EVANSTON, Ill. - The Ohio State men's soccer team collected its third-consecutive shutout and fourth overall in 2017 with a 1-0 win at Northwestern Friday at Martin Stadium. With the victory in its Big Ten opener, the Buckeyes improve to 4-1 overall and 1-0 in Big Ten play, while the Wildcats fall to 1-4 overall and 0-1 in conference action. Senior back Hunter Robertson scored his first career goal in the sixth minute, while the OSU defense limited Northwestern to five shots with only one on goal in the road win.
"It was a spectacular goal off a set piece play that we didn't really execute well," head coach John Bluem said. "Hunter was free for the shot and struck it right in the corner. Then they just came at us hard, they looked pretty dangerous and we defended well. We are still trying to figure out who we are, but if we defend well and the guys buy in and do their jobs, we a have a chance to get good results. That's become our motto right now. It's a very positive thing. It's big to win on the road and it's always hard to play here in a tough environment. I'm very proud of the guys tonight."
-- OhioStateMensSoccer (@OhioState_MSOC) September 9, 2017
A MISSILE FOR ROBERTSON'S FIRST CAREER GOAL
The senior back from Westerville, Ohio, Robertson came into the game with more than 5,000 career minutes played, but no goals to show for. That all changed in the sixth minute when he one-time a 30-yard strike into the upper 90 to give the Buckeyes a 1-0 lead. Junior midfielder Abdi Mohamed, also a native of Westerville, Ohio, took the corner straight to the foot of Robertson before the tremendous finish and was credited with the assist.
"I had a lot of space and I just hit it," Robertson said. "The ball was bouncing a lot and I didn't want to have a bad touch and give them a counter opportunity. I looked up and it was headed in. Honestly, I was just in complete shock. I've never hit a ball that well in my life. It's special to have my first goal but I'm happier our team got the shutout as well as three points on the road tonight."
QUIET FIRST HALF THE REST OF THE WAY
The rest of the first half was limited in chances for both teams. Northwestern's Garrett Opperman had a shot go wide before Elo Ozumba ripped a shot on target, but Ohio State goalkeeper Parker Siegfried was there for the save in the 27th. In the 31st minute, Ohio State loaded the box and freshman back Will Hirschman struck a shot from 10 yards out to the near post, but was denied by NU goalkeeper Miha Miskovic. At half, shots were 5-4 in favor of the Buckeyes, while the Scarlet and Gray led in corners, 4-2.
NORTHWESTERN JUST MISSES THE EQUALIZER
The Wildcats best chance of the night for Northwestern came right out of halftime when Ozumba recovered a rebound in the box, but couldn't convert when his shot hit the near post at 47:30.
GREAT CHANCE IN THE 67TH
Ohio State had a great look to push its lead to two goals midway in the second half, but couldn't convert. Freshman midfielder Mitch Bergman blasted a shot from 13 yards out, but was denied by Miskovic. The deflection fell to the foot of senior forward Nate Kohl in front of net, but a diving save by Miskovic kept the Wildcat's in the game. Bergman ripped another shot in the 88th on an OSU counter, but Miskovic made another strong save to keep it 1-0.
BUCKEYES GET ANOTHER SHUTOUT
Ohio State continued to work together on both ends of the pitch for the entire 90 minutes to earn its third-consecutive shutout and fourth overall in 2017. The Buckeyes limited the Wildcats to five shots with only one on goal in the league win. In fact, the group allowed just one shot in final 45 minutes of the game. Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Parker Siegfried improved to 4-1 overall this fall. Overall, shots were 13-5 in favor of the Buckeyes with a 6-2 lead in corners.
Ohio State continues Big Ten play against Penn State at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The game will be televised live on BTN.
- Ohio State improved its winning streak to three-consecutive games and claim their fourth shutout of 2017.
- The Buckeyes are now 20-11-3 all-time vs. Northwestern.
- The Scarlet and Gray are off to their best start to a season since starting the 2010 campaign with a 4-1-0 overall record.
- The five shots by Northwestern and one shot on goal was a season-low for opponents vs. OSU in 2017.
- Tonight's match was the first game for the Buckeyes played at newly-renovated Martin Stadium.
- Hunter Robertson scored his first career goal in his 69th start tonight. He came into the match with more 5,930 minutes of action before finding his first collegiate netter.
- Abdi Mohamed claimed his team-high third assist of the season. He leads all active Buckeyes with 23 points in his career.
- Parker Siegfried now has four shutouts on the year and seven in his career.
VIDEO: Buckeyes Preview Bowling Green