COLUMBUS, Ohio – The second-seeded Ohio State men’s soccer team begins defense of its 2009 Big Ten Tournament title against No. 7-seed Wisconsin at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday in the quarterfinal round at Jeffrey Field, on the campus of Penn State in University Park, Pa. The Buckeyes ride a three-game shutout winning streak into the postseason after knocking off regular-season champion Indiana, 1-0, last Sunday in Columbus.
They are currently 10-5-2, posting the 11th 10-win season under head coach John Bluem, and finished the Big Ten regular season in a tie with Michigan for second place with a 4-2-0 record. Ohio State earned the No. 2 seed by virtue of head-to-head results vs. Michigan after the Buckeyes earned a 1-0 win Sept. 25 in Ann Arbor. Wisconsin is 4-12-2, 1-4-1, including a 1-0 loss to Ohio State less than two weeks ago.
GET ALL THE ACTION
Live: Jeffrey Field, tickets available day of game for $5 (students) and $8 (adults)
Live stats: Linked from the main page and men’s soccer schedule page of OhioStateBuckeyes.com
Quarterfinals – Thursday, Nov. 11
Match 1 – 10 a.m. – No. 3 Michigan vs. No. 6 Michigan State
Match 2 – 12:30 p.m. – No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 7 Wisconsin
Match 3 – 3 p.m. – No. 4 Penn State vs. No. 5 Northwestern
Semifinals – Friday, Nov. 12
Match 4 (BTN) – Match 1 winner vs. Match 2 winner
Match 5 (BTN) – No. 1 Indiana vs. Match 3 winner
Final – Sunday, Nov. 13
Match 6 (BTN) – Match 4 winner vs. Match 5 winner
BUCKEYES … IN A NUTSHELL
Ohio State is 10-5-2 on the season with a final 4-2-0 record in conference play. Konrad Warzycha leads the Buckeyes with seven 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. Eight 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 with a 0.68 goals-against average, a .868 save percentage and nine shutouts.
OSU IN THE BTT
Ohio State has three previous championships to its credit, taking home the trophy in 2000, 2007 and 2009. In 18 appearances, the Buckeyes are 15-15-1 for the third-best winning percentage (.500) in the league. They are 7-9 when playing the quarterfinal round, though they have won three of their last four appearances. As the No. 1 seed, Ohio State had a bye in the quarterfinals last season.
Ohio State holds a 73-25-15 record (.707) – 7-0-1 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).
The Indiana game last Sunday marked the final regular-season home game for three seniors: Matt Gold, Sam Scales and Konrad Warzycha. This trio of midfielders makes up one of the most successful classes in Ohio State history, 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. They have earned a combined 49 wins thus far, which is tied for second for the most wins of any four-year class. The 2007 seniors posted 51.
MATT GOLD: A two-time team captain, he has started in 77 of 79 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 48 of 74 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 54 of 72 career games and has scored seven goals to date, more than the previous three years combined, giving him 12 on his career. As a central midfielder, he also has added nine assists for 33 career points.
THE POWER OF FOUR
This year’s senior class of Matt Gold, Sam Scales and Konrad Warzycha could become the first to make the NCAA Tournament in all four years of their careers. All seven of Ohio State’s appearances in the postseason have come in the last decade, including five of the last six years with the only exception coming in 2006.
Generally know as a stingy defensive program, the 2010 Buckeyes have not disappointed. Matt Lampson and David Tiemstra have represented the Buckeyes by earning a combined four Big Ten 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 0.68 – the only sub-1.0 GAA in the Big Ten and the 15th-lowest in the NCAA – and goals allowed with 12.
BETWEEN THE PIPES
Sophomore goalkeeper Matt Lampson has nine shutouts to his credit this season, good for first in the conference, and 18 for the last two seasons, moving into fourth all-time on the career clean sheet chart in just his second season in a Buckeye uniform. He needs just one more to tie Dave Sheer (1985-88) for third place. His 0.868 save percentage not only top the Big Ten, but is seventh in the nation.
HELP A GUY OUT
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.
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER
In his final season as a Buckeye, Konrad Warzycha has produced seven goals, which is more than his career total from the previous three seasons combined (five). The co-captain from Dublin, Ohio, earned three of his five scores on penalty kicks early in the season, while adding the other four vs. Bucknell, Valparais, Oakland and most recently Wisconsin. Five have stood as game-winning scores.
As of Nov. 9, Ohio State holds on to the No. 14 spot in the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), the most important of the criteria in selection to the 48-team NCAA Tournament. The Buckeyes are 2-1-2 against teams ranked higher than them. There are currently four Big Ten teams in the Top 15 and five of seven are in the Top 30. 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 seven 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 nine of the team’s shutouts to his credit, giving him 18 through his first two seasons.
