Sept. 25, 2011
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio State men's soccer team defeated Michigan, 3-2, in overtime, Sunday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in front of 985 fans. Chris Hegngi scored the game-winning goal 34 seconds into the first overtime period with the help of Omar Vallejo's second assist of the game as the Buckeyes improved to 5-3-1 on the season and 1-0-0 to open the Big Ten.
Ohio State is 17-4-0 in Big Ten season openers all-time, while John Bluem, Ohio State head coach, now is 13-2 in his first game on the conference schedule.
The Wolverines (2-7-1) made Ohio State work for the win, battling back from a 1-0 deficit to take the lead midway through the 85th minute. Parnell Hegngi tallied the equalizer 1:37 later, with just under four minutes remaining in regulation, setting up his younger brother to put away the victory.
"I'm sure the guys are very excited about it," Bluem said. "It was a great win, a very emotional win. It is nice to do it in front of our fans here at home and in front of the student section, but we have to play better than we did today that's for sure."
With the overtime victory, the Buckeyes now have captured three in a row over the Wolverines and improve to 9-5-1 in the all-time series since U-M became a varsity program in 2000. Each of the last nine meetings in the series, dating back through the 2005 season, has been decided by one goal or less.
Ohio State made it look as if that streak would continue with a 1-0 win after Austin McAnena put his team on the board in the 16th minute off Vallejo's first assist and the Buckeyes held onto the advantage for over 64 minutes of game action. Michigan evened the score early in the 81st minute, however, when Latif Alashe assisted Fabio Pereira for his fourth of the season and then took over the lead four minutes later off Ezekiel Harris' second of the year.
"We realized it wasn't the first time all year we have been down," Chris Hegngi said of trailing 2-1. "We've risen up against teams all year, so we kind of collectively got it together and realized we had five minutes left to get something on the board. We rose up together and did it."
About a minute and a half later, all it took was a long throw-in by rookie Adam Gorski and Parnell Hegngi flicked it along with a header into the right side of the goal for the equalizer with 3:56 left in regulation. Michigan produced the lone shot in that stretch, sending it wide right and allowing the teams to head into overtime, the second extra-time game for Ohio State this season.
Thirty-four seconds into the bonus period, Vallejo played Chris Hegngi the ball from the right side of the penalty area and the junior forward took advantage of the charging goalkeeper to send it passed him into the right corner for the Buckeyes' first overtime victory since Oct. 17, 2010, vs. Valparaiso (1-0 in Columbus).
Ohio State out-shot Michigan 20-13, but trailed in corner kicks 3-2. Goalkeeper Matt Lampson only was credited with three saves on the day, but made a handful of crucial defensive stops in the box. His counterpart, Adam Grinwis, finished with six saves.
Prior to the showdown on the pitch, Ohio State and Michigan players and coaches came together for a common cause. The group participated in the Iris S. & Bert L. Wolstein's Kids Kicking Cancer Soccer Skills Clinic, a program designed for young patients and survivors of cancer and blood disorders, at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Nearly 40 children and their parents were present. Photos are available on the Ohio State men's soccer Facebook page.
Up next, the Buckeyes travel to defending national champion and unbeaten Akron at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28. At 5-0-2, the Zips defeated Tulsa Saturday night in Oklahoma and are currently are ranked fourth in the NSCAA Coaches Poll. They are out-scoring opponents 17-2 in seven games, paced by seven goals from Darren Mattocks.
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