Oct. 19, 2005
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Against what had been a staunch Oakland defense coming into the game, the Ohio State men’s soccer team notched a 3-2 win and out-shot the Golden Grizzlies, 21-6, Wednesday night in Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The Buckeyes (8-6-1, 1-2-0 Big Ten) had 11 of those shots on goal against Oakland (6-7-0, 2-1-0 Mid-Continent), which was 6-2 in its last eight games and had allowed just six goals during that stretch.
Ohio State went up, 3-1, on goals by freshman Danny Irizarry (Lawrenceville, Ga./Greater Atlanta Christian) in the first half and sophomore Xavier Balc (Hudson, Ohio/Hudson) and senior Kevin Nugent (Centerville, Ohio/Centerville) in the second half. Oakland’s last goal came with 2:16 left on the clock.
“The game was really a battle and a fight,” John Bluem, Ohio State head coach, said. “Our two goals in the second half were really nice. When you have Kevin (Nugent) and Xavier (Balc) up top playing well, that’s always a good thing.”
The match was Ohio State’s final non-conference game of the year and was its Scarlet and Gray Game, which was attended by members of the athletics department and student-athletes from OSU’s other 35 sports.
Balc doubled his previous career highs for shots with 11 in the game and shots on goal with six. After his goal gave the Buckeyes a 2-1 lead in the 61st minute, he assisted on what would become Nugent’s game-winner in the 73rd minute.
“It was clicking for us tonight as a whole,” Balc said. “We let down a little after the first goal, but came back in the second half. Overall we played really well and this is a great segway into Indiana (Sunday).”
Ohio State improves to 5-0-1 all-time against Oakland and 7-0-0 this season when it scores first. With the win, the Buckeyes share the Big Ten lead for overall wins with Indiana, which hosts Butler later Wednesday night.
The two teams traded goals in the first half in a 39-second span. OSU freshman Geoff Marsh (North Olmstead, Ohio/North Olmsted) sent a cross to Irizarry, who controlled the ball on the left side of the 6-yard box and chipped in a shot at the 7:38 mark over Oakland goalkeeper Jeff Wiese, who finished the game with eight saves.
Moments later, OU’s Nick Nelson knotted the game at 1-1 at 8:17, which marked the Grizzlies’ first shot of the game and is where the score would stand through intermission.
In the 61st minute, Irizarry dribbled down the left flank until he was even with the 18-yard box and sent a cross into the penalty area. Balc went horizontal and bicycled into the back of the net at the 72:31 mark.
“When Xavier is on, he can be a really good player,” Bluem said. “He needs to be more consistent, so we hope he can take it from here.”
Balc then assisted on Nugent’s goal in the 73rd minute, as Nugent sent a left-footed blast into the goal from the left side of the 6-yard box. With Oakland pressing in the final minutes, the Grizzlies were able to get a goal from Wade Allen off a deflection at 87:44, but the Buckeye defense was able to keep OU out of the net in the closing seconds to preserve the win.
OSU senior goalkeeper Ray Burse Jr. (Prospect, Ky./St. Xavier) had one save in the contest to earn his eighth win of the season.
Every Ohio State starter had at least one shot in the match except for senior defender Kyle Veris (Strongsville, Ohio/Strongsville/Akron), who helped anchor the OSU defense in the match from the back.
Ohio State was playing without starting junior midfielders Rob Strachan (Hudson, Ohio/Hudson) and Taylor Korpieski (Westerville, Ohio/Thomas Worthington) against an Oakland team that had wins at Michigan State and No. 18 Cincinnati in the past two weeks and held Akron, the nation’s top scoring team, to just one goal Sept. 25.
Ohio State gets back into Big Ten action Sunday with a 3:30 p.m. (EDT) game at two-time defending national champion Indiana in Bloomington. GameTracker will have the match live at www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com.
### GO BUCKS! ###