Nov. 13, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The sixth-seeded Ohio State men’s soccer team fell, 2-0, against third-seeded Michigan State in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament Wednesday afternoon at Bert L. & Iris. S. Wolstein Field at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The Buckeyes conclude the 2013 campaign with a 5-8-5 overall record and a 1-3-2 mark in Big Ten play.
The Spartans scored both goals in the second half of action vs. the Buckeyes and will face the winner of No. 2 seed Wisconsin and No. 7 seed Northwestern in the semifinals Friday.
“We knew we were in for a difficult game because Michigan State is a very good team,” head coach John Bluem said. “We had to be at our very best to get the result we wanted, but we fell a little bit short of that. “We had a chance to get back in the game and Sage [Gardner] hit a great PK, unfortunately it was about an inch too far to the left and off the bar and out. I feel bad for Sage because that’s unfortunate and he’s such a competitor and been a wonderful player for us.”
Junior goalkeeper Alex Ivanov continued his strong play into the postseason with an impressive nine saves for the match. With the performance, Ivanov advanced to fifth on the OSU single-season saves list with 110 saves earned. The Buckeye junior passed former-Buckeye Chad Abend who totaled 105 during the 1993 season.
A three-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week recipient this season, Ivanov countered the Spartans with three saves in the first half of play
Building on an early defensive effort, the Buckeye attack kicked it up a notch in the 20th minute when junior midfielder Kenny Cunningham got a foot on a deflected ball from the far post on a free kick. However, Michigan State’s Zach Bennett was there for the save. Cunningham’s classmate Ryan Ivancic also had a good look in the first half, striking in the shot-on-goal in the 31st minute of play
“The first half we did well and on their first goal I think we made some bad mistakes and gifted them a goal,” said Bluem.
Ohio State was unable to withstand an early offensive push from the Spartans. MSU’s Brent McIntosh snuck one past in the upper right side of the goal from 10-yards out, giving the squad a 1-0 lead after a failed clearance by the OSU defense.
Ohio State attempted to rebound with a penalty kick from senior captain Sage Gardner at the 59-minute mark after freshman forward Danny Jensen was fouled in the penalty area. The shot sailed just wide after striking the left post, leaving the score 1-0, Michigan State
The Spartans struck for the second time in the 68th minute. Sean Conerty was the goal scorer this time around, dropping one past Ivanov from 15-yards out on the far side as the ball deflected in net off the near post.
In a postgame comparison, Michigan State held a 20-16 lead in shots, while the Buckeyes maintained a 9-5 advantage in saves.