Oct. 20, 2004
COLUMBUS, Ohio – With a pair of second half goals, the Ohio State men’s soccer team overcame a 1-0 halftime deficit to knock off Oakland Wednesday in Rochester, Mich. The Buckeyes improve to 7-4-2 overall, while the host Golden Grizzlies, ranked eighth in the NSCAA Great Lakes regional poll, two spots ahead of Ohio State, see their record slip to 8-3-2.
Ohio State is 6-1-1 in its last eight matches and has knocked off regionally ranked teams with each of its last three victories.
“We weren’t real sharp in the first half and they got a goal on a restart,” John Bluem, Ohio State head coach, said. “That fired us up a little bit and in the second half we got going. Our defending was good, especially in the second half.”
Oakland got on the board first in the 39th minute when reigning Mid-Continent Conference Offensive Player of the Week Chris Edwards headed in a shot from close range following a free kick from teammate Bret McNabb after an Ohio State foul. The goal was Edwards’ team leading eighth of the season.
The lead could have been greater had it not been for several fine saves by junior goalkeeper Ray Burse Jr. (Prospect, Ky./St. Xavier). Edwards had a good look at a shot in the 68th minute but Burse came up with the save. It was one of three saves in the match for Burse, who came up just shy of breaking the Ohio State record for consecutive shutouts with what could have been his fifth in a row, but nonetheless improved his record to 5-1-1 this season and allowed just his first goal in October in the Buckeyes’ fifth match of the month.
In the 57th minute of play, Ohio State senior captain Justin Cook (Winter Springs, Fla./Oviedo) beat OU goalkeeper Jeff Wiese for a goal, tying the match at 1-1. Freshman Xavier Balc (Hudson, Ohio/Hudson) and senior Peter Withers (Portland, Ore./Jesuit) assisted on the play. The goal was Cook’s team-leading ninth of the season and 30th of his career, becoming just the third player in OSU history to reach the 30 goal plateau. In the 74th minute, Cook controlled the ball above the 18-yard box and delivered a pass to sophomore Taylor Korpieski (Westerville, Ohio/Thomas Worthington), who nailed a shot from 15 yards out into the back of the net that would prove to be the game-winner. The goal was Korpieski’s fourth of the season and his first since registering goals in three consecutive matches in late September. The assist for Cook was his fourth of the season and 15th of his career, giving him sole possession of fifth place in the OSU record book.
Oakland, which shut out Michigan State 3-0 Oct. 13, had several chances to tie the game late in the match as the Golden Grizzlies had three corner kicks in the final 10 minutes, but the Buckeye defense cleared each attempt to preserve the win. Among the defensive leaders was sophomore Dustin Kirby (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor), who saved a shot attempt by Oakland’s Nick Nelson when he got by Burse with the ball in the 14th minute.
The Buckeyes out-shot Oakland 15-7 in the match and put nine of their shots on goal, forcing Wiese into making seven saves. Six of those saves came in the first half.
Ohio State will return to action at 2:30 p.m. Sunday as defending national champion Indiana visits Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The match will be highlighted by a pregame Senior Day ceremony before the Buckeyes, 3-0-0 in the Big Ten, and Hoosiers, 4-1-0 in the Big Ten, battle to decide first place in the conference.
“We are pleased to get the win on the road today and to have enough confidence to come back and score two goals against a ranked opponent,” Bluem said “Our consistency was good and hopefully this will give us confidence when Indiana comes in Sunday.”
### GO BUCKS! ###