Oct. 14, 2004

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The Ohio State men’s soccer team takes its 2-0-0 Big Ten record to University Park, Pa., Sunday to face Penn State at 2 p.m. The Buckeyes, 5-4-1 overall and ranked 10th in the Great Lakes regional poll, will be going up against a talented Nittany Lions squad that is 5-2-5 overall and was ranked as high as No. 3 in the country earlier this season, but is presently 0-2-1 in the Big Ten.

Since dropping a pair of matches in early September to then-Top-10 ranked Wake Forest and North Carolina, the Buckeyes are 5-2-2. Ohio State’s 2-0 shutout over Michigan State Sunday marked the second time in the last three years and the fifth time in the last eight years Ohio State has opened 2-0 in the Big Ten.

Penn State, ranked No. 20 in the nation and No. 2 in the Middle Atlantic regional poll, is scheduled to play at Maryland Thursday night. Live stats of the match Sunday will be available at Penn State’s website,

Ohio State head coach John Bluem won his 72nd career game Sunday as the Buckeyes shut out Michigan State, 2-0. That ties Bluem for the all-time record held jointly by Al Bianco (1979-86) and Gary Avedikian (1987-96).

Overall at OSU, Bluem is 72-59-18 in his eighth year. His .544 winning percentage at OSU is the highest in program history. In his career, which includes six seasons at Fresno State, Bluem is 158-86-30 (.632).

After playing four of its last five games in Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus, Ohio State hits the road again this weekend, where the Buckeyes will play all but one of their six remaining regular season matches. The lone remaining home date will be a big one, as Big Ten leader and defending national champion Indiana visits Ohio State Oct. 24.

Ohio State is coming off a 0-0 double-overtime tie vs. Louisville Wednesday night in Columbus. The match marked the first midweek game of the season for the Buckeyes, who wrapped up a three-game home stand in the process. OSU out-shot Louisville 6-0 in the first half and 18-13 for the 110-minute affair, but was unable to put a shot into the back of the net. Buckeye goalkeeper Ray Burse Jr. had two saves and Peter Withers’ shot in the 78th minute nearly snuck past Louisville goalkeeper Tyler Wilcox, who also had two saves.

Three Ohio State players have been nominated for Academic All-America honors, including seniors Eric Schwebach and Peter Withers and sophomore Jim Fisher. To be nominated, players must have a minimum grade point average of 3.20. All three OSU nominees are business majors in the prestigious Ohio State Fisher College of Business.

Ohio State holds the edge in nearly every category on the statistics sheet. The Buckeyes have out-scored their opponents, 20-16, and out-shot the opposition, 146-124 (avg., 13.3-11.3). OSU has put 67 of their shots on goal compared to 57 for its opponents. The Buckeyes have also had more corner kicks, 49-48, and committed fewer fouls, 149-169.

The Buckeyes are one of two undefeated teams in the Big Ten along with Indiana (8-2-1 overall, 3-0-0 Big Ten). In statistics as of Oct. 11, Ohio State has taken the fewest shots in the league, but ranks fourth in goals scored (2.0 gpg). OSU’s three shutouts are tied for third in the Big Ten, while the Buckeyes are tied for third in saves (3.9 spg) and are sixth in corners (4.2 cpg).

Individually, Ohio State’s Justin Cook ranks third in shots (3.6 spg), seventh in points (1.3 ppg) and eighth in goals (0.5 gpg). Cook and Kyle Veris are tied for fourth in the Big Ten in game-winning goals with two each. Ray Burse Jr. ranks fifth in total saves (24).

Senior captain Justin Cook leads Ohio State in scoring this season with 13 points off five goals and three assists. He has 26 career goals (4th all-time) and 13 career assists (6th all-time).

Freshman Xavier Balc and sophomore Taylor Korpieski have nine points each from three goals and three assists, while junior Kyle Veris has eight points from three goals and two assists.

Four Buckeyes have started all 11 matches so far this season, including Korpieski, senior Eric Schwebach and sophomores Brent Rohrer and Dustin Kirby. Rohrer’s three assists are tied for tops on the team with Cook, Balc and Korpieski. Cook’s 36 shots are most on the team, as are his 16 shots on goal this season. Veris is close behind with 14 SOG.

Junior goalkeeper Ray Burse Jr. owns a 0.87 goals against average and has 26 saves. He has back-to-back shutouts in Big Ten play and owns a 3-1-1 overall record. Freshman goalkeeper Casey Latchem played all 470 minutes of the first five matches and has a 1.92 GAA and 15 saves on the season.

