Ohio State continues quest for first conference win
Kenny Cunningham's two game-winning goals are second in the Big Ten, along with teammate Austin McAnena
Oct. 12, 2012
Match #14: Ohio State (5-7-1, 0-3-0) at Northwestern (8-2-2, 2-0-0) Sunday, Oct. 14 | Noon CT (1 p.m. ET) | Lakeside Field (Evanston, Ill.) TV: BTN | Gametracker | Facebook | Twitter
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s soccer team returns to Big Ten play with a BTN-televised match against Northwestern at noon CT (1 p.m. ET) Sunday from Lakeside Field in Evanston, Ill. Coming off their first shutout of the season, the Buckeyes are 5-7-1 on the season, while the Wildcats are 8-2-2 and receiving votes in the NSCAA poll this week.
With Dean Linke and Chris Doran on the call, the Northwestern game Sunday will be the third of four guaranteed live appearances by the Buckeyes on BTN this season.
The Buckeyes and Wildcats also can be followed via Gametracker through OhioStateBuckeyes.com, linked from the front page, as well as the men's soccer schedule page, and twitter updates can be received from @OhioState_MSOC.
IN A NUTSHELL
The Buckeyes are 5-7-1 overall and 0-3-0 in the Big Ten after picking up a 2-0 win over Bowling Green Wednesday in Columbus. Austin McAnena and Alec Lowell each scored in the contest, helping goalkeeper Alex Wimmer and Ohio State to their first shutout of the year.
McAnena leads the Buckeyes with 11 points (4g, 3a), nearly twice as many as the four players who are next in line, tied with five points.
Nine players have tallied at least one goal this year with six holding multiple scores. McAnena, Chris Hegngi and Yianni Sarris are tied for the team lead in assists with three.
A different starting lineup has been used in 12 of 13 games in 2012. Defenders and captains Chris Gomez and Sage Gardner, along with senior Chris Hegngi and freshman midfielder Zach Mason are the only mainstays to take the pitch at the start of each contest.
Austin McAnena went from zero goals to leading the team in a span of four games. The senior captain has 11 points on the season, good for third in the Big Ten and more than twice as many as his next teammate, off four goals and three assists.
Eight of the 11 points came between two games (Butler, Bowling Green) with McAnena’s goals standing as the game-winner in both. The Buckeyes have out-scored their opponents 6-1 in the two games when the Laguna Nigel, Calif., product tallies a score.
He earned Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors Oct. 2 after securing his first career hat trick (and the first for an OSU player in seven seasons) against Butler Sept. 26.
250 AND COUNTING
Head coach John Bluem earned his 250th career victory in the 4-1 win over Butler Sept. 26 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
Bluem is in his 16th season as head coach of the Buckeyes in 2012. He has collected a 165-115-41 record during that span and holds all eight of the program's NCAA Tournament appearances and all five combined Big Ten regular-season and tournament titles to his credit.
With six years at Fresno State also on his résumé, Bluem has a 251-142-53 career record, a win total which is No. 24 among active NCAA coaches and a percentage which stands at No. 30.
In 21 seasons as a collegiate head coach, Bluem's teams have won at least 10 games 18 times - 12 at Ohio State - and he has taken his teams to the NCAA tournament in 12 seasons.
Bluem became the winningest coach in OSU history during the 2004 season, in his eighth season at the helm of the Scarlet & Gray.
BUCKEYES IN THE B1G
Ohio State is tops in the Big Ten in shots (161, 14.64spg) and second in total goals (19) and assists (17). The Buckeyes also are third in total points with 55. Conversely, they are last in the conference in goals-allowed, giving up 24.
Individually, Austin McAnena tied for third in the league with 11 points and in a nine-way tie for sixth, along with teammates Yianni Sarris and Chris Hegngi, for third place in assists with three. McAnena’s and Kenny Cunningham's two game-winning tallies stand in second in the standings, while Hegngi also is second in shots (43, 3.31).
The Wildcats enter the weekend 8-2-2 on the season and 2-0-0 in the Big Ten, sitting in second behind Indiana, who is 3-0-0 in conference play.
Northwestern is coming off a 2-1 victory over No. 7 Notre Dame Tuesday night in Evanston. Joey Calistri and Lepe Seetane accounted for the scores, which both came in the first half, as the Wildcats earned their first victory over a Top 10 opponent since defeating No. 4 Akron in the 2008 NCAA Tournament.
Chris Ritter leads the team in scoring with 12 points (4g, 4a), while Calistri is second with 11 (5g, 1a) and seven others have added at least one score.
Northwestern is first in the Big Ten in assists with 21 off contributions from eight different players, including a team-leading six from Grant Wilson.
Sophomore goalkeeper Tyler Miller and senior defender Jarrett Baughman have played all 1,440 minutes of the season. Miller has a 0.95 goals-against average with four shutouts to his credit.
LAST TIME VS. THE WILDCATS
Chris Hegngi scored two late-game goals to erase a three-goal deficit, but the Buckeyes’ comeback fell short in a 3-2 loss to Northwestern Oct. 9, 2011, at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus.
Northwestern led Ohio State 3-0 after 58 minutes of action, but Hegngi converted on a penalty kick in the 75th minute and added his team and conference-leading eighth goal of the season seven minutes later.
By the time the second OSU goal was scored, Hegngi was the only remaining game starter in the match as a total of 21 players saw minutes, including two with their first appearances of the season.
Ohio State is 18-8-2 all-time vs. Northwestern, though the Wildcats have been victorious in each of the last six regular-season meetings.
