Oct. 10, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s soccer team continues Big Ten play with a BTN-televised match at No. 18 Michigan State at 1 p.m. ET Sunday from DeMartin Soccer Complex in East Lansing, Mich.
FOLLOW THE ACTION
With Chris Doran and Chris Munroe on the call, the Michigan State contest is the second of two guaranteed live appearances by the Buckeyes on BTN this season. The Buckeyes and Spartans can also be followed vi Gametracker, linked from the front page as well as the men’s soccer page, and twitter updates from @OhioState_MSOC, will also be in play Sunday afternoon.
IN A NUTSHELL
• The Buckeyes sit at 2-6-3 on the season after dropping a 1-0 home contest vs. Michigan last Sunday. They have wins over Northern Illinois and SMU this season, while falling short against ranked opponents Akron and Indiana. The Buckeyes posted a scoreless double overtime draw vs. No. 17 Louisville last week in Columbus.
• Goalkeeper Alex Ivanov has four shutouts in 10 games this season, surpassing the total from all of 2012 (2).
• Ivanov is second in the country in saves (65), fifth in saves per game (6.5) and ninth in save percentage (.867).
• Ohio State’s six goals have been scored by six different players; the same for its five assists.
• Sage Gardner and Christian Soldat lead the team with three points apiece as the only players to tally both a score and an assist.
• Ohio State returns four starters in Gardner, a senior captain, juniors Kenny Cunningham and Zach Dobey and 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.
• In goal, Ivanov earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors Sept. 3 after stopping two PKs in the Buckeyes’ 2-0 win over Northern Illinois.
SCOUTING THE SPARTANS
The Spartans are currently second in the conference standings with a 1-0 mark after defeating Northwestern, 3-2, in the last seconds of double overtime Oct. 6 in Evanston, Ill. Overall, Michigan State is currently ranked 18th in the national rankings with a 7-1-1 overall record. The Spartans are winners of five out of their last six matches this season. Offensively, Adam Montague and Tim Kreutz lead the pack with 10 points each, while nine different members have tallied a goal this year. Goalkeeper Zach Bennett is 7-1-1 with a 0.64 goals-against average, which leads the Big Ten.
Michigan State leads the all-time series, 22-17-2, vs. the Buckeyes. However, Ohio State has claimed wins in seven out of the last eight meetings vs. the Spartans. Head coach John Bluem is 11-7-2 all-time vs. the Spartans.
LAST TIME OUT
Ohio State fell, 1-0, vs. the Wolverines Oct. 6 in Columbus despite having a 15-13 lead in shots and a 3-1 advantage in penalty corners. The first half played out with both teams getting a feel for the conditions and styles of their opponents, until the 24:22 minute mark when Michigan took a 1-0 advantage. The Wolverine goal came when midfielder Marcos Ugarte crossed the ball to James Murphy about 23 yards from the goal. Murphy had a nifty touch, flicking the ball up to his own foot, then rifled a shot to the upper 90 just past the outstretched arms of a diving goalkeeper Alex Ivanov.
In the second half, the Buckeyes picked up the intensity on the offensive side, outshooting Michigan, 11-6. With 6:41 remaining in the game, Ivanov played a perfect goal kick to freshman Danny Jensen, forcing Michigan’s goalie, Adam Grinwis, out of the box to make a sliding play on the ball and kick it out of bounds. Ohio State followed up this opportunity with shot that soared just high of the goal. Alec Lowell, a junior midfielder, struck the shot from just outside the penalty area with 6:05 to play.
Ohio State begins a four-game homestand with a Big Ten contest vs. Northwestern at 2 p.m. Oct. 20 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
MAKE B1G PLANS
Ohio State is the host of the 2013 Big Ten Championship, scheduled for Nov. 13-17 on Bert L. & Iris S. Wolstein Field at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Action will begin Wednesday, Nov. 13 with three quarterfinal matches. The No. 1 seed and first-round winners will meet in the semifinals Friday, Nov. 15 with the championship taking place Sunday, Nov. 17. Wednesday contests will be streamed on BTN.com with the semifinals and final matches appearing on BTN.
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 have seen action so far this season with many expected to continue playing integral roles 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 owns a 168-124-46 record at Ohio State. His career record, which includes six seasons at Fresno State, stands at 254-151-57.