Sept. 23, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s soccer team travels to face in-state opponent and No. 15 Akron at 7 p.m. Tuesday at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field in Akron, Ohio. The Buckeyes (2-3-2) are returning to action after falling, 3-1, vs. Dayton last week, while the Zips (5-2-0) have won two-consecutive contests against San Diego State and Bowling Green. The match vs. the Zips marks the first of six-consecutive contests vs. 2012 NCAA Tournament squads.
The Akron game will be streamed live online by NSCAATV.com or can be followed via live stats, both of which are linked through OhioStateBuckeyes.com, on the front page, as well as the men’s soccer schedule page. Twitter updates can be received from @OhioState_MSOC.
IN A NUTSHELL
• The Buckeyes sit at 2-3-2 on the season after battling Wright State to a scoreless draw through two overtimes Sept. 17 before falling to Dayton, 3-1, last Friday. They have wins over Northern Illinois and SMU, while taking losses to UNC Wilmington, Tulsa and the Flyers. The Wilmington and NIU matches were part of the eighth annual Wolstein Classic, with the other two contests coming at the Hurricane Classic at Tulsa.
• Goalkeeper Alex Ivanov has three shutouts in seven games this season, surpassing the total from all of 2012 (2).
• Ohio State’s six goals have been scored by six different players; the same for its five assists.
• Sage Gardner and Christian Soldat lead the team with three points apiece as the only players to tally both a score and an assist.
• Ohio State returns four starters in Gardner, a senior captain, juniors Kenny Cunningham and Zach Dobey and Mason from the 2012 team. John Bluem, who enters his 17th season as head coach of the Buckeyes, welcomes a total of 17 new players to Columbus, including a talented group of nine true freshmen.
• In goal, Ivanov has played in six contests and has 40 saves, three shutouts and a goals-against average of 0.98. He earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors Sept. 3 after stopping two PKs in the Buckeyes’ 2-0 win over Northern Illinois.
SCOUTING THE ZIPS
Akron is 5-2 overall so far this season under first-year head coach Jared Embick, who had previously served as the Zips’ associate head coach and recruiting coordinator. Last time out, Akron defeated Bowling Green, 1-0, in its Mid-American Conference opener with senior forward Reinaldo Brenes collecting his third goal of the season assisted by Eric Stevenson on the play. Stevenson leads the Akron offense with nine points followed by Brenes’ six points. Overall, Akron has outshot its opponents, 144-20, scoring nine goal to the competition’s one. Freshman goalkeeper Fernando Pina has a 5-2 record with three shutouts and an 0.67 goals-against average.
OHIO STATE VS. AKRON
The contest Tuesday will represent the 36th all-time meeting between the Zips and Buckeyes. Ohio State trails the series which backs to 1955, 6-26-3. Last season, despite a spirited second-half play, the Scarlet and Gray fell 1-0 to the Zips Oct. 23, 2012, in Columbus. Reinaldo Brenes scored the lone goal of the match, sending a shot into the lower right 90 midway into the 52nd minute. Three years go, the Buckeyes foiled top-ranked Akron’s NCAA streak of 11 games without a goal when the squad tied the Zips, 2-2, in Columbus. David Tiemstra forced extra time with a goal with two seconds left when he received a pass off Matt Gold a few yards out from the net.
LAST TIME OUT
The Buckeyes fell, 3-1, against Dayton last Friday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Freshman Henry Chancy posted Ohio State’s lone goal of the match – the first of his OSU career. Dayton notched two goals in the first 45 minutes of play despite multiple offensive chances by the OSU attack. Alec Lowell, Max Moller and Kenny Cunningham all had shots on goal within the first 20 minutes of competition, but could not find the back of the net. Chancy, native of Atlanta, Ga., scored when the UD backfield failed a clear attempt inside the box. Junior goalkeeper Andrian McAdams made his first career start, collecting three saves.
The Buckeyes will next travel to Bloomington, Ind., to open Big Ten play vs. defending national champion Indiana at 2 p.m. Sunday. The contest will be broadcasted on BTN.
MAKE B1G PLANS
Ohio State is the host of the 2013 Big Ten Championship, scheduled for Nov. 13-17 on Bert L. & Iris S. Wolstein Field at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Action will begin Wednesday, Nov. 13 with three quarterfinal matches. The No. 1 seed and first-round winners will meet in the semifinals Friday, Nov. 15 with the championship taking place Sunday, Nov. 17. Wednesday contests will be streamed on BTN.com with the semifinals and final matches appearing on BTN.
BIG TEN PREDICTIONS
Senior captain Sage Gardner, along with classmate Ben Killian and junior Alec Lowell are among the 21 student-athletes deemed “Players to Watch” by the Big Ten at the start of the season. The team was selected seventh in the preseason coaches’ poll released Aug. 21. Indiana, who is ranked No. 1 in the NSCAA preseason Top 25 poll as the defending national champions, is atop the preseason conference standings. Reigning Big Ten Tournament Champion Michigan State checked in at No. 2 in the preseason poll, followed by No. 3 Northwestern, No. 4 Michigan and No. 5 Penn State. The Wildcats and Nittany Lions shared the Big Ten title in 2012.
Nine freshmen make up the Ohio State men’s soccer team’s rookie class, named No. 29 in the country by College Soccer News prior to the season. The group is the fourth-highest ranked class in the Big Ten behind No. 7 Indiana, No. 8 Michigan and No. 28 Northwestern. All eight freshmen field players have seen action so far this season with many expected to continue playing integral roles in the Buckeyes’ regular-season campaign.
FREE FOR ALL
The Buckeyes’ schedule includes 10 matches at Bert L. & Iris S. Wolstein Field at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium this season with home Big Ten action kicking off Oct. 6 against Michigan. Admission is free to all Ohio State men’s soccer regular-season home games.
BUCKEYES ON BTN
Ohio State will make at least two appearances on BTN this season. Seven additional home games will be streamed online through BTN.com with the remaining three available via BuckeyeVision on OhioStateBuckeyes.com. The Buckeyes open the Big Ten schedule Sept. 29, taking on defending national champion and preseason No. 1 Indiana in Bloomington, Ind. The 2 p.m. ET match will be broadcast live on BTN. The squad also will appear on BTN at Michigan State Oct. 13 at 1 p.m. The semifinals and final of the Big Ten Championship, hosted by Ohio State Nov. 13-17, also will be shown live on BTN.
John Bluem, the winningest coach in OSU program history, is in his 17th season at the helm of the Buckeyes. The three-time Big Ten Coach of the Year owns a 168-121-45 record at Ohio State. His career record, which includes six seasons at Fresno State, stands at 254-148-57.