 tie with Dayton last Sunday in exhibition action. Bradley dropped a 1-0 exhibition match Monday to No. 24 Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Ohio State has gone to the NCAA tournament four of the last six seasons, won a Big Ten title (2000) and a league regular-season co-championship (2004) and has produced six MLS draft picks.

The season officially begins Aug. 25-27 for the Buckeyes with The Bert and Iris Wolstein Soccer Classic Hosted by The Ohio State University, where OSU will face Hartwick and Furman.

This year marks the sixth time Ohio State and Crew Stadium have hosted the College Cup Preview Match. The Buckeyes’ prior opponents have included Southern Methodist twice, Maryland, Rutgers and Cincinnati. Crew Stadium hosted the NCAA College Cup in 2001 and 2003. The 22,555-seat facility opened May 15, 1999 as the first soccer-specific stadium in the United States.

The Buckeyes were 11-8-2 overall last year and finished second in the Big Ten regular season standings at 3-2-1. Ohio State then made its second-consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament, where a 1-0 loss at No. 18 Santa Clara ended OSU’s season.

The Buckeyes return ten of their Top 12 scorers from last season and have two All-Big Ten selections back, including defender Dustin Kirby and midfielder Brent Rohrer. Led by Kirby, OSU returns two other starters in the defense and, led by Rohrer, all four starters in the midfield.

Leading scorer Kevin Nugent graduated and took with him 20 points from last season, including four game-winning goals. Junior Xavier Balc, a third-team all-region pick last year, is back after a five-goal, eight-assist season. He headlines the forwards and will be joined by juniors Eric Edwards and Ryan Kustos among others.

Along with Nugent, departed starters include goalkeeper Ray Burse Jr. and defender Kyle Veris, both of whom were third-round MLS draft picks last January. Junior Casey Latchem will take over the goalkeeping duties and keep the Buckeyes in good hands there, while starting defenders Kirby, Jim Fisher and Eric Brunner will look for a fourth member of their group, most likely sophomore Tim Gabel.

Seeing all his players perform in game conditions is always the goal for Bluem in exhibition games – winning is understandably secondary. Last season, the Buckeyes dropped their two exhibition games, including a 2-1 loss at Dayton and a 1-0 loss to Cincinnati, but went 5-1 in their first six regular-season games and climbed to as high as No. 11 in the national polls.

Two years ago Ohio State topped Robert Morris 5-1 and Pittsburgh 2-0 in exhibition matches at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium before tying No. 12 Rutgers 2-2 in Crew Stadium. Prior to those two wins, however, the Buckeyes had not won an exhibition match since a 2-1 win over Butler in 2001.

In preparation for the 2006 season, Ohio State went on a 10-day trip to Germany in June, where the Buckeyes won all three of their exhibition matches with a +13 goal differential. The travel party also attended three World Cup matches and went on numerous sight-seeing and team-building excursions.

Last Sunday in exhibition action, Ohio State broke a scoreless tie with a goal in the 88th minute, but Dayton scored the equalizer off a corner kick with four seconds remaining to steal a tie from the Buckeyes in Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.

Ohio State outshot the Flyers 22-11 and had nine shots on goal compared to just two for the visitors. OSU freshmen Luke Purpero and Andrew Magill combined for a goal, with Magill scoring from inside the 6-yard box after Purpero’s shot was deflected by the UD goalkeeper. Junior forward Eric Edwards had eight shots for the Buckeyes, while junior midfielder Ryan Kustos had six shots, including a match-high three on goal.

Considering Ohio State annually boasts one of the Big Ten’s best defenses, it was no surprise when a pair of defenders were announced as the Buckeyes’ 2006 co-captains this week. Seniors Jim Fisher and Dustin Kirby were selected by their teammates during preseason camp and will wear the captains bands this season. Fisher has started 36 consecutive matches, while Kirby has started all but one match (61) since his arrival at OSU. Both are Academic All-Big Ten honorees.

Located in Peoria, Ill., Bradley said goodbye to 13 seniors from last year’s squad that went 15-6-1 overall (school wins record) and won the Missouri Valley Conference. Under 11th-year coach Jim DeRose, the Braves are 119-71-17 and have made all three of the program’s NCAA tournament appearances.

