Oct. 17, 2005

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In its final non-conference game of the regular season, the Ohio State men’s soccer team hosts Oakland at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The game pits the Buckeyes (7-6-1, 1-2-0 Big Ten) against the Golden Grizzlies (6-6-0, 2-1-0 Mid-Continent) in OSU’s 2005 Scarlet and Gray game, which will be attended by members of the athletics department and student-athletes of the other 35 varsity sports.

GameTracker will have the match live at

Ohio State is coming off a tough 1-0 loss in double-overtime to Penn State Sunday, while Oakland has won six of its last eight games after an 0-4 start. Two of those wins have come on the road to teams that beat the Buckeyes this season, including Michigan State and Cincinnati. Following the Oakland game, Ohio State travels to Indiana Sunday for a 3:30 p.m. (EDT) contest against the two-time defending national champion Hoosiers (8-1-4, 2-1-2 Big Ten).

GameTracker for all Ohio State home games and selected away matches is available at In addition, OSU’s student radio station, The Underground, will broadcast two upcoming games, including the Northwestern game Oct. 28 and Michigan Nov. 4.

The Buckeyes are 7-6-1 and 1-2-0 in the Big Ten. Ohio State was 2-2 on a recent four-game road trip and plays four of its last five games at home this season, but the first of those home contests ended with a tough 1-0 loss in double-overtime Sunday to Big Ten leader Penn State.

Any and all wins over its remaining opponents will look good on Ohio State’s resume for a postseason berth in the NCAA tournament. All four teams are .500 or better and have impressive wins themselves this season. In addition, the Big Ten tournament, hosted by Northwestern Nov. 10-13, will provide a chance for an automatic bid.

Ohio State has out-shot its opponents 188-135 this season, but the goal total is deadlocked at 16 apiece. Of the Buckeyes’ 14 games this season, seven have gone to overtime and four of OSU’s six losses have been by one goal.

The Buckeyes have eight starters and 17 lettermen back from its 2004 squad that went 12-7-2, won a share of the Big Ten regular season title and advanced to the third round of the NCAA tournament. The Buckeyes are coached by John Bluem, the 2004 Big Ten Coach of the Year and OSU’s all-time winningest coach.

In addition to their overall shot advantage, the Buckeyes lead in shots on goal, 80-61, and corner kicks, 79-55. Big Ten statistics will be released Monday afternoon.

The Golden Grizzlies have 11 letterwinners and seven starters back from their 2004 squad that posted an 11-5-3 record but was left out of the NCAA tournament, which would have been Oakland’s 17th appearance. After an 0-4 record to start the season, OU has since turned its season around with a 6-2 record that has included a 1-0 win at Michigan State Oct. 5 and a 2-1 win at then-No. 18 Cincinnati Oct. 12.

Traditionally a tough defensive team, Oakland appears to be just that again this season, having been out-shot, 86-76, out-corner kicked, 76-48, and out-scored, 16-14. Since allowing 10 goals in its first four games, Oakland has allowed just six goals in its last eight games and held Akron, the nation’s highest-scoring team, to one goal.

The Golden Grizzlies are coached by Gary Parsons, who is in his 25th year at OU and owns a 328-112-4 record. Among active coaches, Parsons entered the season ranked sixth in the NCAA in winning percentage (.725) and 11th in wins (322).

Ohio State is 4-0-1 all-time against Oakland, including 1-0-1 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. These two teams have met every season since 2000, with the Buckeyes winning the first three games before a 2-2 tie in Columbus in 2003. OSU took a 2-1 win at Oakland last season.

Ohio State sophomore goalkeeper Casey Latchem played club soccer for the Michigan Wolves and was teammates with Oakland’s Logan Lyon, Josh Mahoney and Brady Vance. OSU senior defender Kyle Veris and OU freshman Stew Givins played PDL soccer for the Mid-Michigan Bucks last summer.

The Buckeyes and Golden Grizzlies have shared four common opponents to date. OSU is 1-3 against those opponents, while OU is 2-2.

Opponent OSU result OU result Wisconsin W, 2-1 ot L, 2-1 Akron L, 3-0 L, 1-0 Michigan St. L, 2-0 W, 1-0 Cincinnati L, 1-0 (exh.) W, 2-1

With a pair of second half goals, the Buckeyes beat Oakland, 2-1, Oct. 20, 2004, in Rochester, Mich. After a 1-0 halftime deficit, Ohio State senior captain Justin Cook scored the equalizing goal in the 57th minute. Taylor Korpieski scored his fourth goal of the season for the game-winner. The win moved Ohio State’s record to 7-4-2.

“We weren’t real sharp in the first half and they got a goal on a restart,” Bluem said after the game. “That fired us up a little bit and in the second half we got going. Our defending was good, especially in the second half.”