Though Penn State and Ohio State will be meeting for the first time this season when they square off Sunday, the two schools have seen each other play several times. The Nittany Lions and Buckeyes were both participants in the Ohio State Classic Sept. 3-5 and at the Penn State/Nike Classic Sept. 18-19.

Because of their similar travel patterns, Ohio State and Penn State have shared a total of five common opponents so far this season. The Buckeyes are 2-3-0 against those opponents, while Penn State is 2-1-2.

2004 Opponent Ohio State Penn State Wake Forest (1) L, 0-2 T, 2-2 North Carolina (1) L, 1-2 T, 1-1 Akron (2) L, 1-3 W, 4-0 Virginia Tech (2) W, 4-2 W, 2-1 Wisconsin (3) W, 1-0 L, 3-4 1-at Ohio State Classic (9/3-5) 2-at Penn State/Nike Classic (9/18-19) 3-OSU beat Wisconsin in Columbus Oct. 3, while Penn State lost at Wisconsin, Oct. 10

All 11 starters return for the Nittany Lions from their 2003 squad that advanced to the Big Ten championship game before falling to eventual national champion Indiana on penalty kicks. Penn State was an uncharacteristic 1-5-1 in league play a year ago and is 0-2-1 so far this season. The Nittany Lions were ranked as high as No. 3 in the nation this season after ties against North Carolina, Wake Forest and St. John’s when all three of those teams were ranked in the Top-10 and then posting wins at No. 25 Tulsa and No. 15 SMU. Since then, however, PSU is 0-2-2, but is still ranked No. 20 in the country and No. 2 in the Middle Atlantic regional poll. The PSU-OSU match Sunday will begin a four-match home stand for the Nittany Lions, who have played five of their last seven games on the road.

Head coach Barry Gorman is in his 17th year at Penn State and owns a 223-115-26 overall record. Senior forward Chad Severs leads PSU in scoring this season with eight goals and two assists, which ranks third in the Big Ten. Sophomore forward Simon Omekanda and freshman midfielder Richard Costanzo each have three goals and four assists. Freshman goalkeeper Conrad Taylor has played every minute in goal this season and owns a 1.32 goals-allowed average and 41 saves, which ranks second in the Big Ten. He has been named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week three times this season.

Penn State leads the all-time series against Ohio State, 12-5-2, but the Buckeyes are 3-2-2 in the last seven games against the Nittany Lions, which are listed below.

Year Location Winner Score 2003 Columbus OSU 3-1 2002 University Park PSU 1-0 2001 Columbus tie 0-0 (ot) 2000 Columbus $ OSU 3-2 (ot) 2000 University Park tie 1-1 (ot) 1999 East Lansing $ PSU 1-0 1999 Columbus Ohio State 1-0 $ indicates Big Ten tournament

Scoring a season-high three goals in the match, Ohio State knocked off Penn State, the defending Big Ten champions, 3-1, Oct. 12 in Columbus. Both teams collected nine shots in the match, but the Buckeyes fired three of those shots into the back of the net as three players each scored their first goal of the season. Scoring for Ohio State were Taylor Korpieski, Peter Withers and Brent Rohrer, while Ray Burse Jr. had four saves in the win.

Buckeye goalkeeper Ray Burse Jr. was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week Oct. 4 as he collected a career-high seven saves in leading the Buckeyes to a 1-0 shutout over Wisconsin.

“It means a lot, but more importantly we’re 1-0 in the Big Ten and the team played well,” Burse said. “Hopefully it’ll continue into this weekend against Michigan State.”

Burse had three saves in the first half and then four saves in the second half. He went horizontal into the upper left corner of the net for a pair of saves in the 61st and 64th minutes and his one-handed deflection of a Badger shot with one second remaining in the match sealed the win for the Buckeyes.

The Buckeyes established a new Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium scoring record Sept. 24 with their seven-goal output against Bowling Green. The goal total topped OSU’s previous facility record of five goals scored against Denison in 2001 and is the most goals scored overall since a 7-3 win at Wisconsin in 1999.

The biggest area of improvement for the Buckeyes in 2004 is unquestionably their offensive attack. After a 2003 season in which Ohio State struggled to score goals (13 goals scored, shut out 11 times), the Buckeyes surpassed that goal total Sept. 24.

“We’re definitely more dangerous this year, which makes us a harder team to play against,” Bluem said. “As long as you have the ability to get forward and put pressure on the other team, they have to play more conservatively and keep people back because they are concerned about you scoring goals against them. We didn’t have that threat a year ago, so teams were able to shut us down with fewer numbers.”

### Go Bucks! ###