Sept. 24, 2013
AKRON, Ohio - Despite a spirited second half of play, the Ohio State men's soccer team fell to tenth-ranked Akron, 1-0, Tuesday night in front of 3,328 fans at FirstEnergy Stadium in Akron, Ohio. The Buckeyes drop to 2-4-2 on the season, while the Zips improve to 6-2-0.
"You could sense we were a little nervous at the start of the game," John Bluem, Ohio State head coach, said. "We allowed an early goal, but after that, we settled down and the guys that played tonight I thought battled hard out there. Our back four was very good tonight and I thought there were some great performances, but we still have to find a way to score goals."
Akron tallied the lone goal of the contest during the first moments of the 36th meeting between the Buckeyes and Zips. Zac Portillos scored from the top of the sixth after he gathered a rebound off the right post and volleyed it into the net at 6:12. The assist was credited to freshman midfielder Adam Najem, who had the first shot of the contest which deflected in front of goal for Portillos to finish.
The Zips controlled possession for the majority of the first 45 minutes, outshooting Ohio State, 7-1. The Buckeyes' best chance happened during the 27th minute when junior Yianni Sarris found space at the top of the sixth following a corner, but his header went high over the cross bar. Junior goalkeeper Alex Ivanov collected two saves in the first half vs. the Zips, while corners were an even, 1-1.
The second half became even between the two teams with shots 8-5 in favor of the Zips, while overall, the Buckeyes held a 4-3 lead in corners. The Buckeyes had their best opportunity of the evening during the 72nd minute when Sarris gathered a loose ball inside the box and blasted a shot towards goal, but an Akron defender was able to make a diving stop and end the OSU threat. Zach Mason followed with a shot on goal at 83:41 which was denied by Zips' goalkeeper Fernando Pina.
The Scarlet and Gray continued to put pressure on the ball in the final seconds of the contest to earn a corner, however, the Akron backfield was able to clear it out of its zone and claim the victory.
Ivanov falls to 2-3-1 overall, posting five saves, while Pina improves to 6-2 in 2013.
Ohio State will now prepare to begin Big Ten play this weekend with a road contest at Indiana Sunday. First kick is set for 3 p.m. ET broadcasted on BTN.