Ray Burse Jr. is 7-6-0 in goal for the Buckeyes with a 1.08 goals-against average and 44 saves. He has three shutouts on the season, those coming in his first give games. Casey Latchem has seen action in two games, including a scoreless 65 minutes against Kentucky last Sunday.

The Defense
Ohio State has allowed 16 goals in 14 games this season. Three Buckeyes have started all eight matches in the defense for Ohio State and lead the team in minutes played, including Jim Fisher (1,331 min.), Dustin Kirby (1,321 min.) and Eric Brunner (1,233 min.). Two others have made multiple starts in the back or have contributed in every game, including Kyle Veris (8 starts, 828 min.) and Tim Gabel (5 starts, 466 min.). Brunner is tied for third on the team in scoring with five points.

The Midfield
As expected, the depth and versatility of Ohio State’s midfield has proven to be one of the strengths of the team this season. In the central midfield, Taylor Korpieski and Brent Rohrer are the mainstays, with Ryan Kustos, Danny Irizarry, Rob Strachan and Geoff Marsh manning the flanks. Irizarry’s three assists are tied with Nugent for the team-lead and he scored his first goal of the season in the win at Louisville Wed. Marsh has a goal and an assist, Rohrer has one goal, and Kustos has two assists. Antonio Garcia has made three starts this season in the central midfield.

Kevin Nugent leads the team in scoring with five goals and three assists. His two game-winners this season have come against Marquette Sept. 2 and Louisville Oct. 12. Xavier Balc ranks second on the team in scoring with 10 points from four goals and two assists. Chief backups have included Reid Traeger, David Bauer, Eric Edwards, and Kyle Veris up from his normal spot in the defense.

Last week marked the first time since the Sept. 5 national polls that Ohio State was not ranked or receiving votes in any of the national polls or the NSCAA Great Lakes Regional poll. The Buckeyes have been ranked as high as No. 11 (Sept. 19, College Soccer News) in the nation this season and No. 3 in the region.

The Buckeyes are 6-0-0 when they score first … of OSU’s 14 games so far this season, seven have gone to overtime … the combined record of OSU’s opponents this season is 107-96-31, which supports OSU’s strong strength of schedule component … the next shutout turned in by goalkeeper Ray Burse Jr. will be the 12th of his career, which will give him sole possession of fourth place in the OSU record book … Xavier Balc has at least one point in four games this season and OSU is 4-0 in those games … Eric Brunner has at least one point in three games and OSU is 2-0-1 in those games … OSU played five consecutive road games from Sept. 9-23, and went 4-1-0 in those games … the Buckeyes play four of their final five regular season matches at home before the Big Ten tournament gets underway at Northwestern.

Ohio State is coming off a 1-0 loss at home in double-overtime to Big Ten leader Penn State Sunday. The Buckeyes out-shot the Nittany Lions 12-9 and Penn State had just three shots after halftime, but PSU’s Simon Omekanda made good on the last one with a 40-yard goal in the fourth minute of the second extra session. Ohio State had seven shots on goal, including four in the first half, but all were saved.

Six different Buckeyes have netted game-winning goals this season. Sophomore Xavier Balc has two of them, those coming Sept. 9 as part of his hat trick vs. Coastal Carolina and Sept. 18 vs. UCLA. Senior Kevin Nugent has one, that coming in OSU’s season opener against Marquette Sept. 2. Sophomore Eric Brunner had the golden goal in overtime at Furman Sept. 11, and junior Brent Rohrer scored the game-winner in overtime against Wisconsin Oct. 9. Freshman Danny Irizarry rounds out the list, having the game-winner at Louisville Oct. 12.

Ohio State’s 2-1 win in overtime at Wisconsin Oct. 2 marked the Buckeyes’ 12th-consecutive win in their Big Ten opener. The Badgers have been OSU’s opponent in the last four conference openers, while Northwestern provided the opposition eight years prior to that.

Ohio State junior defender Dustin Kirby has started all 55 games for the Buckeyes since his arrival at OSU. That total includes all 20 games as a freshman, 21 as a sophomore and the 14 games so far in 2005. Junior defender Jim Fisher owns the next-most consecutive starts with 34. Junior midfielder Brent Rohrer has played in all 55 games since his arrival, but was not in the starting lineup just four times.

The Buckeyes closed out the month of September and began October with the busiest portion of their 2005 schedule, a stretch that included five games in 10 days, with three of those contests going to overtime. Three games in that stretch were on the road, including Sept. 23 at Bowling Green (lost, 3-2, 2 ot), Sept. 30 at Akron (lost 3-0) and the Big Ten opener Oct. 2 at Wisconsin (won 2-1, ot). Two matches were at home, including Sept. 25 vs. Kentucky (tied, 1-1) and Sept. 28 vs. Butler (lost 1-0).

Following the Oakland game Wednesday, Ohio State travels to Indiana Sunday for a 3:30 (EDT) Big Ten match against the two-time defending national champions.

### Go Bucks! ###