The Buckeyes’ last victory in the series came in 2005 when they defeated NU, 1-0, in the Big Ten Tournament in Evanston. They also captured the regular-season meeting that year.
The Wildcats also will host the Big Ten Tournament this season, beginning Nov. 7.
LAST TIME OUT
Austin McAnena and Alec Lowell each scored for Ohio State as it blanked Bowling Green, 2-0, Wednesday night at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The win snapped a two-game losing skid and gave the Buckeyes a 5-7-1 record on the season, while the Falcons fell to 4-6-2.
Chris Hegngi tallied assists on both of the scores, moving into a tie for the team lead in helpers with three.
This was the first shutout of the year for the Buckeyes, who allowed 1.46 goals per game heading into the match. OSU goalkeeper Alex Wimmer earned the clean sheet between the pipes, which was the first of his career and the first for the team since Oct. 30, 2011, a span of 14 games.
The Buckeyes have their next two at home, welcoming Wright State at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19 and No. 3 Akron at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23. Admission to both games, and to all regular-season home games at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, is free.
Austin McAnena was named the Big Ten's Offensive Player of the Week Oct. 2, the first for an OSU player this season.
Now the leading scorer of the Buckeyes, McAnena tallied seven points on the week as Ohio State downed Butler, 4-1, Sept. 26 and dropped a double-overtime contest to Michigan, 3-2, Sept. 30.
Against the Bulldogs, the Laguna Niguel, Calif., native netted three goals on three shots for his first career hat trick and the first for an OSU player since the 2005 season.
He also notched an assist in the Buckeye's double overtime contest against the Wolverines, ending the week with a team-high nine points on the season (3g, 3a).
Four freshman have made appearances in the starting lineup this season, including Crew Academy product Zach Mason who has made all 13.
For the ninth-consecutive season, at least one true freshman made his first collegiate start for the Buckeyes in the team's season opener and for the fourth year in a row it was at least two (Mason and Berra).
Chris Hegngi, a senior forward, was named to the Missouri Athletic Club’s (MAC) Hermann Trophy Watch List, as announced by the NSCAA Aug. 13, becoming just the third Buckeye to be considered for the national player of the year award in the program history (Eric Brunner, 2007 and Matt Lampson, 2011).
Hegngi, the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year last season, is one of just two players from the conference to begin the season on the Watch List and one of 42 overall.
The Hermann Trophy is the highest individual award in collegiate soccer with the recipient being selected by head coaches of NCAA Division I programs who are members of the NSCAA.
BIG GAMES, SMALL SCREEN
Four of Ohio State’s regular-season games are scheduled for live BTN broadcast, with several additional opportunities available through Student U productions.
Sunday vs. Northwestern will be the third live showing for the Buckeyes. They previously had the Indiana (Sept. 23, L 2-0) and Michigan (Sept. 30, L 3-2 2ot) matches televised with the home contest against national power Akron scheduled for 8 p.m. Oct. 23.
This will bring the program’s number of appearances on BTN to 21 since its inception in 2007.
Junior Sage Gardner and seniors Chris Gomez and Austin McAnena were selected as captains for the 2012 campaign.
The trio have combined for 165 career starts in 178 games played with Gardner (49) starting every game of his career.
QUITE A CREW
The 2012 roster boasts five players to come through the Columbus Crew Academy system, including junior Sage Gardner who has helped a Crew Juniors team to a national title in each of the last two summers and senior Chris Gomez who joined Gardner for the 2011 title.
Sophomore Alex Bechtol, who transferred to Ohio State from Bowling Green, and freshmen Zach Mason and Raymond Olavarria each have spent time with the Crew.
BUCKEYES IN THE MLS
There currently are three former Buckeyes on active MLS rosters – Eric Brunner (Portland), Roger Espinoza (Kansas City) and Matt Lampson (Columbus). Both Brunner and Espinoza were part of the 2007 NCAA College Cup runner-up team, while Lampson lettered 2009-11 and was part of the 2009 Big Ten championship team.
In his fifth MLS season, Brunner has made 10 starts in 12 games as a defender for the Timbers and has one goal to his credit this season.
Also in his fifth season, all with Kansas City, Espinoza has started all 26 games played of Sporting KC’s matches in midfield. He has two assists to his credit before spraining his ankle.
A Crew homegrown player, Lampson forewent his final year of eligibility to join Columbus in 2012. He has seen action in goal in three contests, starting one.
Roger Espinoza was one of three over-age players on the Honduran Olympic team's roster, helping his squad to the quarterfinals and an upset of Spain in the first state.
Against Brazil in the quarterfinals, he helped set up the Hondurans' first goal and scored the second while anchoring a team that was forced to play 57 minutes a man down due to an earlier red card.
Espinoza is the only former Buckeye to represent his country on a national team. He also was part of the 2010 World Cup squad, taking the field in two matches in South Africa.
In its second season, Connor's Crew is the official student support section of Ohio State soccer. The branch of "Block O" is named for former Buckeye Connor Senn, who passed away Sept. 26, 2001 from a heart abnormality after collapsing during an OSU match.
Northwestern, who won the Big Ten regular-season and tourney titles last season, and Indiana enter the season tied as the conference favorite in the preseason coaches’ poll.
Michigan State checks in at No. 3 in the poll, jumping up two spots from last year’s fifth-place campaign, while Buckeyes come in at No. 4 after earning a 4-2-0 record and finishing second in Big Ten action last year. Penn State, Wisconsin and Michigan round out the poll.