Sept. 6, 2004

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s soccer team put up a gallant effort against sixth-ranked North Carolina Sunday afternoon, but the Tar Heels capitalized on a goal with just over five minutes left to play to notch a 2-1 victory over the Buckeyes in the final day of the Ohio State Classic in Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.

In the opening match Sunday, Penn State and No. 8 Wake Forest battled to a 2-2 tie in double-overtime. The Nittany Lions posted an 0-0-2 record in the Classic, while Wake Forest posted a 1-0-1 record over the weekend to earn the title of Classic champions. North Carolina was also 1-0-1, while Ohio State was 0-2-0.

Members of the all-tournament team are listed below.

Ohio State held North Carolina to just two shots on goal in the match, but the Tar Heels made them count as both shots found the back of the net. Both teams ended the match with eight total shots.

“I feel bad for our players,” head coach John Bluem said. “I thought they played hard and gave a good effort. We just didn’t have many scoring opportunities and it punished us in the end. But next week we will be back.”

North Carolina registered the first goal of the match in the 20th minute with Dax McCarty knocked a shot into the left corner of the goal off an assist from Marcus Storey.

The Buckeyes tied the score at 1-1 four minutes later when freshman Xavier Balc (Hudson, Ohio/Hudson) connected on a penalty kick after North Carolina goalkeeper Ford Williams was whistled for a take down inside the 18-yard box on OSU sophomore Taylor Korpieski (Westerville, Ohio/Thomas Worthington).

Ohio State out-shot North Carolina 6-3 in the first half, with two of those shots nearly finding the back of the net off headers from freshman Eric Edwards (Loveland, Ohio/Milford). Both shots came following corner kicks, the first by Balc in the 28th minute and second by Korpieski in the 30th minute. Ohio State’s best chance at a goal in the second half came when freshman Ryan Kustos (West Chester, Ohio/Lakota West) knocked a header that just sailed over the top of the bar following a pass into the box from Balc in the 70th minute.

North Carolina’s Corey Ashe scored the game-winner for the Tar Heels in the 85th minute when he gained possession of the ball behind the Ohio State defense near midfield and took it all the way to the back of the net past Ohio State freshman goalkeeper Casey Latchem (Perrysburg, Ohio/Perrysburg).

In the tournament, the Buckeyes were facing their highest ranked opponents at home since defeating No. 9 Indiana and No. 22 Penn State in the 2000 Big Ten tournament to advance to the NCAA tournament.

“We had a lot chances but things just didn’t go our way,” junior Kevin Nugent (Centerville, Ohio/Centerville) said. “We were one play away from winning this game. I thought our defense did a great job shutting them down but North Carolina is a very good team and we couldn’t put them away. I think hanging with two great teams like Wake Forest and North Carolina gives us a lot of confidence.”

Next up for Ohio State will be the Mayor’s Cup Tournament in Oneonta, N.Y., as the Buckeyes take on Oneonta State at 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 10, followed by a match against Hartwick at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 11.

2004 Ohio State Classic, order of finish:
1. Wake Forest
2. North Carolina
3. Penn State
4. Ohio State

All-Tournament Team:
Wake Forest: Scott Sealy, Michael Parkhurst, Justin Moose, Ryan Solle
North Carolina: Corey Ashe, Marcus Storey, Ford Williams
Penn State: David Walters, Brian Devlin, Richard Costanzo
Ohio State: Dustin Kirby and Taylor Korpieski