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. With at least one game remaining on the 2010 schedule, the current seniors – Matt Gold, Sam Scales and Konrad Warzycha – are in a position to finish as one of the successful classes of Buckeye soccer..
Winningest Senior Classes
RANK AND FILE
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. They are currently ranked No. 21 by Soccer America and are receiving votes in the other three major polls.
SCOUTING THE BADGERS
Though the Badgers’ record is a paltry 4-12-2, they won three of the last four games of the season and are on a roll heading into the conference tournament. They knocked off No. 22 Penn State, 1-0, to conclude the regular season last weekend, posting the program’s first win over a ranked opponent and Big Ten victory since topping then-No. 25 Ohio State, 2-0, on Oct. 25, 2009.
Prior to a win Oct. 27 vs. UW Milwaukee, The Badgers had not won a match since its season opener vs. Santa Clara Sept. 4, though five of those losses came in overtime and all but one were by one goal. They are led by Chris Prince with seven goals with Aaron Nichols coming in second in scoring with three goals and two assists. In goal, Max Jentsch has had the starting role of late, tallying a 1.49 goals-against average and .745 save percentage in nine appearances. Wisconsin is coached by John Trask, who is in his first season at the helm of the Badgers after five seasons in the same role at UIC.
The Buckeyes lead the all-time series 14-11-1, including wins in six of the last seven meetings. The teams last met on Halloween when Konrad Warzycha scored the game-winning goal in the 28th minute off an assist from Sam Scales. Wisconsin leads the series in conference tournament play with a 2-1 record.
Head coach John Bluem, the reigning Big Ten coach of the year, is in his 14th season at the helm of the Buckeyes. The winningest coach in program history, he has 149 wins to his credit and holds a .583 winning percentage. In 20 years as a collegiate head coach, Bluem’s career record stands at 235-127-49 (.630), including six seasons at Fresno State.
LAST TIME OUT
Austin McAnena scored the game-winning goal in the 27th minute to propel the Buckeyes to a 1-0 win over Indiana at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in the regular-season finale for both squads last Sunday. Chris Hegngi played McAnena the ball just outside the right edge line of the goal box. The sophomore from Laguna Niguel, Calif., sent his shot towards the middle of the mouth, but a misdirection from an IU defender instead sent the ball into the upper right corner for a 1-0 OSU lead and McAnena’s first goal since Oct. 3 vs. Michigan State.
The one-goal lead remained intact by the play from Ohio State defense – David Tiemstra and Chris Gomez in the middle, with Dalton Summers and Sage Gardner on the flanks – who were stifling to say the least vs. the Hoosiers. Alec Purdie tallied IU’s first shot of the match midway through the 11th minute and the Hoosiers would not get off another for nearly 59 minutes of play until a late rally in the second half. Behind the defense, Matt Lampson earned his Big Ten-leading ninth shutout of the year and inched closer to third place all-time in career clean sheets with 18 over the last two seasons. The sophomore from nearby Hilliard, Ohio, needs one to tie Dave Sheer (1985-88) for third place.
Following the Big Ten Tournament, the Buckeyes will await their NCAA Tournament fate, announced 4:30-5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 15 on ESPNU.
A member of the Ohio State team has been 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.
ONE AND DONE
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 8-5-2 record in those contests.
Seniors and tri-captains Matt Gold, Sam Scales and Konrad Warzycha were named “Players to Watch” by the Big Ten conference last weekend. The senior class has combined for 43 wins over the last three-plus seasons and two of the last three Big Ten championships.
YOUTH IS SERVED
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
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.
BIG GAMES, SMALL SCREEN
The Big Ten Network aired four of Ohio State’s regular-season games during 2010. The defending Big Ten champions took on Northwestern and Penn State on the road and Wisconsin and Indiana at home, all on tape delay.
Ohio State and Northwestern took to the field in Evanston, Ill., at 1 p.m. Oct. 10 with the game airing at 5 p.m., while the Buckeye-Nittany Lion matchup played at 3 p.m. Oct. 23 and shown on BTN at 7 p.m. Oct. 24. Ohio State welcomes Wisconsin to Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium for a 2 p.m. match on Oct. 31 with it airing at 7 p.m.
Big Ten Network picked up the Indiana game at 1 p.m. Nov. 7 (7 p.m. delay) as a wild card selection and will broadcast the conference semifinals and championship live from University Park, Pa., Nov. 12 and 14, respectively, providing further broadcast opportunities.
Expectations were high for the defending Big Ten champions as they headed into 2010, and so far the team is living up to them. The Buckeyes were tabbed the preseason favorite for the conference championship by the league coaches and were heralded as a Top 20 team by several national publications. They were ranked by College Soccer News (No. 10), Soccer America (No. 14) and the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (No. 18) to open the campaign. Ohio State acknowledges the NSCAA poll as its “official” ranking throughout the season.
IN THE NIC OF TIME
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.