COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s soccer team has its final preseason tune-up at 7 p.m. Friday against Louisville in Fort Wayne, Ind. The exhibition match is part of the National Soccer Festival, an annual event held in Fort Wayne that brings in men’s, women’s and high school soccer programs from around the Midwest. Fellow Big Ten schools Michigan State, Indiana, Northwestern and Wisconsin are also participating in the festival.

Schedule – Men’s Collegiate Division I games
Home             Away           Date   Time      Field
Michigan State   Evansville     8/27   5 p.m.    1
Indiana          Drake          8/27   7 p.m.    1
Oakland          Loyola Chicago 8/28   5 p.m.    2
OHIO STATE       Louisville     8/28   7 p.m.    2
Northwestern     UIC            8/28   8 p.m.    1
IPFW             Michigan State 8/29   6 p.m.    1
Akron            Wisconsin      8/29   7 p.m.    2 
DePaul           Indiana        8/29   8 p.m.    1 

Tickets for the college games are available at the door for $7/day or $12 for a five-day pass.

For more information, visit the festival’s Web site:

Ohio State returns six starters and 13 total letterwinners from the 2008 squad that finished 9-9-3 with a trip to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. That group is joined by 11 talented newcomers, making a team that is young, but extremely competitive.

Doug Verhoff, Andrew Magill and Matt Gold captain the squad and led them to a decisive 5-1 victory over Cincinnati in the team’s first exhibition contest last Sunday. Magill and Verhoff each tallied four points in the win, with Verhoff putting back two goals and Magill added another to go with a pair of assists. Junior Konrad Warzycha and rookies Sebastian Rivas also scored in the win. Redshirt freshman Matt Lampson started the contest in goal before giving way to sophomore Ryan Dalton in the second period.

The Cardinals are 2-0 in exhibition play this season, defeating Bradley and Lipscomb in the past week. They enter the year picked third in their division in the Big East after ending last season with an 11-8-2 overall record, a 5-5-1 BIG EAST mark and their second-consecutive and overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

Louisville returns 11 players with experience in the starting lineup, including leading scorer Colin Rolfe who finished 2008 with five goals and two assists. The reigning conference rookie of the year was selected to the preseason All-Big East team Aug. 12.

Thursday was the Buckeyes’ annual photo day as they had their team photo and individual headshots taken. Stay tuned to next week for photos of the new squad and to start getting to know the nine OSU freshmen.