Oct. 3, 2004

Box Score

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s soccer team opened Big Ten play with a 1-0 shutout over Wisconsin Sunday afternoon at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Buckeye senior Eric Schwebach scored his first career goal and OSU junior goalkeeper Ray Burse Jr. collected a career-high seven saves to make it stand up as the game-winner as Ohio State improves to 4-4-1 overall and 1-0-0 in the Big Ten. Wisconsin falls to 3-6-0 overall and 0-1-0 in the Big Ten.

Burse (Jr., Prospect, Ky./St. Xavier) had a pair of diving saves in front of the upper left corner of the goal in the 61st and 64th minutes, and his final save of the match with one second remaining put the finishing touches on Ohio State’s third win in its last four games.

“It was very important to get the win, Big Ten or otherwise,” John Bluem, Ohio State head coach, said. “After having a slow beginning (to the season) it is good to finally even things up. It was good to get the conference opener under our belts. You want to get the best seed in the conference tournament, so you have to get points at home and steal some on the road.”

For Schwebach (Sr., Eden Prairie, Minn./Eden Prairie), a defender that had taken just four shots this season coming into the match, his first goal as a Buckeye could not have come at a better time.

“It feels incredible,” Schwebach said. “It was really awesome to be able to have that goal in the Big Ten opener of my senior year. It definitely gives us confidence and momentum to go into the rest of the season.”

The scoring play in the 28th minute began when senior Peter Withers (Portland, Ore./Jesuit) drove the ball into the upper right side of the 18-yard box. As several Wisconsin defenders corralled him, he sent the ball to his left and teammate Xavier Balc (Fr., Hudson, Ohio/Hudson). When two Badgers, including goalkeeper Eric Hanson, descended on Balc, he delivered the ball to Schwebach, who was waiting just outside the upper left corner of the 6-yard box. Schwebach sent his shot past a diving Hanson into the lower left corner of the net.

Withers and Balc were credited with assists on the play, their first and third assists, respectively, of the season.

In addition to Burse’s heroics in goal, Ohio State defenders Dustin Kirby (So., Mentor, Ohio/Mentor), Kyle Veris (Jr., Strongsville, Ohio/Univ. of Akron) and Jim Fisher (So., Worthington, Ohio/Thomas Worthington) had a big part in the shutout. Kirby’s clearing of a ball controlled by Wisconsin’s Aaron Witchger in the 34th minute just outside the 6-yard box thwarted the Badgers’ best scoring chance in the first half.

In addition, the play in the midfield of OSU sophomores Brent Rohrer (Springfield, Ohio/Springfield Catholic) and Taylor Korpieski (Westerville, Ohio/Thomas Worthington) kept the Buckeyes with possession for crucial stretches in the second half.

Ohio State will return to action next Sunday at 2:30 p.m. as Michigan State visits Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.