Aug 28, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio State men's soccer team begins the 2013 regular season by hosting the eighth annual Bert & Iris Wolstein Classic this weekend where it will take on UNC Wilmington at 7:30 p.m. Friday before facing Northern Illinois at 2:30 p.m. Sunday on Bert L. & Iris S. Wolstein Field at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Cincinnati rounds out the tournament field, taking on Northern Illinois in the opening game at 5 p.m. Friday and then meeting UNC Wilmington at noon Sunday.
The Buckeyes are 26-24-10 in lidlifters all-time and 7-6-3 under head coach John Bluem. They have opened on their home field 11 times under the current coaching regime, going 7-2-2 in those meetings.
ABOUT THE WOLSTEINS
The annual Bert and Iris Wolstein Classic, now in its eighth year, is named in honor of the family that first brought professional soccer to Ohio in 1979. From 1979-1988, the late Bert Wolstein (2004) was the owner and president of the Cleveland Force of the Major Indoor Soccer League. Since them, the Wolstein support of Ohio State has been nothing short of generous. The most recent major act of a giving was a $1.5 million gift to the Department of Athletics, resulting in the naming of the field at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, as part of a $4.9 million total gift to the university in September 2012. The Wolsteins previously made a major contribution in 2001 to the Ohio Stadium renovation project, prompting the dedication of the Iris S. and Bert L. Wolstein Football Center in the southwest tower.
The Buckeyes are 16-7-5 all-time in their early-season tournament, including a 7-1-4 mark the last five seasons. Ohio State captured the tourney title in each of the last two seasons, tying No. 16 Coastal Carolina, 1-1, and knocking off Davidson, 3-2, a year ago. Then-freshman Alex Bujenovic earned MVP honors for the event and was joined by Chris Hegngi, Zach Mason and Alex Ivanov as the OSU representatives on the all-tournament team. Bujenovic scored tallied a goal in each of the two contests, included the equalizer to force extra time vs. Davidson.
IN A NUTSHELL
- Ohio State returns four starters in senior captain Sage Gardner, juniors Kenny Cunningham and Zach Dobey and sophomore Zach Mason from the 2012 team. John Bluem, who enters his 17th season as head coach of the Buckeyes, welcomes a total of 17 new players to Columbus, including a talented group of nine true freshmen. Senior Ben Killian makes his triumphant return to the team after missing the entire 2012 season with a foot injury.
- Cunningham is the leading returning scorer from last season with three goals and an assist to his credit as a sophomore.
- Alex Ivanov made seven starts in goal a year ago, tallying a 1.73 goals-against average with a 2-3-1 record.
SCOUTING UNC WILMINGTON
The Seahawks return six of their top seven scorers from 2012, including all-conference selection Jamie Dell and Colin Bonner. Dell finished with a team-high four assists and was second on the club with four goals. His 12 points were a career-high as were his goal and assists totals. As a freshman, Bonner led UNCW with 14 points on six goals and a pair of assists. This is the first meeting between Ohio State and UNC Wilmington on the pitch.
SCOUTING NORTHERN ILLINOIS
The Huskies return 12 players from a season ago while welcoming 11 newcomers for the 2013 season. Each of NIU's Top 3 scorers return from 2012, including Gael Rivera had a team-high nine points off four goals and an assist. In exhibition play, the Huskies played to a scoreless draw against IUPUI (Aug. 17) before closing the preseason slate with a 2-0 win at UIC (Aug. 24). This is the first meeting between Ohio State and Northern Illinois in men's soccer.
BIG TEN PREDICTIONS
Senior captain Sage Gardner, along with classmate Ben Killian and junior Alec Lowell are among the 21 student-athletes deemed "Players to Watch" by the Big Ten at the start of the season. The team was selected seventh in the preseason coaches' poll released Aug. 21.
Indiana, who is ranked No. 1 in the NSCAA preseason Top 25 poll as the defending national champions, is atop the preseason conference standings. Reigning Big Ten Tournament Champion Michigan State checked in at No. 2 in the preseason poll, followed by No. 3 Northwestern, No. 4 Michigan and No. 5 Penn State. The Wildcats and Nittany Lions shared the Big Ten title in 2012.
Nine freshmen make up the Ohio State men's soccer team's rookie class, named No. 29 in the country by College Soccer News prior to the season. The group is the fourth-highest ranked class in the Big Ten behind No. 7 Indiana, No. 8 Michigan and No. 28 Northwestern. All eight freshmen field players saw action in the preseason with many expected to play an integral role in the Buckeyes' regular-season campaign.
FREE FOR ALL
The Buckeyes' schedule includes 10 matches at Bert L. & Iris S. Wolstein Field at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium this season with home Big Ten action kicking off Oct. 6 against Michigan. Admission is free to all Ohio State men's soccer regular-season home games.
BUCKEYES ON BTN
Ohio State will make at least two appearances on BTN this season. Seven additional home games will be streamed online through BTN.com with the remaining three available via BuckeyeVision on OhioStateBuckeyes.com. The Buckeyes open the Big Ten schedule Sept. 29, taking on defending national champion and preseason No. 1 Indiana in Bloomington, Ind. The 2 p.m. ET match will be broadcast live on BTN. The squad also will appear on BTN at Michigan State Oct. 13 at 1 p.m. The semifinals and final of the Big Ten Championship, hosted by Ohio State Nov. 13-17, also will be shown live on BTN.
John Bluem, the winningest coach in OSU program history, is in his 17th season at the helm of the Buckeyes. The three-time Big Ten Coach of the Year enters 2013 with a 166-118-43 (.573) record at Ohio State. His career record, which includes six seasons at Fresno State, stands at 252-145-55 for a .618 winning percentage.