Bradley returns its top two scorers from last year in senior forward Zach Bell and junior forward Teddy Anderson. Both were named to the preseason All-MVC squad, which also tabbed the Braves third in the preseason coaches’ poll behind 2005 NCAA Tournament quarterfinalist Creighton and Missouri State.

Bradley is coming off a 1-0 loss in exhibition action Monday at Wisconsin-Milwaukee, which scored in the fifth minute for the win. Both teams had 11 shots but UWM had the shots on-goal advantage, 6-3. Goalkeeper Mike Haynes had five saves for Bradley.

In the regular-season all-time series, Ohio State holds a 4-0-0 lead over Bradley. These two teams last met in 2003 in the Ohio State Classic, where the Buckeyes took a 2-0 win. In 1997, OSU’s Roger Roush scored with 50 seconds left to beat the Braves, 1-0, in Richmond, Va.

Ohio State freshman Andrew Magill is an Illinois native (Downers Grove), the home state of Bradley University and 15 of the 26 players on its men’s soccer team. OSU assistant coach Frank Speth is also a native of Illinois and was director of coaching for the state’s youth soccer association from 1996-98, which produced several Bradley players. OSU junior Steven Traeger and Bradley freshman Grant Campbell are natives of Littleton, Colo. Bradley associate head coach Brad Ruzzo is a 1999 graduate of the University of Cincinnati.

Ohio State head coach John Bluem has guided the Buckeyes to 10 or more wins in seven of his nine seasons in Columbus and to all four of the program’s NCAA tournament appearances. His 2004 squad topped No. 11 Memphis and No. 9 Notre Dame in the postseason to advance to the `Sweet 16.’

Bluem owns a record of 90-70-20 (.555) at Ohio State. His win total and win percentage are school records. Overall, his career record stands at 176-97-32 (.630), which includes six seasons at Fresno State. His winning percentage is ranked No. 29 among all active coaches.

On their way to an 11-8-2 season, the Buckeyes statistically outperformed their opponents in nearly every category. OSU outshot its opponent in 17 of 21 games and 279-198 for the season. The shots on-goal advantage was 120-87. The Buckeyes also led in corner kicks, 109-82.

When Ohio State scored first, the team was a perfect 10-0-0. Overall, the Buckeyes were outscored 10-5 in the first half during the season and led at halftime only twice, but they outscored the opposition 17-12 in the second half. Eight of OSU’s games went into overtime, where the Buckeyes were 3-3-2.

Among active players, junior Xavier Balc appears in the OSU career record book twice. He ranks tied for seventh in career assists (12) and eighth in career shots (99). See page 54-55 in the media guide for complete records.

Seniors Brent Rohrer and Dustin Kirby were second-team All-Big Ten picks last year, while Taylor Korpieski received the same honor as a sophomore in 2004 before injuries cut short his junior season. Junior Xavier Balc was a third-team all-region selection last year. Three current Buckeyes have been named to the Big Ten All-Freshmen Team in their careers, including Korpieski, Balc and sophomore Danny Irizarry.

Ohio State said goodbye to four seniors from last year’s team who helped lead the Buckeyes to 38 wins over the last four years, which tied for the fourth-most by one class in program history. Forward Kevin Nugent and goalkeeper Ray Burse were three-year starters, while defender Kyle Veris was a two-year starter and two-time All-Big Ten pick after transferring from Akron. Midfielder Reid Traeger started four of the last five games last season and was an important part of the midfield.

Ohio State owns a 37-16-9 (.669) record in Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium since the facility opened for the 1999 season. The Buckeyes will play host to the 2006 Big Ten Championship there Nov. 2-5. OSU was 4-3-1 at JOMS last season. OSU’s best season at JOMS was in 2002 with a 7-1-1 record and facility-best six-game winning streak. The JOMS attendance record is 2,081 vs. Indiana, Oct. 24, 2004.

Six Buckeyes have been Major League Soccer draft picks since 2003. Last January in the third round, defender Kyle Veris was taken at No. 25 overall by the L.A. Galaxy and goalkeeper Ray Burse Jr. was selected at No. 30 by F.C. Dallas and was the first goalkeeper picked. In the 2003 draft, forward Andy Rosenband and defender Jake Traeger (brother of current Buckeye Steven Traeger) were taken in the seventh round, while in 2005 forward Justin Cook and midfielder Sammy Tamporello were taken in the supplemental draft.

### GO BUCKS! ###