Nov. 29, 2015
STANFORD, Calif. – The ninth-seeded Ohio State men’s soccer team fell, 3-1, in the third round of the 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Championship Sunday evening at Cagan Stadium in Stanford, Calif. Freshman Abdi Mohamed scored the equalizer for the Buckeyes (13-7-3) in the second half, but Stanford’s Jordan Morris tallied two netters, including the eventual game-winner in the 78th minute to advance the Cardinal (16-2-2) to the tournament quarterfinals. The Buckeyes end their season with 13 victories, which is second-most in school history.
“Stanford was on top of us early in the game and we fought our way back to keep it scoreless at halftime,” head coach John Bluem said. “After the equalizer, I thought we controlled the game for a good portion of the second half, but we made some mistakes defensively and it caught up to us. We are a team that isn’t built to chase and we weren’t at our best tonight and a little shorthanded. I’m real proud of the season we had with this group. After the terrible start, we made it all the way out here in the Sweet 16 against a very good Stanford team. To be Big Ten champions is a tremendous accomplishment. As we get over the pain of this game, I think we will look back and be happy with our 2015 season.”
Morris, the Pac-12 Player of the Year and U.S. national team member, gave the Cardinal a 1-0 advantage in the 53rd minute when he received a through pass over the top of the OSU backline and finished in front of net. The assist was from Eric Verso.
But like all year, the Buckeyes never gave up. The Scarlet and Gray found the equalizer 19 minutes later when Mohamed, a native of Worthington, Ohio, headed in his third goal of the year following an excellent service into the box by Austin Bergstrom in the 72nd. However, Morris struck again in the 78th minute when he knocked a right-footed shot into the upper left 90 of net from 10 yards out for the eventual gamewinning goal for the Cardinal.
Danny Jensen had a header on target in the 85th minute, but was denied by goalkeeper Andrew Epstein. A shot by Liam Doyle in the 86th went wide right of let. Stanford scored a third goal in the 88th. Chris Froschauer made four saves and finishes the year with a 13-7-3 mark.
The first half went scoreless on a beautiful fall evening in northern California. Morris had the best look at goal for the Cardinal in the17th minute, but his shot went off the side of the net. A shot was blocked minutes later by Zach Mason to keep it scoreless. Mason, a senior CLASS Award Finalist, never missed a start in his four years with 82 career nods. For the Buckeyes, Mohamed had the first shot on target from distance in the sixth minute. A shot by Jensen from 12 yards out in the 23rd sailed over the bar. At half, shots were 7-4 in favor of the Cardinal, while corners were 3-1 in favor of Stanford. The OSU defense held strong in the first 45 minutes, limiting the high-powered Cardinal attack to one shot on goal. In the 46th minute, Stanford knocked a shot off the near post before Tyler Kidwell came up with a goal-saving clearance in front of net to keep it scoreless. Bergstrom also had a goal-saving clearance in the 65th minute to keep the scoreboard at zeros.
Ohio State finishes a memorable 2015 season that saw its fourth Big Ten title, a B1G tournament final appearance and a fourth NCAA third-round appearance. The 13 wins were the second-most in school history along with an OSU record 10 home victories. The Buckeyes’ eight-game win streak during the regular season was also a school record.