Oct. 21, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s soccer team closes out the home portion of its schedule vs. Penn State at 2 p.m. Sunday in Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The Buckeyes (7-5-2, 2-1-0), who end the regular-season with three-consecutive road games, are coming off a scoreless draw vs. Valparaiso last Sunday, while the Nittany Lions (7-6-2, 0-4-0) snapped a three-game losing with a win at UMBC, 1-0, Wednesday. Admission to the game Sunday is free.

The match will pit one of the Big Ten’s most productive scoring units against the conference’s top defensive squads. Ohio State is second in goals (22), goals per game (1.57), and points (61) among Big Ten teams, while Penn State is atop the conference charts in fewest goals allowed (9), goals-against average (0.58) and shutouts (9).

The Penn State game will be streamed live on BuckeyeVision through with audio provided by Scarlet and Gray Spots Radio. It also can be followed via Gametracker and through Twitter with updates from @OhioState_MSOC.

At 7-5-2, Ohio State is unbeaten in three of its last four games (2-1-1) and holding onto a tie for third place in the Big Ten with six points and a 2-1-0 record. With a conference-leading eight goals, junior midfielder Chris Hegngi has paced the Ohio State attack this season, which is ranked second in the Big Ten in total scoring (4.36 ppg) and goals (1.57 gpg) this season. Sebastian Rivas (4g, 1a), Austin McAnena (2g, 2a), Parnell Hegngi (2g, 2a), and Omar Vallejo (4a) also have produced offensively for the Buckeyes. The Ohio State defense, headlined by reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year David Tiemstra, has allowed an average of 1.29 goals per game. First Team All-Big Ten goalkeeper Matt Lampson has made all 14 starts and has a 1.26 goals against average with three shutouts. Six Buckeye players have started all 14 games this season with the remaining five spots divided among nine players. As many as three starting spots have gone to rookies this season and a total of 12 players have tallied at least one point with 17 assists on 17 of the team’s 22 goals.

The game Sunday will be the final regular-season home game for five of Ohio State’s seniors: Jon Moore, Parnell Hegngi, Dalton Summers, David Tiemstra and Nick Galiardi. Time spent as a Buckeye varies between two and five years for this group, but all have shared a level of success and will end their careers as a Buckeye for life. Head coach John Bluem says their excellence on the field has been exceeded only by their ability, effort and quality in the classroom, as four have made at least one appearance on the Academic All-Big Ten during their time at Ohio State.

Wisconsin is atop the Big Ten conference with nine points and a flawless 3-0-0 record, while Northwestern is second at 2-0-1 and the Indiana is tied with Ohio State with six points and a 2-1-0 record. Michigan State, Michigan and Penn State round out the standings with the final three each having played one more game than the Top 4. The Big Ten schedule is six games.

With a 1-0 win over UMBC Wednesday, Penn State ended a three-game losing spell and earned its first road win of the 2011 season. The Nittany Lions are winless in Big Ten play at 0-4-0, though all four losses have come by one goal and three were 1-0 scores. As a team, they have allowed more than one goal on just two occasions and have produced nine shutouts (and have been shut out six times). Three players have seven points for the Lions, who have the second-fewest goals and points among conference teams, and 13 total have tallied at least one point on the year. Hasani Sinclair and Julian Cardona each have three goals and an assist to their credit, while Minh Vu has a team-leading three assists and one goal. Andrew Wolverton has played every minute of the season in goal with a 0.58 goals-against average and .830 save percentage.

Sunday will mark the 28th meeting in the all-time series, with Penn State leading 15-10-2. The Buckeyes dropped an overtime thriller, 2-1, a season ago at Jeffrey Field in University Park, Pa., live on the Big Ten Network. Ohio State is 6-4-1 in home games vs. Penn State and has captured six of the last eight meetings (6-1-1) with the lone loss coming in 2005.

Ohio State holds a 78-27-15 record in Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium since the facility opened in 1999, including at least six wins in each of the last four seasons. The Buckeyes are 5-2 at JOMS this season and need a win vs. the Nittany Lions to increase the mark to five years. A 12-game home unbeaten streak, dating back to the start of the 2010 season, was snapped Sept. 21 in the 1-0 loss to Louisville.

The Buckeyes embark on a three-game road swing to close out the regular season. They will take on Oakland at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Rochester, Mich., before closing out the Big Ten slate at Wisconsin and Indiana, Oct. 30 and Nov. 5, respectively. The contest vs. the Hoosiers will be televised on the Big Ten Network on tape delay at a TBA time Sunday, Nov. 6.