April 18, 2005

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s soccer team hosts the Columbus Crew at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in the Fourth Annual Connor Senn Memorial Match. All proceeds from the match will benefit the Connor Senn Memorial Scholarship Fund, which has raised over $42,000 to date. Tickets for the event are $5 for adults and $3 for children and can be purchased online at or by calling 1-800-GO-BUCKS.

“We greatly appreciate the support of the Columbus Crew in helping us stage this match in Connor’s memory,” John Bluem, Ohio State head men’s soccer coach, said. “The match continues to be a great revenue stream for the Connor Senn Memorial Scholarship Fund that has been established here at Ohio State, and it is always a pleasure and a great opportunity for our players to measure themselves against the Columbus Crew, one of the finest professional soccer teams in America.”

“Being a part of the Connor Senn Memorial Match is very important to the Columbus Crew,” Crew Head Coach Greg Andrulis said. “The Crew organization is committed to this cause and we are willing to help Ohio State any way we can.”

The Crew owns a 2-1 record on the young 2005 MLS season, including a 2-0 mark at home, and travels to Colorado Saturday night. The Crew has won the three previous Connor Senn Memorial Matches, 5-1 in 2004, 3-1 in 2003 and 3-0 in 2002. Ohio State’s Kevin Nugent, who will be a senior for the Buckeyes this fall, has scored both OSU goals in the series.

Ohio State’s student radio station, KBUX, will have the match live Wednesday night. Jeff Svoboda and Chris Patrick will bring the call, with the broadcast available on the KBUX website,

Connor Senn, a freshman defender on Ohio State’s 2001 team, collapsed during the Buckeye’s match at Akron Sept. 26, 2001 and died that night from a congenital heart defect. Connor, a walk-on from Granville, Ohio, had earned a starting position midway through the 2001 season. He saw action in eight of 10 matches, starting five.

The Connor Senn Memorial Match raised more than $7,500 last year for the scholarship fund, which was started by Dr. Lance Senn, Connor’s father and a former member of the Ohio State tennis team. The Fund gives two $500 scholarships to one male and one female senior high school level soccer player. The scholarship winners will be announced during halftime of the match.

The scholarship fund will be officially named when it reaches $100,000 and will become fully endowed once it reaches $300,000. Those wishing to make a contribution to the Connor Senn Memorial Scholarship Fund can do so by sending a check to Kristyn Carman, The Ohio State University, Gift Processing, The Fawcett Center, Room 709, 2400 Olentangy River Road, Columbus, OH 43210 (account #410775). Please include your name and return address so you may receive documentation of your charitable contribution from Ohio State for your tax records.

2004 marked a season of firsts for the Ohio State men’s soccer team. For the first time the Buckeyes won a share of the Big Ten regular season championship, tying eventual national champion Indiana with a 5-1-0 conference record. Ohio State won 10 games in the regular season against a schedule that was ranked among the Top 10 toughest in the nation, preparing the Buckeyes for NCAA tournament wins over 11th-ranked Memphis and ninth-ranked Notre Dame, which marked OSU’s first NCAA tournament wins.

Overcoming a 1-3-1 start to its season, Ohio State won 11 of its next 15 matches to advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament. A loss at eventual College Cup participant Duke ended the Buckeyes’ season with a 12-7-2 overall record, which tied the program record for wins in a season. Ohio State’s +6.5 win turnaround from 2003 tied for the seventh-best in the nation.

Ohio State checked in at No. 16 in the final NSCAA/adidas national poll released after the College Cup, marking the highest final-season ranking in program history. During the regular season, the Buckeyes were ranked as high as No. 24 by that poll and Soccer Times, while College Soccer News had OSU as high as No. 20 during the season and No. 15 in the final season poll after the College Cup. In the NSCAA/adidas Great Lakes regional poll during the regular season, Ohio State climbed to as high as No. 3 behind Indiana and Notre Dame.

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.

Jon Lowery, a first-team All-Big Ten goalkeeper for Ohio State in 1997 and 1998 and a 1997 Academic All-Big Ten selection, was been added to the Buckeyes’ men’s soccer coaching staff in February, taking the place of Brian Johnson, who left to join the new coaching staff of Real Salt Lake of MLS. Lowery, who spent four years in professional soccer after graduating from Ohio State in 1999, has served as an assistant coach at the University of Massachusetts for the past two seasons.

Lowery was Bluem’s first goalkeeper at Ohio State when Bluem arrived in Columbus from Fresno State in 1997. Lowery totaled 158 saves in his career, which began at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in 1994. As a high school senior, he was the 1994 Gatorade Player of the Year in Minnesota and was UW-Green Bay’s MVP as a freshman before transferring to Ohio State. As a Buckeye, Lowery was a two-time captain, two-time team MVP and is Ohio State’s only two-time first-team All-Big Ten honoree. His 158 saves and 1.12 goals-against average both rank fourth in the Ohio State career record book.

Lowery’s professional career included stints with Major League Soccer’s Tampa Bay Mutiny as well as the Carolina Dynamos of the United Soccer League and Minnesota Thunder of the A-League. He owns a communications degree from Ohio State and will graduate from Massachusetts in May with a master’s degree in sport management. Lowery and his wife, Gretchen, will be moving to Columbus later this month.

Ohio State said goodbye to an assistant coach and four talented seniors as the 2004 season concluded. All four-year starters, Justin Cook, Eric Schwebach, Sammy Tamporello and Peter Withers leave big shoes to fill for the Buckeyes in 2005.

Cook, the 2004 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and a third-team All-American, leaves OSU ranked at or near the top of every career offensive record (see later note). Schwebach, a left-sided defender, played in 74 games during his career, starting in 59 of them, and ranked second on the team this season in minutes played with 1,798. Tamporello, who played in 73 matches and started in 50, and Withers, who also played in 73 matches and made 64 starts, were both integral midfield components on the right and left flank and are ranked on the career assists list (see later note). In the offseason Ohio State also said goodbye to assistant coach Brian Johnson, who made his return to Major League Soccer in January as an assistant coach for Real Salt Lake. Johnson, who spent five seasons with the Kansas City Wizards, will join the RSL staff led by John Ellinger.

In Big Ten games only, Ohio State finished the 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, 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).

Head coach John Bluem was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year, while Justin Cook was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. Cook, who was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2000, became the first player in league history to be named both the freshman of the year and player of the year. Cook was named a third-team All-American after being named first-team All-Region.

Kyle Veris, a first-team All-Big Ten selection along with Cook, was a third-team All-Region selection. Earning second-team all-conference honors were Ray Burse Jr. and Taylor Korpieski. Xavier Balc was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team, while Dustin Kirby was one of seven players in the league to receive the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award. Kirby was also named to the All-Big Ten Tournament team. During the season, Burse earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors three times, while Cook earned the offensive honor twice.

Head Coach John Bluem broke the Ohio State all-time wins record during the season. The record was previously 72 wins but is now held by Bluem with 79 wins.

Justin Cook tied the Ohio State career assist record during the season with 17 for his career. Cook’s 33 career goals are second all-time, while his 191 career shots and 71 shots as a senior are both school records. His 83 career points ranks second all-time. Also on the all-time assists list, Sammy Tamporello tied for seventh with 12 and Peter Withers tied for 10th with 11. Taylor Korpieski’s eight assists tied for the second-most in single-season history.

In goal, Ray Burse Jr.’s six shutouts this season tied for fifth-most in a season and his 0.87 goals-against average is third-best. As a team, Ohio State’s four consecutive shutouts during the season and 12 total wins tied school records.

## GO BUCKS! ##